A Thai Temple Visit With A Surprise

Thai Temple Passport Surprise

Wat Paknam Bhasicharoen, Bangkok, March 2023

In Bangkok there is a Big Buddha temple – no, I don’t mean the giant reclining Buddha at Wat Pho. The one I am talking about is the Big Buddha of Wat Paknam Bhasicharoen, a sitting Buddha. As I never visited this temple, I decided to do so at early morning time when the weather was not that hot. I arrived at the temple before 8 am and it’s a beautiful and peaceful place. The temple was established in 1610, and is more than 400 years old. The huge sitting golden Buddha was finished just mid 2021. Thai Temple Passport Surprise

On the exhibition floors in a temple you don’t expect to find old passports. But here it’s differently. The standard and official Thai passports belonged to the former Abbot of this temple – Somdet Phra Maha Ratchamanagalacharn, aka Somdet Chuang. In 2013 he became the acting Surpreme Patriach. He died in 2016 at the age of 96. Thai Temple Passport Surprise

A rare insight of a passport set of a high ranking Thai Abbot/Monk, who traveled the world and met also with Pope John Paul II in the early 1980s.

P.S. I had a great chat at the temple with a monk, who lives there for 17 years and a nun, who stayed there for 22 years. Both spoke very good English and it was a pleasure to learn from them about the temple, abbot and the passports.

Fun fact: Although they have both lived there for a very long time, they told me that they met and talked for the first time that day. Amazing! Thai Temple Visit Surprise

Read more about the temple and the abbot and make sure to visit the temple when in Bangkok.

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