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Press Release: Thailand's most revered monk; a guiding light has passed on
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    Thailand's most revered monk; a guiding light has passed on

    Thailand's most revered monk; a guiding light has passed on
    By The Nation
    Published on January 31, 2011

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    Early yesterday morning Thailand lost its most revered monk. Luangta Maha Bua, who was known for his immense influence, his mammoth works of charity and his role as a sort of saviour when society was in crisis - by leading a national fundraising campaign to restore the country's national reserves after they were deplet¨ed by the 1997 financial crisis.

    To millions of his followers across the country it was a sad day, for they have lost a guiding light - the 97yearold abbot of Wat Pa Ban Tad in Udon Thani.

    Luangta Bua's direct talks, dynamic sermons, and outspo¨kenness saw him embroiled in national politics in recent years, when governments were led by both the Democrats and Thaksin Shinawatra.

    Responding to critics who argued that it was not a monk's place to get involved in worldly issues, especially politics, the monk said: "They even dare to accuse Luangta Maha Bua of playing politics. Politics, what dog shit! There's only shit all over the country. I brought the Buddha's dharma to cleanse in order for them to repent and recognise good and evil - because they're the govern¨ment. The world flatters them as smart people, but don't be smart down in a toilet.''

    In a sermon that Luangta Bua himself called "most vehe¨ment", the monk called on Thaksin Shinawatra to step down, saying it was time for Thaksin to abandon the "rotten system he is presiding over". He described the Thaksin govern¨ment as "wicked, corrupt, powerhungry and greedy".

    The monk said he regretted endorsing Thaksin's candidacy. "I looked at his financial status and I believed he was honest. I admit that my judgement about this man was wrong," the abbot said.

    On 27 September 2005, Manager Daily published a ser¨mon that was extremely critical of Thaksin by Luangta Maha Bua. Thaksin sued the newspa¨per but not the monk. The case was withdrawn after the King indirectly advised against such legal action during his annual birthday speech.

    Luangta Bua and his follow¨ers also got into argument with the Democrats when the monk insisted that the cash and gold donated by the public to him be kept untouched in the national reserves. The Finance Ministry under minister Tarrin Nimmanhaeminda wanted to use it to repay bad debts that had accumulated in the banking system. The conflict has led to the monk's followers seeking to impeach Tarrin, although the attempt did not succeed.

    The story of a monk appeal¨ing to his countrymen to donate foreign currency and gold in a campaign called 'Thai Help Thai' to bolster Thailand's rapidly shrinking currency reserves made international headlines as a stunning amount of continuous donations were received from people who had faith in him.

    From April 1998 to January 15 last year, Luangta Bua handed 15 donations of gold to several governments. All up some 967 gold bars weighing 12 tonnes and 79.8 kilograms plus $10.2 million in cash were donated.

    The diminutive, simple, and humble looking monk attract¨ed followers who saw him as a monk who did not seek personal gain.

    He was born to a wealthy farming family of 17 children. Though it is a Thai tradition to show gratitude towards parents by joining the monkshood Luangta Bua refused his par¨ents' wish to see him ordained till he saw their teary eyes. After learning Dharma, his determi¨nation to reach enlightenment, following in the footsteps of Lord Buddha, kept him in the monkshood.

    He went in search of Luangpu Man Phurithatto, one of the most renowned medita¨tion masters, with his desires, intent and doubt on whether he could ever reach enlightenment, or Nirvana. Man clarified the questions in his mind, showing him that the path to Nirvana still existed. Luangta Bua said he respected Man ever since and regarded him as a parent.

    Learning that his mother was ill he returned home to look after her. He accepted a dona¨tion of land to build a monastery there after his relatives asked him to settle permanently in November 1955. It was given the name Wat Pa Ban Tad. The vigour and uncompromising determination of his Dharma practice attracted other monks to his temple.

    Luangta Bua always went without food as he said it helped him feel light and made him progress well with meditation.

    To his disciples, he was wide¨ly regarded as an Arahant ó a living Buddhist saint who reached his ultimate goal of enlightenment.

    THE NATION

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    Re: Thailand's most revered monk; a guiding light has passed on

    Revered monk Luangta Maha Bua dies, aged 97
    By The Nation
    Published on January 31, 2011

    Highlyrevered monk Luangta Maha Bua passed away last night from natural causes. He was 97 years old.

    Luangta Bua is perhaps best known for collecting more than 12 tonnes of gold bars and more than US$10 million in cash via donations to a public cam¨paign to salvage Thailand's economy after the Asian economic meltdown 10 years ago. The gold and money was given as reserves to the Bank of Thailand.

