The abbot of Wat Thai Norway in Oslo and some 200 lay followers, most of them Norwegians of Thai descent, arrived in Bangkok this morning (7 March 2014) to attend the funeral rites for the late Supreme Patriarch and his deputy who passed away late last year.
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The group, led by Phrakru Vitetdhammavitit, abbot of Den Thailandske Buddhistforening in Oslo, are Thai women married to Norwegians from Oslo and from other cities in Norway and they planned to travel as a group to take part in religious ceremonies and visited Buddhist institutions in Bangkok and in the provinces until 10 March.
“We are here to pay our respect to the late Supreme Patriarch and his deputy, who had played an active role in initiating the establishment of Thai Buddhist temples, serving members of Thai communities, in Norway and other parts of Europe,” said Suchada Ranglek, one of the temple’s lay leaders, originally from Thailand’s Phitsanulok province.
Most of the people in the group planned to visit families and friends in their hometowns in Bangkok and upcountry after completing the group’s religious activities.
Wichuda Rand, accompanied on this trip by her Norwegian husband, Arne, from Bergen, said the trip, religious activities and sightseeing events, was partly sponsored by Thai Airways International (THAI), which offered special discounts on air fares, to promote cultural and social ties between European citizens of Thai descent and Thailand.
Phrakhru Vitetdhammavitit said THAI organises cultural and social outreach programmes, including annual ordination of its employees into monkhood and getting them to study Buddhism and serve Thai communities at one of the several Buddhist temples in Norway, Sweden and other parts of Europe.