11 July 2024

The Thai Supreme Patriarch discussed a few historical artefacts, kept at Ratchabophit Temple and which pertain to Thai-US relations, during a visit by US Vice President Kamala Harris to the Royal temple yesterday (Saturday).

The vice president was personally received by the Supreme Patriarch and they had an informal conversation in the main chapel.

The Office of the Supreme Patriarch said in a Facebook post today that the Supreme Patriarch informed the vice president of the significance of the main chapel.

The Supreme Patriarch said the Phra Buddha Angkhiros, the principal Buddha figure in the main chapel, is the symbol of the Lord Buddha, who found and declared to humankind the Path towards peace and the undoing of the sufferings of human beings.

The base of Phra Buddha Angkhiros contains the ashes of King Rama VI, who visited the United States during the President Wilson administration to establish relations between Thailand and the US, which has strengthened over the decades since and led to Royal visits to the US of Thai Monarchs, among them King Rama VII and Queen Rambhai Barni, during the administration of President Hoover, and the late King Bhumibol Adulyadej, who was born in Massachusetts in the US.

The ashes of these Thai kings and some other members of the Royal Family are interred in the main chapel, said the Office of the Secretary of the Supreme Patriarch.

These historical anecdotes and artefacts reflect the roots and structure of the relations between the peoples of the two countries, who are bound together with a mutual understanding of freedom of expression, belief and religious faith, the Supreme Patriarch was quoted to have told Mrs. Harris.

The Supreme Patriarch also showed Vice President Harris a proverb in the Pali language, inscribed above the door of the main chapel at the order of King Chulalongkorn. The proverb translates as “the unity of the people of all diverse groups will bring about prosperity and success.”

The Supreme Patriarch said he would like to present the inspiring proverb as a gift, to promote and enhance the relations between Thailand, the US and the world.

The US vice president reportedly said she felt honoured to visit the temple and to view its artistic works, adding that it was her intention to visit the temple because of her interest in religion and culture, in the belief that the study of cultural diversity helps to promote mutual understanding and a recognition that people can co-exist peacefully, despite their differences.