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The History of Poh Teck Tung Foundation PDF Print E-mail
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Monday, 11 January 2010 00:00

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The Birth of Poh Teck Tung Foundation

             In the year 1638 B.E. in China, more than 900 years ago, during the reign of the Song Dynasty, there was a member of the Lim clan who passed the exam at the level of “Jin Shi” and was appointed as the sheriff of Chiew Heng District of Jik Kang province. It was, however, short-lived since he entered the monastery and became a Buddhist monk. He was named Tai Hong Zhou Shi or Tai Hong Kong, which was translated in Thai as Luang Pu Tai Hong and continued to be called by this name ever since.                 

            As a mendicant monk, Tai Hong wandered as a pilgrim from the Hokkien province and permanently resided in Mien Anh Quan Chaozhou Monastery, which was a rundown temple on top of Mount Pak Sua in Tia Eia district. He exerted effort to renovate the temple, practiced Buddhism and spread moral values together with his efforts to develop the local communities and promote social welfare services to help elevate the lives of the people using any possible means.  With his steadfast perseverance, he was able to encourage a large and still growing number of people to respect, have faith and offer themselves as disciples. One very important charitable activity he had happened during a disease epidemic killing a lot of people. Luang Pu Tai Hong, together with his disciples and all who had faith in him, provided relief by collecting the corpse of poor victims and arranging for their burial. He also distributed medicines to cure the illnesses from this epidemic disaster to the full extent of his ability, without feeling disgusted and tired until the epidemic crisis had been totally eradicated.       

            Next, he had invited his disciples and the devout to offer themselves and their properties to help build a 5-meter wide and 300-meter long stone bridge to be able to cross the Liang Jiang River in Hua Peng district in search for disasters. The river has rapids and strong underwater currents, which are dangerous and may cause enormous toll in lives and properties of people who constantly cross it. At time, the construction of the bridge was really amazing since no one had ever thought that a bridge could be constructed across the river. During the construction period, there was a rumor that the rapids in the river eased for 7 days, which made the construction of the foundation of the bridge convenient. The Hua Peng Bridge has been stable, permanent, and sustainable and still exists until the present time.

            Luang Pu Tai Hong’s provision of relief to poor people suffering from various illnesses, the collection of the corpses of people who died from epidemic diseases and disasters, and the construction of the Hua Peng Bridge were well-known throughout China. Many people travel to pay homage, give honor and exalted him as Maha Thera Ariyasong – a Buddhist saint with wonderful virtues.  

            Thus, when Luang Pu Tai Hong died, the local townsfolk and his followers built a memorial hall enshrined with the statue of Luang Pu Tai Hong for veneration and memory of his wonderful deeds, and this memorial hall was called Poh Teck Tung. In Thai, it means “Kunanusorn” or memorial. Furthermore, some people who paid respect and had faith in him made merits to honor of Luang Pu Tai Hong, which was believed to be instrumental in achieving peace and prosperity among his followers. This good deeds led to the construction of charitable places called “Poh Teck Tung” throughout the area. At present, in China, there are no less than 100 sites. Later, overseas Chinese who paid homage to Luang Pu Tai Hong traveled to build the “Poh Teck Tung” charitable institution in Thailand.  onHong

            More than 100 years ago, in the year 2439 B.E., a Tia Eia Chinese named Bei Jun Xiang or Bei Yun, had brought a replica of Luang Pu Tai Hong’s image from Hua Peng sub-district, Tia Eia district, Chaozhou, Guangdong province in China to venerate and be enshrined in a house along Liab Temple. When the news had spread, people who paid respect and had faith to Luang Pu Tai Hong continued to increase in number, so they enshrined the image near the Kwong Siu Association on Charoen Krung Road to accommodate them. 

              After that, 12 wealthy charitable merchants, led by Phra Anuwatratchaniyom (Hong Dechavanich), saw the importance and benefits of the charitable deeds of the believers and followers of Luang Pu Tai Hong, so they bought a parcel of land and constructed a shrine for the replica image of Luang Pu Tai Hong as the permanent charitable venue for Poh Teck Tung located on Plubplachai Road beside Kanikapol Temple, in Bangkok.

            In 2453 B.E., Poh Teck Tung was successfully constructed. Above the entrance of the front of the building was a big stone on which the name Poh Teck Tung was carved in Chinese language. The Chinese characters, “Hok Kwang Pow Jia”, behind means “Saeng Tharm Song Thua La” or in English “Fair light shines upon the yard”. The replica image of Luang Pu Tai Hong was enshrined inside the building for veneration for paying homage. This was also the place for charitable deeds such as the morgue for corpses with no relatives, and the place for dispensing of medicines and helping victims of disasters, to name some.

 

            On the 15th of March 2463 B.E., an announcement from the Minister which states that “donated shrines are under the Regional Administration Laws of 2457 B.E.”, so Phra Anuwatratchaniyom transferred the ownership of the construction of Poh Teck Tung Pavilion to the Metropolitan Authority on the 15th of December 2465 B.E. The operation of civic and charitable activities at the Poh Teck Tung Pavilion remained normal until the 19th of October 2479 B.E. When several of the wealthy merchants, who were committee members of the charitable projects, died, the remaining committee members and the children of those who already died had a consultation and discussion meeting to establish a foundation. In this regard, an announcement was made in a Chinese newspaper to invite the President of various organizations to choose qualified individuals as successors and to manage the charitable deeds.  On the 21st of January 2480 B.E., the foundation was registered under the name “Huakiew Poh Teck Siang Tung Foundation” with registration number 11. It had a revolving fund of 2,000 baht (two thousand baht) and with Board of Directors composed of 16 members. The office remained at the Poh Teck Tung Pavilion. The Foundation had the following objectives:

Help victims of conflagrations, typhoons and other calamities in general

Establish a hospital named “Huachiew Hospital” to treat patients of all kinds of diseases

Establish schools and educational institutions (university)

Help in burying corpses and build a cemetery for this purpose

Promote and maintain religious activities, literature, arts and sciences

Practice general charitable deeds or in accordance with the resolutions of the Board of Directors

At present, various charitable public services, in accordance with the goals of the Foundation, have been expanded throughout the country, which make the Poh Teck Tung Foundation one of the biggest charitable institutions in Thailand. It contributes in providing helps, reliefs, benefits and happiness to humans, and eases their distress from calamities and other dangers throughout all levels of life; i.e., at birth, at old age, during sickness and at death regardless of societal level, caste, race, religion, gender and age. These charitable deeds have been embodiments of admiration and praises from benefactors both from inside and outside the country. Most important among these deeds was the construction of Huachiew Hospital – a 22-storey modern, standard, large general hospital that can help treat patients of any diseases. For the provision of social welfare and support for education, which is an important factor in effectively and broadly developing quality life for the locals, the Foundation had renovated and expanded Huachiew College to be a university. On this auspicious occasion, His Majesty the King bestowed the name “Huachiew Chalermprakiet University”.


          

From such contributions, the National Identity Committee of the Office of the Secretary of the Prime Minister announced and cited Poh Teck Tung Foundation as one of the Excellent National Institutions in the area of social development (Social Work) in B.E. 2535. Dr. Uthen Dechapaiboon, a former chairman of the Foundation, received the award from Her Royal Highness Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn on the 13th of August 2536 B.E.

Last Updated on Tuesday, 03 May 2016 13:16
 

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Tel: 0-2225-0020, 0-2225-3211, 0-2623-0545-52 Fax: 0-2226-2567

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