11 Thai boys ordained as novice monks to honour dead diver

Buddhist monks shaving the hair of members of the "Wild Boars" football team at a Buddhist temple in the Mae Sai district of Chiang Rai province during a ceremony on Tuesday. Eleven of the 12 boys were ordained yesterday as novice Buddhist monks in m
Buddhist monks shaving the hair of members of the "Wild Boars" football team at a Buddhist temple in the Mae Sai district of Chiang Rai province during a ceremony on Tuesday. Eleven of the 12 boys were ordained yesterday as novice Buddhist monks in memory of a volunteer diver who died during their rescue. One of the boys - a Christian - was not ordained.PHOTO: AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

BANGKOK • Eleven boys from a football team rescued from a flooded Thai cave - in a drama that gripped global audiences - were ordained as Buddhist novices yesterday at a temple in Chiang Rai, in memory of a volunteer diver who died during their rescue.

The boys and their 25-year-old coach, Mr Ekapol Chanthawong, arrived at the Wat Phra That Doi Tung temple in Chiang Rai's Mae Sai district dressed in white robes amid light rain and fog.

The group listened to Buddhist chants before they were given saffron robes to wear during an emotionally charged ceremony that was broadcast live on Facebook by the local authorities.

The boys had their hair shaved a day earlier in preparation to become novice Buddhist monks.

"Their lives will change now. This experience will help them to appreciate their parents and give them a taste of Dhamma (universal truth)," Mr Manit Prakobkit, vice-chairman of the Mae Sai Cultural Council, told local media.

The boys and their coach will live for nine days at a Buddhist temple and adhere to the teachings and precepts of Buddhism, which is Thailand's main religion.

 
 
 

One of the boys, 14-year-old Adul Sam-on, is a Christian and was not ordained.

REUTERS

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 26, 2018, with the headline '11 Thai boys ordained as novice monks to honour dead diver'. Print Edition | Subscribe