Thai and foreigners alike made merit to celebrate the 97th birthday of Willpower Institute founder Luangpo Wiriyang Sirintharo.
The alms-giving ceremony was held at the Diana Garden Resort, with Diana Group employees and students of the meditation institute present.
Wiriyang was born Wiriyang Buncheekul on Jan. 7, 1919 at Pakpriew rail station in Saraburi. His family later moved to Nakhon Ratchasima.
Wiriyang entered the monkhood as a novice in 1932 and became a junior monk at 14 on May 12, 1933 at Suthjinda Temple in Korat. Ten days later, he pilgrimaged to the Khao Lamnaophrai jungle to search for seclusion. He was fully ordained in May 1941 at the age of 22 in Chanthaburi.
From 1986 to 1991, Wiriyang rested at Kamphaeng Saen Monks College, Namtok Mae Klang branch, Chiang Mai, in the woods to reflect what he had learned. He wrote a book on meditation to be used in teaching it. In the five years waiting for the book to be published, Wiriyang built the first institute of mediation under the name Willpower Institute in 1999 and launched a meditation course in 2000.
It now has branches in Canada and Thailand.