For Malaysians living in Kuala Lumpur, Penang, and Johor may be familiar with Luang Pu Mee Chai of Semenyih, Kajang. His temple and residence is at Semenyih hillside not far from Kajang town area. There is not much history about him that I can relate for now just some background information.
LP Mee Chai is now 76 years old. He entered the Sangha Order at the age of 52 years old. He is from Surin Province in Thailand that is only about 40km to Cambodia border. His son, Luang Pi also entered the monkhood and is mentored by his own father LP Mee Chai.
LP Mee Chai is a very serene monk and he does not look tired even he had to do hard labour to construct the temple by himself.
Luang Pi used to work in the corporate world in Bangkok before joining the Sangha Order following his father's footstep. He learns the Buddha's Paritta, chanting and Samadhi from LP Mee Chai. He decided to put down the lay life and learn the serene way of life instead.
To begin with, Venerable LP Mee Chai is a Thai monk whom resides at Semenyih hill not too long ago, at most 2 and a half years when he first built a makeshift hut at the hill surrounded by thick forest. His purpose to stay at this remote hillside is to conduct Tudong after spending sometime near Bukit Mertajam in Penang. The meaning of Tudong in Thai is where a monk will go to far away remote places i.e. forest, hills, over the hanging cliffs, caves to find resolution for the Dharma practice usually meditation. Since he was here, there are laities whom have known him elsewhere have also come to pay respect to him at this remote hillside jungle area in Semenyih.
From info gathered, this hillside and densed jungle was formerly a Communist red area at the beginning of Malaysia's history. A lot of people died fighting here before and that is the reason why LP Mee Chai had chosen this particular area for his Tudong. According to Luang Pi, his father was foretold by Luang Pu Thep and Luang Ta Noi "Old Master" to come to this area to help these spirits in the way of the Dharma.
When Luang Pi first came to this hill, he always feel unwell and unable to sleep at night probably due to his Dharma foundation was still not firm unlike LP Mee Chai. Anyway he managed to overcome the problem now and sometimes LP Mee Chai will leave him here to look after the place when he got invited to other places for a few days or weeks.
According to Luang Pi this place will have natural lighting at night by its own and you don't need a torch light to shine the way in order to move about in the surrounding. I will presume both LP Mee Chai and Luang Pi had given the Dharma medicine to all sentient beings dwelling here to be happy and peaceful.
The surrounding hillview of this monk dwelling place is beautiful especially with glittering lights of the city below at far distance in the night. Picture shown overlooking to the township below. Facing the back of the camera are all large trees and hills.
However, it is not easy for vehicles to come up to this hill as the road condition is rather bumpy with only one lane. Particularly during raining days it is quite difficult to drive up here because of the slippery gravel roads unless it is a 4x4 Wheel Drive. Despite these difficulties of the road condition, each day many laities will still come here to pay homage to Luang Pu Mee Chai and Luang Pi. This place provide the right setting for meditation practices as it is peaceful and quiet at night apart from the noises coming from insects and animals.
Each night beginning at 8.00pm the chanting of Paritta and Buddha verses will be conducted joined in by laities and also by "unseen" living beings whom take refuge in the Sasana. Whenever the recital of the Dharma begins, one can feel the aura resonance of the Dharma reaching to all corners of this forest area. Evidence of "unseen" living beings that comes to listen and rejoice in the Dharma given by LP Mee Chai can be captured only by camera. The usual form is in white circle transparent color orbs and if the picture is sharp enough, and if seen clearly some orbs has sparkling colors within the white circle.
However, nothing else is more important than to receive the Dharma at the same time with all other living beings at the surrounding hills and forest area. There is nothing to be afraid of in sharing the merit with these living beings. As far as I can recall, there has not been a single accident involving laitees whom come here in day time or at night even when they leave past 12 midnight. Probably it's due to the sacred power and protection this place has to offer. But it is not advisable to go at night particularly for 1st timer as there are no street lights to navigate the way up to this temple.
All forms are impermanent as per Lord Buddha's teaching. This dwelling place had also gone through transformation in recent months. Earlier this year 2008, the monk dwelling and makeshift hut was situated at the top of this hill (the spot where the newly constructed TNB power line structure is now situated).
As of September 2008, the monk's hut had to be shifted downward about 50M away downhill to give way to the construction of this power line structure. Thanks to all well wishers and donors, LP Mee Chai was able to rebuild a brick house that serve as shrine hall to receive visitors. At least when during heavy downpour, the roof does not leak with rain water and the structure does not succumb to strong wind elements.
This is the front entrance to the newly constructed simple shrine hall that was completed almost 3 months ago.
Inside the shrine hall housed various images on the altar.
This is Luang Pi's Kuti that is still undergoing construction.
This dwelling place offers basic and clean washroom facilities to all visitors.
Overall this place had been rejuvenated and seems to be a much better place to offer convenience to visitors and laitees. I remember in the earlier days, LP Mee Chai and Luang Pi had to endure a lot of hardship where their makeshit temple was made of a large tent. During daytime, it can get very humid and hot inside the tent.
With the help from devoted temple helpers, LP Mee Chai and Luang Pi can help spread the Dharma more effectively to all sentient beings. Thank you to all donors and Dharma seekers for making this arduos task possible for both father and son to impart the teaching of the Lord Buddha.
Picture seen here Luang Pi receiving alms offering after he gave blessing to devotees for their merit. However, we are not sure if LP Mee Chai's presence here at Semenyih will be here permanent or not. LP Mee Chai usually do not stay in a place for too long. If he feels that he has completed his work for the benefit of all living beings in this surrounding dwelling whether be it human or others, there's high possibility he may take leave.
My gratitude to Venerable LP Mee Chai for his blessings and Luang Pi for his guidance and teaching Samadhi meditation technique. May all sentient beings be well and happy always. Sadhu! Sadhu! Sadhu!