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Luang Pu Fan Acharo: Mystical Teachings & Mantra

Seen above: Ajarn Fan Ajaro smoking a cigar to repel mosquitoes, as was a customary practice at the time.

Luang Pu Fan Acharo (หลวงปู่ฝั้น อาจาโร) is the most well-known Thai monk to have emerged from Sakon Nakhon province. Born in 1899, Ajarn Fan was a disciple of Ajarn Man Phuritatto, the co-founder of the Thai forest tradition of Buddhism. Before his death in 1977, Ajarn Fan established the beautiful hilltop temple Wat Tham Kham and the meditative forest temple Wat Pa Udom Somporn, which now houses his ashes.

Some of the teachings of Luang Pu Fan Acharo (also spell Fun Ajaro) have a distinct mystical bent, which is common among Thai Buddhist monks who have spent years wandering in the forests of Sakon Nakhon and meditating in caves.

For example, Ajarn Fan said that the Buddha, the Dharma (teachings of Buddha) and the Sangha (monastic communities) are all to be found in the heart (พระพุทธ พระธรรม พระสงฆ์ อยู่ที่ใจ ในใจ).

In fact, he believed that everything, including the imagination, emerges not from the brain but the heart (สิ่งทั้งหลายทั้งหมดเกิดจากดวงใจของเรา มโนความน้อมนึก). This belief helps explain why in the Thai language the word “jai” (ใจ) refers to both heart and mind.

Ajarn Fan also said that the Five Precepts of Buddhism are two arms, two legs, and a head (ศีลห้านี้ คือ ขาสอง แขนสอง ศีรษะอันหนึ่ง), that happiness is merit (บุญคือความสุข), and that the wisdom of the Buddha’s 84,000 teachings are to be found within us, not anywhere else (ธรรมของพระพุทธเจ้าแปดหมื่นสี่พันพระธรรมขันธ์นั้น อยู่ที่ตัวเรา ไม่ใช่ที่ไหนอื่น).

He also emphasized personal responsibility by saying that we are the creators of our karma, evil, and danger. Nobody else creates it (เราเป็นผู้ก่อกรรม ก่อเวร ก่อภัย ไม่มีใครก่อให้). So, don’t look around to place the blame on others for the situation in which you find yourself.

 

หลวงปู่ฝั้น อาจาโร
A bronze statue of Luang Pu Fun Acharo at Wat Phu Tok, Bueng Kan Province (Northeast Thailand)

These mystical teachings of course would seem confusing to many Buddhists in Thailand, most of whom do not dive too deeply into the teachings of the Kingdom’s famous monks — just as many Christians don’t go below a surface understanding of Christianity to deeper mystical understandings. But the teachings are there for those “who have ears to hear and eyes to see.”

Luang Pu Fan Acharo, like many revered Thai monks, always taught on different levels — because the “Phra Ajarn” monk understands that the public is composed of people of vastly different capabilities, intelligence, and experience (due partly to what wisdom and insight has been gained or lost in previous lives).

Thus they will teach sometimes very traditionally, offering instructions to follow common Buddhist practices that one sees everywhere in Thailand when visiting temples. Even if followers do not understand the deeper mystical significance of merit making practices, lucky mantras, and sacred amulets, they still are valuable in helping to ease a troubled heart and develop faith, while pointing in the direction of deeper spiritual truths.

Achan Fan Acharo’s Healing Mantra

If you have come down with a cold, or are afflicted with some other type of ailment, a healing mantra that Achan Fan Acharo taught goes as follows:

ปฏิกะ มันตุ ภูตานิ
bpà-dtì-gà man-dtù poo-dtaa-ní

You are to chant that mantra repeatedly (at least 9 times), while focusing your mind and heart on feeling uplifted.

Before starting the chant, you are to chant the “Namo Tassa” 3 times.

นะโม ตัสสะ ภะคะวะโต อะระหะโต สัมมาสัมพุทธัสสะ
ná-moh dtàssà pá-ká-wá-dtoh a-rá-hà-dtoh săm-maa-săm-pút-thassa

David Alan
Sakon Nakhon Isaan