Thursday, October 24, 2013
Just as I wanted to write about my amazing experience at the 100th birthday celebration of His Holiness The Supreme Patriarch of Thailand, news arrived about his death on the 24th October 2013.
Only 22 days ago we were celebrating his 100th birthday at Wat Bovornives with many ceremonies and prayers and a special exhibition in honor of the Supreme Patriarch at Maha Makut Buddhist University building on the temple compound.
Several multimedia shows, films, photos and belongings of Somdet Phra Nyanasamvara Somdet Phra Sangharaja Sakhon Maha Sanga Parinayok were on display.
I was invited to go into the exhibition, shoes off and carefully stored in a white sack which I carried with me. A multimedia show with a short greeting from the Supreme Patriarch kicked off my way through the building.
Groups of several dozen visitors were moving upstairs where Buddha images and other possessions where on display. Important events in the history of His Holiness were shown in collages, posters, photos and electronic form.
Visitors were able to send their good wishes via Computers to the Supreme Patriarch in a special room.
Upon leaving the building were were given gifts, photos and posters and were able to get special T-Shirts, Buddha images and other commemorating items for this auspicious day.
In retrospect I feel very lucky that I was at the right place at the right time and will have a long lasting memory, specially now after the 19th Supreme Patriarch passed away.
Tuesday, October 22, 2013
I have been to Wat Bovornives Vihara many times in the past years, but I have never been so lucky to be back just in time for the 100th birthday of His Holiness Somdet Phra Nyanasamvara, the Supreme Patriarch of Thailand. For this occasion a new museum was opened at Wat Bovornives, called the Abbot Library and Museum.
I was at the temple at day one of the multi-day celebrations and thus was lucky to be one of the first to visit this new museum, located in a century-old gothic-style building.
The main hall features a video presentation on the temple and it's history, while the rooms upstairs are divided into six sections, each devoted to one of the six abbots, four of whom were also Supreme Patriarchs.
One of the rooms is dedicated to Prince Mongkut who was ordained here for 27 years before he became King Rama IV. Luckily there are many signs also in English, so even a non-Thai speaker finds many interesting facts and information about the items shown in the rooms.
Krom Phraya Pavares Variyalankarana was the temple's second abbot and personal belongings of him are shown in the second room.
The following rooms are covering the forth abbot, Krom Luang Vajiranyanavongse, Phra Brahmamuni and the 19th Supreme Patriarch, whose 100th birthday we celebrated during my visit.
It's a really special place to visit, with so much history and information and very non-typical of the usual temple museums, so combined with all the other buildings, Buddha images and a sermon or prayer in the main Ubosot, I filled almost an entire day in Wat Bovornives.