    A threeday funeral service under Royal patronage began yesterday at Wat Pa Ban Tad in Udon Thani, where he was the abbot.

    A huge number of mourners attend¨ed the bathing rite, causing heavy traf¨fic congestion in nearby areas. The evening prayer ceremony will be held later. Details of his cremation have yet to be determined.

    Her Royal Highness Princess Chulaborn Walailaksana, a regular patron of the monk, presided over the bathing rite yesterday. The Princess also chairs a laypersons' working com¨mittee responsible for the funeral serv¨ice, while Phra Udom Yanna Molee pre¨sides over a similar committee repre¨senting monastic affairs for the funeral.

    Their Majesties the King and Queen have granted full Royal decorations for the funeral, with an urn put behind the coffin containing the body of Luang Ta Mahabua, who held the ecclesiastical title of "Phra Thamma Wisutthi Mongkhol".

    After the end of the threeday royalsponsored funeral, a large number of politicians and Cabinet members are expected to host the later service.

    Luangta Bua wrote three wills, each of which contains the same message, ordering that all gold ornaments and bars and other donated assets in his custody be handed to the Bank of Thailand as gold and cash reserves.

    The monk vowed to collect 10 tonnes of gold for the national reserves after the Asian economic meltdown 12 years ago, when Thailand's national reserves were depleted on a failed bid to defend the collapsing baht. Some 12 tonnes and 79.8 kg of gold, plus $10.2 million was eventually given to the cen¨tral bank over 15 occasions.

    The amount of gold and money in his custody waiting to be handed over to the BOT at the time of his death is unknown.

    The monks' wills are held at the Siam Commercial Bank's Udon Thani branch, the Kasikorn Bank's Udon Thani branch, and by two other monks resid¨ing at Wat Pa Ban Tad.

    Luangta Bua, was born on August 12, 1913 as Bua Lohitdee. He had 15 sib¨lings. He entered the monkhood at 21, after showing interest and faith in Buddhism throughout his childhood.

    Doctors at Udon Thani General Hospital said his condition began dete¨riorating at 2.49am yesterday and his heartbeat dropped at 3.40am.

    He passed away at 3.53am, when his heart and respiration stopped. He had suffered from an intestinal and lung infection for more than six months before agreeing to seek treatment at a hospital.

    THE NATION

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    Re: Thailand's most revered monk; a guiding light has passed on

    Plans begin for revered monk's cremation
    By Seksanti Kallayanawisut
    The Nation
    UDON THANI
    Published on February 1, 2011

    Devoted Buddhists from across the country continued to mourn yesterday and pay respect to the late highly revered monk, Luangta Maha Bua Yanasam-panno, at Wat Pa Ban Tad in Udon Thani's Muang district.

    A temporary crematorium will be set up in front of the temple for the royally sponsored cremation ceremony, which could be held on either March 5 or March 12.

    Luangta Bua passed away at 3.53am on Sunday at the age of 97 after suffering from an intestinal and lung infection for more than six months before agreeing to seek treatment at a hospital.

    The monk's body was placed in a refrigerated coffin behind a mortuary urn and groups of visitors were allowed to visit for three minutes per time.

    Luang Phor Inthawai Santusatko, a member of the nine-strong committee that will fulfil the monk's wills, said that to get all donations made at the funeral to the Bank of Thailand (BOT), people should give at the sole donation-taking spot on the temple hall's second floor.

    The monk's three wills have the same message that all gold ornaments and bars and other donated assets in his custody be handed to the central bank as part of the national reserves.

    Luang Phor Inthawai led a team of monks yesterday at the first meeting about the cremation ceremony with Dr Paisal Lomthong, a representative of the Royal Household Bureau and Udon Thani governor Khomsan Ekachai. They then inspected the area in front of the main hall for the crematorium. The meetings will be held every two days.

    Luang Phor Inthawai said the temporary crematorium design would be "classic" and simple. "It'll be a large and tall hill-shaped structure with a large umbrella on top," he said adding that the budget to build it would come from money raised by the monk's students and close disciples - not from public donations.

    Nakhon Udon Thani Municipality official Samreung Lamrit said the temporary crematorium to be built shortly would be a three-layered hill-shaped structure. Each layer would be a metre-high, and it would have a 40-metre-wide base, a nine-metre-wide flat top and a large corona-shaped umbrella.

