Koh Samui’s mummified monk at Wat Khunaram is an unusual sight yet offers a unique insight into Buddhist and Thai culture. The monk Luang Por Daeng died in 1973 in a seated meditative position and ever since his body has been on display in an upright glass shrine at the temple. Remarkably, even more than 35 years passing by, the body shows little sign of decomposition.
Phra Khru Sammathakittikhun (Daeng Piyasilo), commonly known as Luang Por Daeng, was a native of Koh Samui who enjoyed a long prosperous family life until he was 50 years old when he decided to devote the last part of his life into the monkhood. After being ordained in 1944, he became renowned for his meditation practice for about 20 years and thus had many disciples among Buddhist monks and laymen.
He was also able to foresee his own death in 1973 when he was 79 years old. He had instructed his followers shortly before his death that if his body were to decompose he should be cremated; if not, he then wanted to be put on display as a visual reminder of Buddha’s teachings. For Thais, both the life and death of Luang Por Daeng serves as an inspiration to follow the Buddhist precepts and walk the middle path.
Today, he can still be seen in the exact same meditative position he was in when he died at Wat Khunaram located on the 4169 ring-road halfway between Na Muang waterfall and Baan Hua Thanon.