Luang Phor Sothorn (Wat Sothorn)

One of Thai’s famous Buddhas Luang Por Sothorn or mostly known as Buddha Sothorn is well known in Thai.
People from all walks of lives over the country even the neighbourhood countries and amulets collectors are familiar with this Buddha image.
Luang Por Sothorn is regarded as one of the most revered Buddha images in Thailand.
It is said that if you pray sincerely to Buddha Sothorn, your career amd wealth would have smooth progress and it will protect your health & safety.

The temple Wat Sothorn Wararam Wora Wiham is located in 
Chachoengsao province, northern Thai.
History of Wat Sothorn

Buddha Sothorn is generally known as Luang Por Sothorn.
Its initial historical facts were already unknown.
What we know now is only the legendary story passing down from the ancient with brief
description and according to the records compiled by Thai Art Department.

The Wat Sothorn or Wat Hong, was built in later Ayutthaya period.
There was a huge wooden stick in front of the temple, and above it there is a copper made golden phoenix. This is probably how
the Wat Hong got its name.
However the phoenix was blown off due to strong wind and left only empty wood stick.
Thereafter its name was changed to Wat Sao Thong. "Sao" in Thai means the wooden stick, while "thong" means the flagpole.
Later the flagpole was broken again, then its name was changed as Wat Sao Thong Thong (วัดเสาทอน).

It was said that there were 3 Buddha images floating from the 
northern river, and one of it was the Luang Por Sothorn which is worshiped in the temple now, hence the temple was later
named as Wat Sothorn.
When was Buddha Sothorn enshrined in Wat Sothorn?

According to the legendary, during the kingdom of Ayutthaya, 
Myanmar invaded Thailand to loot the local temples especially
Buddha statues made from gold as it could be melted into gold.
During its second invasion, the devotees of a temple had smeared mud on the whole body of the golden Buddha statues and put them
into raft to drift away with river flow.
Three of the Buddha statues floated down Pakong river passing through Prachin Buri.
Later the statues were seen in Chachoengsao by the local people and they tried to tie the 3 statues with hemp rope and pull it to shore.
However their effort was in vain. They couldn’t pull the statues no matter how hard they tried.

Then the bigger statue (Luang Por Baan Laem) floating down till 
Baan Laem in Samut Songkhram province. The local people
there pull it ashore and enshrined it in Wat Baan Laem.
The smallest one (Luang Por Tor) floated till Samut Prakan province and enshrined
by local people in Wat Bang Li.
The another statue which was the Luang Por Sothorn floated till Chachoengsao province and discovered by local people.
They tried to tie it with the hemp rope and pulled it ashore but they failed no matter how hard they tried.
Then a monk set up an altar chanting prayer and tied a blessed cord on the hand of the Buddha image.
Amazingly the Buddha image was easily pulled ashore and then enshrined in Wat Sothorn till now.

There was no exact record of when Luang Por Sothorn enshrined 
in Wat Sothorn.
Hoever, as the three Buddha images floated at
the same period and the year people discovered Luang Por Baan Laem
was in B4 2313, therefore it was inferred that Luang Por Sothorn was enshrined in Wat Sothorn around BE2313 too.

It was said that King Rama V had been inspected to that area.
Although there was no exact date of literature about the the origin name of Wat Sothorn, the prime minister in King Rama V period
had said that the person who named it must be someone knowledgeable as it is not only nice but also contains deep meaning.
The origin of Luang Por Sothorn

There are few different versions of stories about origin of 
Luang Por Sothorn.
There were 3 Buddhas brothers statues floated
along northern river to Bang Pakong river area in reversed drift.
Local people saw them and tied ropes on the hands of statues. About 500 of them were helping to pull the statues ashore but their
effort was in vain.
The rope was cut off and the three statues dropped under the water and disappeared.
The 3 Buddha statues floated along Bang Pakong river until south of Wat Sothorn
but weren’t pulled ashore and kept floating in reversed drift.