    Luangta Maha Bua is best known for collecting 967 gold bars weighing more than 12 tonnes and over US$10 million in cash donations in a public campaign to restore the country's national reserves after the Asian economic meltdown in 1997. The gold and money was given as reserves to the BOT between April 1998 and January last year.

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    Re: Thailand's most revered monk; a guiding light has passed on

    SadhuX3...
    Sleep, little one, close your eyes, mother will sing you a lullaby... Sleep in a jewel cradle, sleep, mother will rock you.
    If you don't sleep the midges will go for your eyes and pollen will fall on the cradle....Sleep, close your eyes...
    - Isaan folksong, from "The Price of a Life" (Onkom, 1997)

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    Re: Thailand's most revered monk; a guiding light has passed on

    He lived to a great age, so he will be missed by every generation.

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    Re: Thailand's most revered monk; a guiding light has passed on

    I was fortunate to spend a day in the presence of Luangta Maha Bua 3 years ago. The conversation, wisdom, gentleness, compassion were all deep and genuine. That day has remained in my mind ever since, and combined with his teachings, has inspired my continued practice and return trips to Thailand to ordain and practice in the Forest Dhamma tradition.

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    Re: Thailand's most revered monk; a guiding light has passed on

    Monk's funeral to 'draw thousands'
    The cremation of Luangta Maha Bua Yannasampanno is a logistical challenge

    Published: 3/03/2011 at 12:00 AM
    Newspaper section: News

    Wat Pa Ban Tad forest temple in Udon Thani is abuzz with activity. More than 1,500 kitchens are being set up to cater to more than 2,500 monks residing at the temple and thousands of visitors streaming in every day.

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    Wat Pa Ban Tad forest temple in Udon Thani is packed with Buddhists paying homage to the body of Luangta Maha Bua Yannasampanno yesterday. TAWATCHAI KEMGUMNERD

    Space must be made to accommodate thousands of cars heading to the temple. Sacks of rice and heaps of vegetables have to be brought in and properly stored. This is all in preparation for the big event on Saturday - the cremation of highly revered monk Luangta Maha Bua Yannasampanno, who passed away on Jan 30 at the age of 98.

    The ceremony will be presided over by Her Majesty the Queen. The temple is hectic with everything that needs to be done to accommodate the large number of visitors for the famous monk's last rites, which will officially start tomorrow.

    Logistics is a challenge. Even though the temple has expanded its parking lots from five to 19, covering an area of 1,095 rai or more than 2 million square metres, it is still concerned that traffic will be a problem.

    Temple authorities yesterday told cooks and volunteers who man the large and small kitchens scattered around the temple that they would have to stock all the food, water and ice - everything they will need for their cooking - now because tomorrow and Saturday they won't be able to move vehicles out of and around the temple.

    Yaowaluck Padungkitniran, a cook at the Sri Thai Mai soup kitchen, said she would be able to stock fresh ingredients to last two days but would have trouble if she was not able to go out to get ice.

    Another female cook, who has been cooking about 200 kilogrammes of rice per day, plans to double the amount tomorrow and Saturday. As her kitchen is located close to a parking lot entrance, she said she should not have too much trouble shuttling around.

    In the temple, about 50 police officers from Senee Ronayut Camp have been rehearsing the funeral procession. For the ceremony, 12 pall bearers will carry the coffin from the temple to the outdoor crematorium, over which a large umbrella is being installed as a finishing touch. White flowers will decorate the raised pattern for the funeral.

    Media organisations in Udon Thani have joined forces in setting up a temporary news centre specifically for the event. Radio stations 99.0, 88.0 and 92.75 will start broadcasting tomorrow and continue until Sunday. Broadcasts will run from 5am to midnight and will give out information about the ceremony, traffic and the general atmosphere.

    Phra Khru Athakitnanthakhun, abbot of Wat Pa Doi Lap Nga, said the monks' gathering at Wat Pa Ban Tad will hold a pha paceremony for the late abbot today. Tomorrow Her Royal Highness Princess Chulabhorn will take part in a morning alms-giving ceremony and evening prayers at the temple. The cremation is scheduled for 1pm on Saturday. The temple has received 267 million baht in donations and 45kg of gold to benefit Luangta Maha Bua's causes.

    BANGKOK POST

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    Re: Thailand's most revered monk; a guiding light has passed on


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    Re: Thailand's most revered monk; a guiding light has passed on

    NIRVANA
    By The Nation on Sunday
    Published on March 6, 2011

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    Many tens of thousands attend funeral of revered monk Luangta Maha Bua

    Tens of thousands of people flocked yesterday to Wat Pa Ban Tad forest temple in Udon Thani to attend the royal-sponsored cremation of highly revered monk Luangta Maha Bua Yannasampanno yesterday evening, which was graciously presided over by HM Queen Sirikit.

