On Saturday, March 31, 2012 at 4:00pm in the Buetow Auditorium at Concordia University in Saint Paul, MN a lecture was given on the relationship between a Buddhist Temple called Thamkrabok and the Chao Fao, which is the name of the followers of a guerrilla resistance movement in Laos. This specific temple was unlike others and strongly supported the Hmong's anti-Laos and anti-communism agendas. The speaker, Ian G. Baird, believes that this and other such temples could be involved with indirectly perpetrating violence while practicing Buddhism simultaneously.
The founder of this temple, Luang Por Yai, is key to understanding the relationship between Thamkrabok and the Hmong people. This woman was actually believed to be crazy as a child. She claimed she could tap into her past lives in order to deliver high-level Buddhist sermons, which she began presenting at the mere age of two. However, she lost all her "special powers" at the age of 12 for reasons not understood by others or her. The Hmong have many versions of how or why this woman had such a positive impression on Thailand and their view of Hmong people. Some believe she was an animal in a past life, some believe she transformed from a wild animal and traveled to Thamkrabok, and some even believe men from the temple found her in a cave. The main idea of the stories, however, is that Luang Por Yai was asked to come live at the temple but she refused until they called "her people" down as well, "her people" being the Hmong.
The Thamkrabok's aid to the Hmong people first came in the form of addiction treatment as opium had recently become illegal. The first addicts were sent in 1970 funded by only private donations. In later years, the Ministry became impressed by the results and provided additional funds. Following the Ministry, the United States Agency for International Development sent funds to help, as well as the Asia Foundation. Altogether, 3,000 opium addicts in Laos were treated at Thamkrabok. The Hmong were transported by truck from Laos to the temple. The new leader of the temple, Luang Por Chamroom was allegedly considered a candidate for the Novel Peace Price in the mid-1990s.
This temple known as Thamkrabok and its original founder, Luang Por Yai, aided thousands of Hmong rebels whom had addictions to Opium. This temple receives considerable support from right-wing parties and was strongly against communism. Thus, when the political change and conflict in Laos began, the Hmong saw Thamkrabok and Luang Por Yai as heroes of sorts. This relationship has been very well studied, especially by Professor Baird and is obviously a very influential one in history.