The elder Buddha floated till Samut Songkhram's Baan Laem.
People worshiped and enshrined it till now. And it was named as Luang Por Baan Laem.
Another statue floated to Bang Phli in
Samut Prakan province, and was known as Luang Por Tor while Luang Por Sothorn was flowed to Wat Sothorn and enshrined
over there.
The original Buddha Sothorn was bery beautiful and made from alloy, with over 50 cm of knee distance.
The image was in samadhi meditation posture, legs crossed and palms facing top.
The monks in Wat Sothorn were afraid that people would be very selfish, had pursue of desire & endless greedy.
One would keep the Luang Por Sothorn secretly if he/ she has no religious belief.
To avoid these problems in the future, they
covered the original statue with cement and made it into meditation posture with knees distance of 165cm.

Another folklore said that there were 5 brothers who turned 
out to posses supernatural power.
To help all living creatures
they transformed as five Buddha statues and floated along river to place where people hoped to see miracles.
One of it was the Buddha Sothorn. Another four were Luang Por Wat Raikhing in Wat Rai Khing, Nakhon Chai Si; Luang Por To Wat Bang Phli in Bang Phli Nai; Luang Por Wat Baan Laem in Mae Klong river’s Baan Laem village, Samut Songkhram; and Khao Takhrao in
Wat Khao Takhrao, Petcha Buri.
Buddha Sothorn in meditation posture

From the outlook of the Buddha Sothorn, it belongs to the type 
of appearance in Larn Chang area, which is popular in Laos & northern east of Thai, also known as Phra Lao (Lao Buddha).
The original image under the gilded body was still inconclusive.
Some people guessed it was carved wood as wood could float in the water while some
said it was carved stone.
However in the ancient record it was made
by alloy. And this is even more evident of the Buddha’s miracle.   
Efficacious Luang Por Sothorn

There were plenty legends about the efficacy and miracle 
happenings of Buddha Sothorn.
Many Thais knew that if you wish to gain wealth and enhance your career you should worship Buddha Sothorn.
This is because it would bestow prayers wishes
to gain extra cash.
Therefore, many businessmen would worship
Buddha Sothorn. Praying to Buddha Sothorn sincerely could make you obtain wealth & easy money.

In early stage, surrounding area of Wat Sothorn was very remote 
and there were only few people living there.
The traffic was inconvenient too. After enshrining the Luang Por Sothorn, people
living on the water believed that praying wishes to Luang Por Sothorn could make their business become smooth.
Some believed that the river water in front of Wat Sothorn was holy water. They would drink
the water and used it to wash their body and face when they rowed boats to Wat Sothorn.
When someone fell sick, they also prayed to Luang Por Sothorn to get protection.
Luang Por Sothorn had granted all the wishes for them and to be success.
Prayers would always have votive celebration to Luang Por Sothorn.  

It was said that there was a period of time where famine 
occurred in the village of Wat Sothorn.
Drought occurred and had not rain for long period. Seedlings withered and smallpox disease infected.
Many people and children died. Many of the them gave up their home property and ran away.
Those who couldn’t run away could only stay there and faced death.
That time an old man was infected by smallpox disease and he had no one to look after him.
He asked for protection from Luang Por Sothorn. He received an incense ash, a dried worship flower and scripture water from there and cooked all the 3 things together to drink and wash his whole body.
His sickness was healed later. He conducted a votive activity delightly.
His story was spreaded and people had come to pray and worship Luang Por Sothorn.

Now we can see there are many street vendors selling lottery 
around Wat Sothorn and many devotees are queuing up to make appointments for votive dance to Luang Por Sothorn.
It is said that there are many devotees who came to worship Luang Por Sothorn who impromptuly bought one or two lotteries outside the temple would come here again driving luxury cars to arrange the votive dance.
They would also donate money to Wat Sothorn to express gratitude.
A Thai tea dealer said that his agent would come to donate fifty thousands bahts to the temple every month.
He would feel uncomfortable if he didn’t go. He believed that his business is getting better and
stable through Luang Por Sothorn’s gift.
Therefore he is willing to join and sponsor in every activity.