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Thousands turn out for monk president’s funeral

Thousands of people and monks gathered at the Pha That Luang esplanade in Xaysettha district, Vientiane, on Friday to attend the funeral of the President of the Lao Buddhist Fellowship Organisation, His Holiness Yathanyai Maha-Ngon Damrongboun. 
The traditional funeral was organised by the Lao Buddhist Fellowship Organisation, Lao Front for National Development and other groups to honour His Holiness Yathanyai Maha-Ngon Damrongboun, who died on March 24. He was the fifth president of the Lao Buddhist Fellowship Organisation.
The funeral was chaired by President Bounnhang Vorachit and Acting President of the Lao Buddhist Fellowship Organisation, His Holiness Yathanyai Maha-Bounma Simmaphom. The funeral took place three months after the venerated monk’s death so that members of the public could pay their respects before he was cremated.
The event included traditional rituals and a procession of people representing various groups.
The procession began at 1pm with the moving of the coffin to the cremation site on the esplanade, followed by various rituals before the cremation took place at 8pm.
After the funeral on Friday, an almsgiving for 108 monks took place on Sunday morning to dedicate merit to His Holiness Yathanyai Maha-Ngon Damrongboun, which was attended by a large number of people.
His Holiness Yathanyai Maha-Ngon Damrongboun was appointed as the 5th President of the Lao Buddhist Fellowship Organisation on December 17, 2015. In that capacity he was the leader of the monk body in Laos. He died at the age of 91 after passing through 71 periods of Buddhist Lent and was acknowledged as being the highest-ranking monk in Laos.
His Holiness Yathanyai Maha-Ngon Damrongboun was born on February 10, 1931, in Nakala village, Songkhon district, Savannakhet province.
He was ordained as a novice in 1944 at the age of 13 and became a monk on January 14, 1951.
He graduated from various schools where he received instruction in Dhamma and the Pali language and subsequently worked in various fields. From 1958-1975 he taught at a secondary school for monks in Savannakhet province and was also secretary to the provincial monk leader.
In 1975 he was appointed as a member of the Central Committee of the Lao Buddhist Fellowship Organisation.
From 1978-2007 he was head of the provincial monk educational office. He was appointed to the position of provincial monk leader, member of the Central Committee of the Lao Buddhist Fellowship Organisation, and member of the Central Committee of the Lao Front for National Construction in 2003.
In 2011 he was appointed Vice President of the Lao Buddhist Fellowship Organisation.


By Visith Teppalath
(Latest Update June 29, 2020)


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