King asks for smooth investiture of patriarch

King asks for smooth investiture of patriarch

10,000 medals to be given to the public

Prime Minister's Office Minister Ormsin Chivapruck presents a document to Somdet Phra Maha Muniwong to formally invite him to attend an investiture ceremony scheduled for tomorrow at the Temple of the Emerald Buddha. His Majesty the King will preside over the ceremony. Apichart Jinakul
Prime Minister's Office Minister Ormsin Chivapruck presents a document to Somdet Phra Maha Muniwong to formally invite him to attend an investiture ceremony scheduled for tomorrow at the Temple of the Emerald Buddha. His Majesty the King will preside over the ceremony. Apichart Jinakul

His Majesty the King has asked everyone involved to work together to ensure that upcoming important events, including the investiture of the new supreme patriarch, proceed smoothly, Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha said.

Gen Prayut said the King mentioned this to him at an event which they were both attending on Thursday evening as the monarch presided over the opening ceremony of an exhibition organised in honour of the royal institution.

The prime minister said His Majesty asked all concerned to work together to see that upcoming important events -- the investiture of the new supreme patriarch scheduled for tomorrow and activities to mark Makha Bucha day which falls on Monday -- proceed without hitches, Gen Prayut said.

He said that His Majesty also complimented those involved in organising the exhibition, and said it will provide people with information on the royal institution, particularly the late King Bhumibol Adulyadej, who made substantial contributions to the development of the country.

"His Majesty said it was a job well done and asked all involved to continue working together so that important tasks make steady progress," Gen Prayut said.

Meanwhile, Wat Rajabopit in Bangkok on Friday announced its plan to manufacture 10,000 special medals for distribution as free gifts to the public, to commemorate the appointment of Somdet Phra Maha Muniwong, the temple abbot, as the new Supreme Patriarch.

Phra Phrommuni, the deputy abbot of Wat Rajabopit, said the medals will have the new supreme patriarch's royal cypher on the obverse, while the reverse will show Buddhist text ar au ma written in the Pali alphabet.

The deputy abbot said the temple also plans to publish 5,000 copies of the biography of Somdet Phra Maha Muniwong as well as some 5,000 dhamma books as souvenirs for people who visit the temple from Monday to Wednesday.

His Majesty the King appointed Somdet Phra Maha Muniwong as the 20th Supreme Patriarch under the amended Sangha Act passed by the National Legislative Assembly on Dec 29.

Under the amended law, the King reserves the right to name the supreme patriarch. In the old version, the Supreme Sangha Council, the monastic governing body, had the power to nominate the supreme patriarch.

Prime Minister's Office Minister Ormsin Chivapruck met on Friday with Somdet Phra Maha Muniwong at Wat Rajabopit to formally invite him to attend the investiture ceremony scheduled for Sunday.

According to the National Office of Buddhism, the investiture of the new Supreme Patriarch will be held at 5pm on Sunday at Wat Phra Si Rattana Satsadaram, also known as the Temple of the Emerald Buddha.

His Majesty the King will preside over the ceremony.

Speaking after the meeting which lasted about 20 minutes, Mr Ormsin said he already invited the top monk to attend the ceremony and informed him that the Thai people are very happy that the monk has been chosen as the new supreme patriarch.

"I told Somdet Phra Maha Muniwong that he looks healthy and relatively strong for a man who has lived almost 90 years and he responded with a smile," Mr Ormsin said.

The minister also presented a robe from Her Royal Highness Princess Chulabhorn, and a vase of flowers from Prime Minister Prayut to the senior monk.

"Somdet Phra Maha Muniwong asked me to pass on his best regards to the prime minister and wished Gen Prayut success in his work," Mr Ormsin said.

After Mr Ormsin left the temple, many reporters, who were present at the temple frantically scrambled to take photos of the top monk, prompting him to admonish them.

"Reporters should feel sympathy for each other and coordinate to make things look neat and proper, rather than getting frantic as you do on this day.

"You do not need to scramble to take my photo. Let's do it together and it will be beautiful.

"From now on, I would like all of you, wherever you may be, not to vie with each other. I will sit properly so you can take my photo," Somdet Phra Maha Muniwong told reporters.

Panom Sornsilp, the director of the National Office of Buddhism (NOB), said yesterday that the NOB has informed monks at all Buddhist temples across the country and abroad to gather in the ubosot or main chapels of their temples to chant prayers as a congratulatory gesture to the new supreme patriarch during the investiture ceremony tomorrow, which will be broadcast live on radio and television stations.

Prime Minister's Office Minister Ormsin Chivapruck meets with Somdet Phra Maha Muniwong at Wat Rajabopit to formally invite him to attend the investiture ceremony scheduled for Sunday. (Video by Apichart Jinakul)

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