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Fan Ajaro (ฝั้น อาจาโร)

Thai-Pali. Name of a Luang Poo and Phra Mahathera Theravada Buddhist monk in the Thai Forest Tradition established by Phra Ajaan Man (fig.) and that focuses on kammataan. He was born on Sunday 20 August 1899 AD into the family Suwanrong (สุวรรณรงค์), a well-off Phu Thai family in Ban Muang Khai (บ้านม่วงไข่), a village in the tambon Phanna (พรรณา), a sub-district of the amphur Phanna Nikhom (พรรณานิคม) in Sakon Nakhon province. He was the fifth son of Chao Chai Kumaan (เจ้าไชยกุมาร), a village headman nicknamed Mao (เม้า) and himself the a son of a former ruler of Phanna Nikhom, while his mother's name was Nang Nui (นุ้ย). Fanís education started in the village temple, where he was ordained as a novice. At the end of the Buddhist Lent, known as owk pansa, the abbot took Fan and the other young monks on a thudong. In 1920, he met Ajaan Man when he stayed near Fanís village. Impressed by his clear articulation of the dhamma, he anticipated to become this wandering meditation monk's disciple, but lacking proper traveling gear, he could not yet follow him right away. He later became a follower of Ajaan Luang Poo Sing Khanaentuyahkmoh (สิงห์ ขนตยาคโม), another important teacher in the early Thai Forest Tradition movement. Initially, the elders of the Sangha did not see the Laotian wandering meditation monks of Isaan as a significant group within the Thammayut order, though after they increasingly gained the support from the local populace and some monks received visits from the royal family, many forest monks became well known nationwide and the upper echelon of society began to seek them out, soon rising from the bottom of the national Sangha hierarchy to the top. Fan is said to have been knowledgeable in herbal medicines and the powers of concentration to cure illness, and today amulets with his depiction are sought-after charms. Fan passed away on 4 January 1977 at Wat Pah Udom Somphon (อุดมสมพร) at the age of 78 and 58 phansa, i.e. 58 years ordained as a monk, according to the Puniyanusatti. His funeral on 21 January 1978 was attended by King Bhumipon Adunyadet and Queen Sirikit, and at the spot of his cremation pyre a 27.9 tall memorial chedi with a museum was later built. See also POSTAGE STAMP.