Sunthorn Phu’s Quarter

Sunthorn Phu and Wat Thepthidaram

Throughout his life, Sunthorn Phu ordained twice. It was during his second monkhood that he stayed in Wat Thepthidaram.

In 1841, Suthorn Phu and his son, both already ordained at that time, came back from his journey to find gold in Suphanburi. According to his poem “Niraj Suphan” (Journey to Suphanburi), the expenditure was a failure. During this time, monk Sunthorn Phu and his son came under patronage of Krom Muen Absonsudathep (Princess Wilat, a daughter of King Rama III). Suthorn Phu retold this story in his poem, Rumpanpirab, his personal record. This specific part in Rumpanpirab can be roughly translated as below.

It was misfortune to depart from the Wiharn*
Due to thugs and thieves, I have to leave
Staying in Wat Thepthidaram under patronage
Donation and yearly clothing, I received

(*referring to Wat Ratburana).

The reason for Princess Wilat’s decision to support Sunthorn Phu is speculated to be her regard for his works. Since Prince Lakananukun, who previously supported the poet in first period of monkhood, is her brother, it is possible that Princess Wilat had the opportunity to read Sunthorn Phu’s poems before his second ordination. Princess Wilat asked Sunthorn Phu to continue his epic poems, Phra Aphai Mani, as well as teach Thai literature and poetry in the monastery. Sunthorn Phu composed a poem, Phra Chaisuriya, and used it to teach his students. He also finished another poem, Singhakraipob, and gave it to Princess Wilat. Before ending his second monkhood, he wrote Rumpanpirab, a poem of his personal record.

Wat Thepthidaram Cultural Knowledge Management Project is supported by Thepthidaram Foundation

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