Followers flock to temple to pay their last respects to His Holiness

Followers flock to temple to pay their last respects to His Holiness

BANGKOK - A throng of loving disciples and people adorned in black attended Bangkok's Wat Bowonnives Vihara Temple yesterday, the first day that members of the public could pay their respects to His Holiness Somdet Phra Nyanasamvara, the 19th Supreme Patriarch of Rattanakosin, who died on Thursday aged 100.

From 8am to 9pm, the temple allowed 20 visitors per session to pay their respects and view His Holiness's body. Members of the public can also attend Abhidhamma chanting ceremonies, which will take place daily until this Wednesday.

A 4-D exhibition marking major historical events over the past 100 years is also open to the public to commemorate His Holiness' life.

The Office of the Supreme Patriarch's Secretary will ensure that charity projects initiated by His Holiness - including a project to raise donations for flood victims in hard-hit Prachin Buri's Bang Sang district - will continue, despite his passing.

Meanwhile, Office of National Buddhism director-general Nopparat Benjawatananun said the Sangha Supreme Council of Thailand, would choose possible successors to His Holiness at their meeting on Wednesday. It would then present its selection to the prime minister for announcement in the "Royal Gazette", he explained.

In related news, the Bangkok Metropolitan Administration (BMA) will host an alms-offering ritual on October 31 to mark the seventh day of His Holiness's passing, said BMA Permanent Secretary Ninnat Chalitanon yesterday. As is their policy, BMA offices will fly the national flag at half-mast until today in mourning for His Holiness. Officials will also wear black for 30 days until November 23, and district offices will provide an area for members of the public to sign their condolences, Ninnat added.

Born on October 3, 1913 in Kanchanaburi province, His Holiness was the longest-living Supreme Patriarch in Thai history. On October 14, he underwent intestinal surgery at Chulalongkorn Hospital and passed away peacefully at 7.30pm on October 24.

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