Somdet Phra Maha Muniwong new Supreme Patriarch

His Majesty the King has chosen a senior member of the Dhammayut monastic order & former abbot of Wat Ratchabophit to be the next Supreme Patriarch of Thailand.

RELIGION

Somdet Phra Maha Muniwong new Supreme Patriarch

7/02/2017
Online Reporters

His Majesty the King has chosen Somdet Phra Maha Muniwong, abbot of Wat Ratchabophit, to be the 20th Supreme Patriarch of Thailand, according to Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha.

"I submitted the names of five qualified monks for His Majesty to consider. On Monday night, I was informed His Majesty chose Somdet Phra Maha Muniwong," Prime Minister Prayut said.

A ceremony to appoint the new Supreme Patriarch will be held at 5pm on Sunday at Wat Phra Si Rattana Satsadaram, to be presided over by the king.

Somdet Phra Maha Muniwong, 89, is of Dhammayuttika Nikaya, the Dhammayut monastic order, one of the two orders of Buddhist monks in Thailand.

DIRECT SELECTION BY THE KING

On Jan 6, the Sangha Act was amended to allow the King to directly choose and appoint the Supreme Patriarch instead of going through the Sangha Council's nomination as before (see here).

Earlier, Somdet Chuang, the abbot of Wat Paknam Phasi Charoen and acting Supreme Patriarch, was the candidate since he is the most senior monk in the country as stipulated by the old law.

NEW SUPREME PATRIARCH'S CAREER AS A MONK

Born in 1927 and ordained as a novice monk at the age of ten-years old, the new supreme patriarch is 89 years old and has spent almost 80 years in monasteries.

He graduated from Mahamakut Buddhist University in 1957 in religious studies and then obtained a master's degree in history and archaeology from the Banaras Hindu University in India.

Mahamakut Buddhist University presented him an honorary doctorate degree in 2009.

Mahachulalongkornrajavidyalaya University presented him an honorary doctorate degree in 2010.

He has been the abbot of Ratchabophit Temple in Bangkok.

He is also a member of the Sangha Supreme Council. 

FACTORS FOR CHOOSING CANDIDATES

Seniority, appropriateness and health were the three factors used to choose the list of candidates for royal consideration.

Candidates were chosen from from both monastic orders, the Dhammayut and the Mahanikaya.


http://www.bangkokpost.com/news/general/1194416/somdet-phra-maha-muniwong-new-supreme-patriarch

http://www.bangkokpost.com/news/general/1193929/pm-supreme-patriarch-appointment-on-track

http://www.nationmultimedia.com/news/breakingnews/30305856

About the author

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Writer: Jon Fernquest
Position: Online Writer