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April 17, is an important day for Thailand as it is the birthday of Somdet Phra Phutthachan (To Phrommarangsi) and King Taksin the Great.

Both of them had greatly contributed to the country and Buddhism. Additionally, it is the day Knowing Buddha Organization was founded by Master Acharavadee Wongsakon.


Somdet Phra Phutthachan (To Phrommarangsi)

Somdet To was born on Thursday, April 17, 1788 in Ayutthaya province in the reign of King Rama I. When he was young, he was ordained as a novice, having Venerable Phra Bawornviriyatera as the preceptor. After the ordination, Somdet To studied Buddhist scripture at Wat Rakhang until he was brilliant in Buddhist knowledge. In the year 1807, he was ordained as a monk at the Temple of the Emerald Buddha and became known as "Phra Maha To".


Since the ordination, Somdet To was well known for his Dhamma preaching. After graduated in Buddhist scripture, he translated the scripture. Although he was much favored by King Rama I and King Rama III, he did not want any monastic title. He just preferred being Phra Maha To or "Khrua To" (meaning - the old monk named To).


Somdet To was usually modest and lived a humble monastic life. Whenever he received offerings from his sermons, he spent them for building temples. So, he became highly respected by many people. It is said that King Rama IV knew how great his virtue was, so he appointed Phra Maha To as the Patriarch named ‘Phra Dhamma Kitti’ in the year 1852. At that time, he was 65 years old. Two years later, he was appointed as the Senior Patriarch, ‘Phra Thep Kawee’, and as Somdet Phra Phutthachan in the year 1864. He passed away on Saturday, June 22, 1872, when he was 85 years old, with 65 years in monkhood.

King Taksin the Great

King Taksin was the first and only king of Thonburi Kingdom. He was born on Sunday, April 17,1734, the Year of Tiger, in the Kingdom of Ayutthaya. His original name was Yong. In his youth, he was adopted by Chao Phraya Chakri who named him ‘Sin’. At nine years old, he was sent to study in the school of Phra Ajarn Thongdee at Wat Kosawat. Later on, Chao Phraya Chakri brought him to serve as a royal page in the Royal Palace. During that time, he studied and could fluently speak three languages: Chinese, Vietnamese and Indian (some said Pali).


When he was 21 years old, he was ordained as a monk in the care of Phra Ajarn Thongdee at Wat Kosawat (it’s now Wat Choeng Tha). After three years, he left monkhood and returned to royal service. As he was knowledgeable in the royal customs and affairs, he was appointed as a courtier in the Department of the Interior and the Royal Palace Court. He persevered in his duties with great performances, he was therefore promoted by the king to be the deputy governor of Tak province. And when the governor passed away, he was appointed as Phraya Tak (Sin) to rule the province. Later, he was given the title Phraya Vajiraprakarn, governing Kamphaeng Phet. He helped fight and protect Ayutthaya from the Burmese army.


In 1767, Ayutthaya was defeated by the Burmese army. But Phraya Tak and his troops were finally able to release Ayutthaya from the Burmese and evacuated people to the capital city of Thonburi. The coronation ceremony was performed on December 28, 1768, when he was 34 years old. He assumed the official name as ‘Somdet Phra Si Sanphet’ or Somdet Phra Borom Raja IV, but the general public usually called him ‘King of Thonburi’ or ‘King Taksin the Great’.


Knowing Buddha Organization for Protection of Buddhism

Knowing Buddha Organization was founded on April 17, 2012 by Master Acharavadee Wongsakon. With great determination which means to protect the honor of the Buddha and revive Buddhism which operates in many forms such as installing prominent mega billboards in various strategic locations, and organizing Spiritual Life Exhibitions to provide knowledge. Understanding the important days of Buddhism in the Dhamma teachings and various practices towards the Buddha's symbols.In addition, books and brochures were distributed to increase knowledge and understanding of Dhamma teachings.


From operations until now, disrespecting the symbols through ignorance has decreased and in some places where Buddha symbols are decorated in inappropriate places upon receiving clarification from the Knowing Buddha Organization, there have been adjustments and removed with good cooperation as well.


Compiled by: Suphang Srisod

Article source:

Book of Somdet Phra Phutthachan (To Phrommarangsi), Dhammathan Edition (1901) by Pantham Tankhun, pages 13-15.

Biography of King Taksin the Great, the commemorative book for the opening ceremony of the royal monument of King Taksin the Great, Bangkok: Amarin Printing, 1981. Pages 13-41.


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