HIS HOLINESS SUPREME PATRIARCH | 1913-2013
When His Majesty the King was ordained as is the tradition for all reigning Thai monarchs at the age of 29, the ceremony was conducted by the 13th Supreme Patriarch Somdet Phra Vajirananavong, who was also abbot of Wat Bowon Niwet.
The ceremony took place at the Temple of the Emerald Buddha on Oct 22, 1956. For the duration of the 15-day stay in the monkhood, Bhumibalo Bhikku - the King’s monastic nomenclature - resided at Pan Ya Villa, Wat Bowon Niwet, in Bangkok.
At that time, Supreme Patriarch Somdet Phra Nyanasamvara, who was holding the title of Phra Sobhanaganabhorn, was appointed his spiritual mentor and adviser.
His role was to guide His Majesty on all matters, from ceremonial procedures and behaviour to the study of Buddhist dhamma scriptures. Phra Sobhaganabhorn also inducted Bhumibalo Bhikku into Vipassana insight meditation techniques.
As Supreme Patriarch, he was also appointed spiritual mentor to His Royal Highness Crown Prince Maha Vajiralongkorn during his 15 days in the monkhood in 1978.
To be entrusted with this task showed that the then Supreme Patriarch Somdet Phra Vajirananavong, had great faith in the conduct and knowledge of Phra Sobhanaganabhorn, who in turn fulfilled his duties perfectly.
Despite his lofty task as spiritual mentor to the King, Phra Sobhaganabhorn was known to have remained humble and modest, preferring to think of his role as serving rather than teaching the monarch.
Bhumibalo Bhikku gave up his priestly vows on Nov 5, 1956. Since then, Phra Sobhaganabhorn was regularly sought after by His Majesty the King to give sermons during royal religious ceremonies and also in private.
As Somdet Phr a Nyanasamvara, he was also appointed the spiritual men tor to His Royal Highness Crow n Prince Maha Va jiralongkorn during his 15 days in the monkhood in 1978.
About the author
- Writer: Usnisa Sukhsvasti
Position: Features Editor