The boys will express their gratitude by entering the monastery for nine days. With the exception of 14-year-old Adul Sam-on, a Protestant catechumen, the boys and their coach were ordained in the temple on the mountain that had trapped them. The novices and coach will be guests of the Wat Phra That Doi Wao temple and study the dharma.
Chiang Rai (AsiaNews/Agencies) – The young footballers who survived 18 days in the flooded Tham Luang cave, Mae Sai District (northern Thailand), have been ordained as novice monks to honour the memory of the diver who died during the rescue operations.
The Buddhist ritual took place at Wat Phra That Doi Tung temple, about 45km from Chiang Rai atop Doi Nang Nong, the mountain where the cave is located.
With the exception of 14-year-old Adul Sam-on, a Protestant catechumen, the 'Wild Boars' and their coach Ekapol Chanthawong recited the ordination prayer in the main hall of the temple.
During the solemn service, they asked the religious authorities to allow them to start a nine-day monastic period.
The group listened to some sacred chants wearing saffron-coloured clothes. In preparation for their novitiate, the boys yesterday took part in the shaving of the head ceremony (pictures 2-3-4).
Walifone Kunan, widow of Saman Kunan, the former Thai Navy diver who died, was present at today's ceremony. Shocked at the news of his death, the 'Wild Boars' pledged to show their gratitude by entering the monastery.
During the ceremony, the head of Chiang Rai's Buddhist Office, Praphan Khamchoi, said that "The ordination is also their way of thanking all rescuers in Thailand and other countries ".
According to tradition, Thai Buddhist males, at some point in their lives, enter a monastery, often as novices, to show gratitude. It is believed that once ordained, they obtain merits that extend to their parents as well.
The 11 novices and the coach will study the dharma and will be guests of Wat Phra That Doi Wao temple, also in Mae Sai district.
Ekapol, a former monk in Wat Sao Hin temple in Lamphun for almost eight years, will continue his spiritual journey for a month longer than his players.