Venerable Theravada Monk, Venerable Somdet Phra Maha Ratchamangalacharn (better known as Ven. Somdet Chuang), Abbot of the Royal Thai Monastery Wat Paknam Phasi Charoen, passed away peacefully on Thursday morning. He was 96 years old.
the Bangkok Post The newspaper reported that the elder monk had received kidney dialysis treatment within the past five years, but had no other underlying medical conditions. He died early Thursday at Siriraj Hospital in Bangkok, where he had been admitted for treatment since March 26 last year.
Fri. Somdet was born Chuang Sutprasert in 1925, during the reign of King Rama VI, in the Bang Phli district of Samut Prakan province neighboring Bangkok. He was the second of four children. He was ordained as samanera or novice monk in 1939, at the age of 14, at Wat Sangkha Racha in Bangkok, and received full ordination in 1945 at Wat Paknam Phasi Charoen under Luang Pu Sodh Candasaro (1885-1959). As a monk, Ven. Somdet continued to study the Pali canon and temple management. He became Abbot of Wat Paknam in 1965.
Wat Paknam Phasi Charoen, in the Phasi Charoen district of Bangkok, on the banks of the Chao Phraya River, was established in 1610, during the Ayutthaya period. In contemporary times, the monastery has become known for its charitable works and for initiating a national project to propagate the Five Precepts. The temple is popular among mae chi (Buddhist Sisters), with a full-time population of around 200-400 monks, 80-150 novices, 160-300 mae chi, and 30 to 100 resident volunteers.
Although he rarely gave public interviews, Ven. Somdet has been active in solving social problems. In 2014, he called on the Thai government to offer more support to Buddhist monks living in the insurgency-torn southern provinces of Thailand. He also urged Thai TV stations to promote the five precepts observed by lay Buddhists to viewers.
Fri. Somdet established the Luang Phor Sod Wat Pak Nam Foundation to promote Buddhist teachings and the practice of Dhammakaya meditation propagated by Luang Pu Sodh, a renowned meditation teacher. He also contributed to the writing of a special volume of the Tipitaka texts in honor of the former King of Thailand Rama IX, the late Bhumibol Adulyadej.
In 2014, Ven. Somdet was appointed Acting Supreme Patriarch or Sangharaja of Thailand, the head of the kingdom’s monastic sangha. However, the post was later handed over to Somdet Phra Ariyavongsagatanana IX, Abbot of Wat Ratchabophit Sathit Maha Simaram in 2017, following a controversial amendment to the appointment process by the Thai government.
In a message posted on social networks, Ven. Dr Dhammapiya, Secretary General of the International Buddhist Confederation in New Delhi shared:
It is with deep sadness that we have received the news of the passing of His Holiness Somdet Phramaharathamangkhlachan (Chuang Varapunyo), the former Acting Supreme Patriarch of Thailand and Chief Abbot of Wat Paknam, Bangkok, Thailand.
His Holiness was an eminent Buddhist master who worked tirelessly for the upliftment of Buddha SÄsana not only in Thailand but also throughout the world. With his passing, the entire Buddhist world lost a great Dhamma leader who was able to guide people on the path to Dhamma.
On behalf of all the members of the IBC and myself, I wish to express our condolences and prayers to all the members of Wat Paknam and to all of the followers and disciples of the late Master.
May the Most Venerable attain the supreme Bliss of NibbÄna!
AniccÄ vata saá¹ khÄrÄ
UppÄda vaya dhamminÅ
Tesaá¹ vÅ«pa samÅ sukhÅ
Revered Somdet Chuang of Wat Pak Nam dies at the age of 96 (Bangkok Post)
Death of the venerable Abbot Somdet Chuang (Bangkok Post)
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