Thousands turned out to give alms to 2,600 Buddhist monks on a mission to help less-fortunate brethren.
The huge merit-making event in front of Pattaya City Hall Dec. 21 saw the crowd, dressed predominantly in white, donate rice and dried goods to support a nationwide drive by a million monks to provide relief to 323 embattled Buddhist temples in Thailand’s Muslim-dominated south.
North Pattaya Road was once again awash in saffron as 2600 monks gathered to collect alms to support their less-fortunate brethren as part of a nationwide drive by a million monks to provide relief to 323 embattled Buddhist temples in Thailand’s Muslim-dominated south.
The sea of orange robes flowed along North Road from the Samsai intersection to the Dolphin Roundabout. The road was closed to traffic and thousands made their way to make merit with the monks.
Mayor Itthiphol Kunplome and former area MPs Santsak and Poramet Ngampichet opened the 6 a.m. event with Praratcha Sittivimol, deputy chief of the Chonburi monk’s council, leading 2,600 monks from Chonburi and Chachoengsao to accept alms, rice, dried food including necessary items from Buddhists.
The Mediation to Develop World Peace Association, founded by Phathepyasana Mahamunee, abbot of Dhammakaya Temple, organized the government-sponsored service, its sixth annual event, aimed at reviving and supporting religion. It was a family-oriented activity meant to reinforce traditional values as well as support the southern monks, who are often the targets of violence by Muslim separatists.
Since 2008, the “Alms Giving for 2 Million Monks” project has raised more than 4,200 tons of rice.
The mayor noted this year’s ceremony again included 600 more monks than pre-2012 events to mark 2,600 years of Buddhist Jayanti. It also aimed to “add virtue and prosperity for individuals and families for the coming year.”