    Donations given at the funeral totalled more than Bt330.5 million in cash and cheques, plus about 78 kilograms of gold.

    At 5.15pm, HM the Queen went to the ceremonial ground and entered the temporary pavilion before hosting the robe-offering ceremony to 10 senior monks at the crematorium.

    The Queen placed the funeral bouquet with Indian oak pieces in the crematorium, before the senior monks laid down the funeral robe and performed the cremation rite. The Queen left the temple at 5.45pm to board a plane to Bangkok.

    After that HRH Princess Chulabhorn placed the funeral bouquet followed by 99 senior monks and VIP guests before general monks and public members were allowed to place funeral bouquets at designated spots around the crematorium.

    Among high-profile guests were Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva, Privy Councillor Surayud Chulanont, Deputy PM Sanan Kachornprasart, PM's Office Minister Ong-art Klampaiboon, Natural Resources and Environment Minister Suwit Khunkitti, and Finance Minister Korn Chatikavanij.

    Prior to the rite, at 7.30am HRH Princess Chulabhorn

    gave alms for the late monk's merit at the temple.

    A member of the funeral committee, Phra Ajarn Inthawai Santusatko, urged people who were not able to attend to watch the cremation broadcast live on television and utter the word "Sangkho" (a Bali word for Buddhist monks) while observing the rite at home. Members of the public were allowed to pay their respects to the late monk until midday. Officials organised people in designated places around the ceremonial area.

    Thousands of police and Army personnel provided security. The temple compound was crowded with Buddhist devotees seated around the temporary crematorium to attend the rite of the revered monk. Some 1,500 almshouses that handed out free meals were full. The 18 parking lots were packed with buses and vans providing free rides to people from parking lots to the temple.

    Luangta Maha Bua was born Bua Lohitdee on August 12, 1913, in Ban Tad, Udon Thani's Mak Khaeng district in a well-to-do farming family and had 15 siblings.

    Luangta Maha Bua, a student of the much respected Luangpu Man Phurithatto, is renowned for leading many fund-raising events for charitable causes and helping to restore the country's national reserves after they were depleted in the "Tom Yam Gung" financial crisis in 1997-98. Luangta Maha Bua passed away at the age of 98, on January 30.

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    Re: Thailand's most revered monk; a guiding light has passed on

    Queen leads 1 million to pay last respects to monk
    Published: 5/03/2011 at 11:43 PM
    Online news: Local News

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    Her Majesty the Queen Saturday presided over the cremation ceremony of Luangta Maha Bua Yannasampanno, attended by large crowds of devoted followers at Wat Pa Ban Tad forest temple in Udon Thani's Muang district.

    At 5.15pm, Her Majesty arrived at the temple's grounds, which had been filled with mourners since early morning.

    Among them was Her Royal Highness Princess Chulabhorn.

    The mourning crowds observed in silence as Her Majesty proceeded with the ceremony. She made offerings of 10 sets of saffron robes, placed sandalwood, cut flowers and lit the funeral pyre to complete the symbolic cremation.

    Next came the turn of HRH Princess Chulabhorn and senior monks, followed closely by senior government officials led by Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva.

    The actual cremation of Luangta Maha Bua took place at about 6pm, shortly after Her Majesty left.

    The followers, who patiently waited their turn, moved forward row by row and placed sandalwood, cut flowers and logs around the crematorium before the funeral pyre was lit.

    Several people remained at the temple and watched the fire. Many stayed overnight and will today join the alms giving and ash-collecting ceremony, which will be held at around midnight.

    Luangta Maha Bua's ashes will be kept in a metal box which was locked by eight master keys for security. Eight revered monks hold one key each.

    The ashes will be divided into two portions on Friday. One portion will be distributed among various forest temples, while the other will be put in a golden urn and also kept at Wat Pa Ban Tad.

    It is estimated up to one million people joined Saturday's ceremony.

    Those who attended the funeral received mementoes ranging from amulets to pictures and booklets.

    One of the most sought-after items at the service was a chronicle of the life of Luangta Maha Bua compiled by Wat Pa Ban Tat.

    Only 100,000 copies of the book have been printed for distribution under a budget of 20 million baht.

    Several thousand police officers and soldiers were deployed Saturday to ensure order and traffic flow in the area.

    BANGKOK POST

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