The death of their beloved King Bhumibol Adulyadej has put the entire country of Thailand into mourning, a sentiment that is shared by many around the world.
At the Wat Thai Temple in North Hollywood, Los Angeles, members of the community have been gathering to join together in mutual prayer and celebration of the King’s life.
Preparations were underway yesterday for ceremonies beginning early morning on Sunday, October 16th at the temple on 8225 Coldwater Canyon Avenue.
Worshipers came from hours away to pay their respects to the King, who was much loved by his people, not just for his statesmanship, but also for his work with the “common folk.” He spent over 70 years devoting his life to Thailand. Many gathered at Wat Thai spoke of his pilgrimages on foot to the top of mountains to help design water systems where none had existed before and his work with Opium traders in the valleys that gave them new professions and transformed them into working citizens. His heart, courage and devotion changed the face of the country. Thailand will be in mourning for many months and the King’s son has stated that he will not take over the Monarchy for at least a year while he, his family and the people have time to mourn.
Inside the temple, ,Raymond King and his two children, Justin (5) and Kristen (3) kneeled in front of the offerings to Buddha.
Michelle Dongird said she drove three hours from Santa Maria to pay respect to the King.
And groups of old and new friends sat at tables in the food court, enjoying each other’s company and finding solace in their friendship in this time of sadness. Dee Thisathain, Virat Temsongsai, Chucky Charoonroj and John Trakoolthai have known each other for many years and can often be found on the Temple grouds drinking coffee and enjoying traditional food under the green canopy. Mr. Thisathain said that although he is retired and living in the United States now, he became a monk over 60 years ago when he was inspired by his faith and the King.
At the entrance to the temple, monks in bright orange robes were busy building platforms, draping pictures of the King and preparing for the visitors expected on Sunday. Over 800 worshipers had participated in chanting and prayer on Saturday and more would be coming today.
The official website for Wat Thai can be found HERE.