The crematory of Hasadiling is part of ancient tradition especially for aristocrats’ and great Buddhist monks’ incineration. Therefore, khon Kaen University built the crematory of Hasadiling for royal incineration of the Great Teacher, Pratepwitayakom or known as Luangpho Khoon Parisutho on January 29, 2019 at Buddhamondon Isan in khon Kaen.
The crematory of Hasadiling is built based on the research consisting of 3 parts – the study of information, design, and construction. First, ancient literature, especially those of northeastern region, was studied in aspect of the great monks’ incineration based on proper tradition. Next, the design represents Luangpho Khoon’s identity – simplicity transformed into pure white work of art. During finding Luangho Khoon’s identity, the sculpture of an elephant with 4 tusks was found at Watbanrai; therefore, the head of Hasadiling bird is the head of an elephant with 4 tusks. According to Luangpho Khoon’s will mentioned that the crematory would not be reused, the crematory at funeral of other monks cannot be Hasadiling bird. Last, the crematory of Hasadiling was constructed by Ten Divisions of Traditional Thai Craftsman known as Chang Sip Mu. In addition, professional craftsmen from public and private sectors and craftsmen who are Luangpho Khoon’s deciples provide great help with creating Traditional Thai art – drawing, carving, sculpting, and molding. The construction site is by Sithan Pond, Khon Kaen University. The body of Hasadiling bird is made from hardwood with 22.6 meters height. Its exterior structure is made from bamboo attached with folded pieces of white paper similar to paper mache. All of these will be incinerated with the body of Luangpho Khoon. The base of crematory is an octagon with 16 meters wide surrounded by 12 naga, each with 5 meters long, and 32 creatures from Himapan Forest based on traditional legend.
Now 90% of the crematory is complete and then will be moved to Buddhamondon Isan on January 7, 2019 with approximately 10 days for setting up. It will be completely finished by January 21, 2019, so people can come to witness from January 21 – 28. On January 29, 2019 the body of Luangpho Khoon will be moved from Golden Jubilee Convention Hall to Buddhamondon Isan, and people are not allowed to enter the ceremony area. However, the ceremony committee has prepared proper spots for people to pay homage to Luangpho Khoon with sandalwood flowers.
Assoc. Prof. Dr. Niyom Wongpongkham, Dean of Faculty of Fine and Applied Arts, who is the head of Hasadiling building team said that when building Hasadiling bird, the team did not only concern about information from research but also the 3 coffins – the first one made from sandalwood contained Luangpho Khoon’s body. The second one made from stainless would be locked with 4 locks and placed on firewood to prevent the flame reaching to his bones. The last one was Hasadiling bird covering the previous 2 coffins. After incineration based on Thai tradition, his body would be in the stainless coffin securely locked up so that nobody could access his cremains according to his will.
The legendary Hasadiling bird or Saggadailing bird had a head of elephant, body of a bird, and great power. It came from an ancient legend of Takkasila City. At that time, the king passed away, and his body had to be moved to the royal ground for incineration. Then a Hasadiling bird, which was carnivorous, flew out of Himapan Forest and swooped down to take the king’s body. Seeing that, the queen announced that anybody with good heart had been needed to take the king’s body back. Sida volunteered to fight with Hasadiling bird with poison arrows that later killed the bird, and the king’s as well as the bird’s body fell to the ground. Therefore, the queen ordered a craftsman to build a glass crematory on the bird’s back and incinerated it with the king’s body. Since then crematory of Hasadiling bird became tradition for aristocrats’ funeral because it had been believed that Hasadiling bird could take souls of the dead to heaven.
Assoc. Prof. Dr. Niyom continued, “As a chairman of the funeral committee, KKU president and Dean of Faculty of Medicine confirmed on December 24, 2018 at the committee meeting for funeral of Great Teacher and Pratepwitayakom that we had no policy to produce any amulets for sale or distribution. Our duty is to organize the funeral of Great Teacher and Pratepwitayakom and be accommodating to his disciples according to his will. We cannot prohibit or control what other people do, but if there is someone selling products related to the funeral, that person is improperly taking advantage of the occasion.”
“Khon Kaen University has very great luck to organize the funeral of Great Teacher and Pratepwitayakom. From the beginning until now, there’re no difficulties in working at all. Instead we have people network willing to help with the funeral so much that we need the process for clarifying working teams – how to build the crematory, how to arrange flowers, donation of coffins, and millions of sandalwood flowers. There’s only small problem – young people who thought differently and sprayed naga at the base of Hasadiling bird with colors. At first this area was opened for people so that they could come to witness its beauty, but now it has been closed for convenience in working. Other parts of our work such as places and Luangpho Khoon’s will also have no problem. I personally think that it’s the glorious time of Khon Kaen University working for Luangpho we love and highly respect. Thai people and KKU folks will remember this forever.”
Faculty of Architecture, Khon kaen Univrsity has received permission from the committee of the funeral of Great Teacher and Pratepwitayakom to build a pagoda covering Luangpho Khoon’s incinerating area without moving naga, other Himapan creatures, and decoration to keep them as a monument in remembrance of Pratepwitayakom or Luangpho Khoon Parisutho.
Article / photos : Communication Affairs Division, Khon Kaen University