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Luang Pho Doem Museum, Wat Nongpho  
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Luang Po Derm Museum
By: (1127) | Date: 9, 2017

         “A Buddha’s Reic Chedi stood here. The space around the chedi base was not made use of. Local folks therefore had the idea of doing something that would show their reverence for Luang Po Derm, also something about his life and his benevolence. They wanted to develop the place and to have an art and culture center of Ban Nong Pho too so that it would be a good source of knowledge for anyone wishing to learn about the community and its ancestry.”

          The abbot, the museum committee and the teachers agreed to the idea. The museum began to take shape in 2010. It was intended to be a place where Luang Po Derm’s benevolence was propagated. They chose to build the museum in the temple ground, as Luang Po was a revered monk who did many good things for the temples in Nakhon Sawan. The museum was to showcase Ban Nong Pho’s art and culture collections too, the village itself being part of the prehistoric and historic  archeological  sites. The museum  would  be  then a safe place to keep the priced antiques.

          Ajarn Em-on Khamnuanwit told us about the museum’s history. Her assuring tone was a reflection of the great faith local Nong Pho folks had for Luang Po Derm, even though he had passed away for quite a long time. Ajarn Em-on was wishing to see that believers would come here to pay respect for the guru monk, to learn more about his good deeds, and not simply because they believed in the magic of the amulets fabricated by him. Luang Po should be better known for his benevolence regarding the Ban Nong Pho development, the propagation and promotion of Buddhist faith, and the development of various temples in Nakhon Sawan and neighboring provinces. Also admirable was the support that he had extended to educational institutions such as schools. With the donated money, he built schools and had teachers come to give lessons to Nong Pho children.

          The 4 display rooms had different contents. The first room “Ban Nong Pho Homeland” 
presented the village’s archeological history via some antique exhibits aged around 4,000-8,000 years and discovered in the area, along with interesting stories about the Nong Pho settlement and its 200 years of sustained traditions. Room 2 “Bhuddhasaro Luang Po Derm” featured Luang Po’s biography and his monk’s way of life, as well as many of his benevolent aspects including his contributions in the development of the temples and for the common good. Room 3 “Increased Faith” has stories regarding the faith of Nong Pho folks and  other disciples. Displays of amulet gifts from the believers served to make the faith more tangible and genuine.  The last room “Religious Texts” showcases some Wat Nong Po’s texts written in  folded Thai books and western books. There were literature books, textbooks, law books, books on Buddhism, and those on civil codes of law.

          The displays were separated properly, and presented by means of pictures, graphics, and explanation texts that were easy to follow and understand.  Equally attractive was the way the museum curator Mallika Seng-iam used her voice pitches and gestures while presenting a few wall paintings telling about some important incidents that had happened when the revered monk died.

          “These pictures are about Luang Po’s life. He was born in 1860. His former name was Derm Phumani. He was ordained in 1880 at Wat Khao Kaeo, where for 7 years he concentrated on studying Buddhism. He became a guru preacher.  Later he stopped preaching. ‘I should from now on spend the time teaching myself, no more others.’”

          “In 1892 he came to Wat Nong Pho, lived here and later became the abbot. He had Phra Samu Chump as assistant who took care of things around the temple, particularly during his absence when he was out in some other places to do some good things for the people. One such important occasion Khun Mallika enthusiastically talked about was when a number of soldiers, about to be dispatched to join the troops during wartime, showed up to ask for some protective talismans from Luang Po. The guru monk then put his foot imprints on a stack of cloth pieces, and gave each piece to each of them as amulets. He made the footprints by putting some paint on his feet and then stamped on the pieces.

          “In later years, he was promoted. His new title was Phra Kru Niwatdhammakhan.  Faithful folks ceremoniously brought the rank fan to present to him at the temple.  But he preferred to be called by his old name Luang Po Derm. He passed away in 1951. He had been sick.  From his chamber, he looked at the level of water in the pond, then asked an assistant to help put his robes on.  Then he prayed. It rained for about 1 hour.  A few hours after that, he died. On that day, his 2 loyal elephants simply refused to do the usual work, but instead rubbed their heads back and forth against the chamber as if they were saying good-bye to the revered monk. The royally sponsored funeral and cremation was held in the next year.”

          The elegance of the museum was due to its conglomeration of the displays, the overall atmosphere and setting, the real exhibits and replica pieces, highlighted by the earnest  museum guide who tried to reproduce the interesting stories and anecdotes that enhanced the wise monk’s reputation  in the hope that more people would appreciate  his benevolence and good deeds.

          The good management is another positive factor that makes the museum a worthy destination for visitors – a chance to pay respect to a most respected monk, to see some other religious structures in the temple, to see the museum’s interesting display, as well as to witness the admirable voluntary cooperation among the Nong Pho temple, the Nong Pho locals and the staff of Nong Pho Pittaya School in creating this museum and its display, which explains why the temple must present to the public the stories of Luang Po Derm despite the fact that he passed away over half a century ago.

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  Luang Pho Doem Museum, Wat Nongpho  
: Wat Nongpho, Talee, Nakhon Sawan
: 085-0507207
ติดต่อ คุณเอมอร คำนวณวิทย์ และคุณมัลลิกา เส็งเอี่ยม
: -
: Tue-Sun from 9am - 5pm
: -
: https://goo.gl/wUmIRN
: -
: 2015
: biography of Luang Po Derm, mural paintings depicting Luang Po Derm’s stories, replica scene of old shops in Ban Nong Pho, Luang Po Derm’s amulets and religious texts
Management : monastery
Story : monastery
life history
Status : Open
Update Oct 11, 2018
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