Somdej Phra Puttajarn Toh Phrom-rangsri or Somdej Toh is a son of King Rama II and Nang Ngud of Kamphaengphet Province. He was born before his father became King. Somdej Toh ordained as a novice monk at an age of 13 and become a senior monk at 21. Well-versed in Buddhist teachings, he was named Maha Toh, the King’s monk. In the reign of King Rama IV, he was made Abbot of Wat Rakang Kositaram. He was promoted continuously and finally received the title of Somdej Phra Puttajarn Toh in 1872.
The revered Somdej Phra Puttajarn “Toh Promarangsri” was on of the top masters of Bangkok period. He finished the “Sarata Solot” subject, in which only few in Thailand could do. He produced printed Buddha amulets around B.E.2406 to 2415 (1863-1872A.D). These were called “Somdej Wat Rakhang” Amulets, famous through out the country.
The venerable monk was known to be a good speaker as well as a highly intelligent and compassionate person. He was also very persistent and patient. He made many Buddha images for temples and most particularly 73 models of Phra Somdej Amulets. He had also built many temples. At present Phra Somdej Wat Rakhang is number 1 and the most famous of all Amulets in Thailand.
Phra Somdej Wat Rakhang Amulets bear the image of Lord Buddha meditating by Somdej Puttajarn Toh from Wat Rakhang Kositararm. The Amulets are the most powerful of all. Somdej Toh studied from many great guru monks in the past. He had learned many things and one of them is how to chant “Itti Vattu” (Powerful blessing /chant) over the Amulets.
By chanting Buddha Katha (Mantra, lyrics) and by writing down the numbers of Yan were included in blessing of the Amulets and also the power of meditation was also applied. This is the right way of consecration which made the amulets to have power of protection against evils/darkness or negative energy. This is how Somdej Toh made these amulets, first is to write with Yan numbers, then chanted with Katha (mantra, spells) and then the last is to do meditation ( Chant with Buddhist scripts and lyrics while meditate ). The amulets that are blessed by Yarn and Meditation are very hard to loose power.
Why Somdej Toh made these amulets is to explain the Dharma of Buddha and also to bless every life in this world for good karma. Those who have these amulets for respect/pray are very well blessed because Somdej Toh didn’t create them to for any of his own benefit or for personal wealth. In short time Phra Somdej amulets become very famous in Thailand, more than any other Amulets.
The First Phra Somdej Amulets were created when Somdej Toh visited Phratabong Province of Cambodia. There was one royalty of Cambodia who has great respect to Somdej Toh. He asked Phra Somdej Toh to create one amulet for him to protect from any danger and for praying. It would also mean to remind him of Somdej Toh. Once Somdej Toh came back to Wat Rakhang, he started to make Phra Somdej amulets in B.E.2409. In his life time, Somdej Toh made around 84,000 Phra Somdej amulets.
The materials for making Phra Somdej Amulets comprise : Shell lime , Phong Vises (holy powder, ittijay, eaynisinghay), assorted flowers from shine, rice remains after his consumption, lotus, ashes from incense urns, honey, tang oil, etc. At first, the surface of the amulets were shattered, so Phra Somdej Toh changed to mixed with banana, and then mixed with tang oil by the advice of Luang Vijarnjearanai the palace gold smith of King Rama IV. This combination made the surface look perfect. The later batches are always mixed with tang oil.
The very first molds were made by his cousin “Teath”, a native of Barn Changlor. Unfortunately, the molds were not so beautiful and they could not satisfy Luang Vijarnjearanai. He created the molds for Somdej Toh in later times. The first batch of Phra Somdej are not beautiful and most were broken or surface skin got shattered, also very rare in present days now..
For the molds which made by Luang Vijarnjearanai are Pim Phrapatarn (Pim Yai – Big Mold), Pim Jaydee, Pim Tarnsam, Pim Katebuatoom, Pim Prokboh, Pim Sunkathi, Pim Sendai, Pim Tarnkoo and Somdej To his own mold called Pim Auckruit. These are original Phra Somdej. (Pim = Type of the mold that were used to press the Amulets)
The later pim come out at different times and people give them different names like Pim Kaizer (When King Rama V visited King Kaizer of Germany), Pim Guanyu (Red skin Somdej which give only to military and field soldiers, Thai soldiers those visited china), Pim Jawragar (The black skin Somdej which is very famous with all 5 set Black Benjapakee these include another 4 amulets) Jawragar = Black.)
The Phra Somdej amulets are most famous because of his holy powders (Phong viset) which still can’t find any where, below his level. Phra Somdej said that to have the power always stay strong, the chanter need to success “Vicha Mayarith” and “Samathi Pararith” knowledge and use the power of meditation to chant Yan numbers to become alive. This is the way to make genuine “Phra Somdej” Amulets. Phra Somdej Amulets created by Somdej Toh Promarangsri are the most famous and the best amulets in Thailand, the amulet blessed by him provides strong protection and great fortune to the wearer.
Phra Somdej Amulets were upgraded as the “Emperor” of all Buddha amulets, in which the master of Buddha amulets in Thailand, “Tri Yumpawai” classified as the first of the “Grand Five”(Benjapakee) Buddha amulets in Thailand. The other amulet was from the Kru (pits under pagodas) of 4 cities; namely, PhraRod Mahawan Lumpoon, PhraNangphya Phitsanulok, PhraKampangpeth Soomgor, PhraPhongsuparn Suparnburi.
PhraSomdej Wat Rakhang of standard print shapes, recognized by people includes 5 master prints namely big Print shape PimYai, PimJaydee, PimTarnsam, PimKatebuatoom, and PimProkboh.