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The Flying Thai Monk Who Meditated on a Cloud

For hundreds of years, supernatural abilities have been attributed to the monks of Thailand and ancient Siam. Many of these miraculous monks have come from the Northeast of Thailand (Isan). One such famous Thai monk was the venerable Ajahn Waen Suchinno/Sujinno (พระอาจารย์ แหวน สุจิณโณ), who was born in Loei province in 1887 and ordained as a novice monk at the age of only 9 years old.

Back in 1973, Ajahn Waen was staying at Wat Doi Mae Pang in the northern province of Chiang Mai. One day an Air Force pilot had taken his plane out to fly as usual. There were a few clouds but the sky was clear and the pilot had good visibility. He steered the plane along its normal course. Suddenly, the pilot had the shock of his life. He saw an old monk sitting on a cloud that was obstructing his flight path. He swerved at the last minute and swept by the meditating monk.


The Thai Monk who Meditated on a Cloud
A bronze statue of Ajahn Waen at a cave in the temple Wat Phu Tok in Bueng Kan province.


He wasn’t sure if his mind was playing tricks on him, so he flew the plane back to where he had been. There he found the old monk still sitting calmly on the cloud as before. But this time he kept his plane at a distance, before finally seeing the monk disappear into the cloud.

After landing his plane, he took out his maps to figure out the location of where he had been flying his plane when he saw the monk in the clouds. He then asked local people if they knew of any monks in Chiang Mai who could perform miracles. He was told of “Luang Pu Waen” at Wat Doi Mae Pang. When he checked his maps, it turned out that temple was exactly where he had been flying.

The pilot immediately went to see the miraculous Thai monk. When he arrived, there were many people waiting to meet Luang Pu Waen, who did not accept visitors often because he preferred solitude. He waited a long time, and when the revered monk finally came out of his room, the pilot was once gain shocked, as it was the same monk he had seen meditating in the sky.

News of a flying monk who could meditate on a cloud spread quickly. It appeared in Thailand’s newspapers, and Ajahn Waen’s face appeared on good luck medallions sold everywhere. The King of Thailand went to pay his respects to the elder monk, and eventually a wax statue from Madame Tussauds of London was made of him.

Years later, toward the end of his life, a doctor attending to Ajahn Waen, who was lying down with eyes closed, whispered to the monk if it was true that he could fly. Without opening his eyes, the old monk replied, “Do you think I am a bird?”


David Alan