A group of people will be ordained as monks and novices in a mass ordination program in celebration of Her Royal Highness Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn’s 60th birthday anniversary, 2 April 2015.
The ordination participants include Buddhist Thais, comprising officials, business people, students, and members of the public in Thailand and India, as well as a number of Indian Buddhists.
The mass ordination, under the “Bodh Gaya Ordination Program,” will take place from 28 February to 8 March 2015 in India and Nepal. Her Royal Highness Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn on 19 February 2015 granted an audience to participants in the Bodh Gaya Ordination Program and members of the organizing committee of the program at Chaipattana Building, Chitralada Palace, in Bangkok.
The program is a result of joint cooperation from four organizations, namely the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Office of the Permanent Secretary of the Prime Minister’s Office, the National Office of Buddhism, and the Office of Thai Buddhist Missionaries in India and Nepal. It aims to dedicate the acts of merit-making to Her Royal Highness, preserve Buddhism in Thailand and India, and strengthen Thai-Indian people-to-people relations. Apart from the ordination, the program will also donate basic necessities and learning materials to local communities along the Buddhist pilgrimage route.
According to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the ordination ceremony will be held under the sacred Bodhi Tree and at Thai Buddhagaya Temple in Bihar, India. Thereafter, the group of about 150 Thai monks, novices, and pilgrims will be making a pilgrimage (or yatra) from Bodh Gaya to Kushinagar, passing through Rajgir, Nalanda, Varanasi, Sarnath in India and Lumbini in Nepal.
The Cabinet, during its meeting on 27 January 2015, approved the proposal by the National Office of Buddhism for mass ordinations, to be held in Bangkok and the provinces from February to April 2015 in commemoration of Her Royal Highness Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn’s 5th cycle, or 60th, birthday anniversary.
The objective is to provide people with the opportunity to participate in performing good deeds and practicing Dhamma as a tribute to Her Royal Highness on this special occasion. Government officials and employees are allowed a fully paid leave to join the mass ordination project for a period of 15 days between February and April 2015. They have been urged to serve as models to encourage people to perform merit-making, as this project promotes and develops virtue and morality.
The Thai government has set the period from 1 January to 31 December 2015 as the period for the celebrations of Her Royal Highness’s 60th birthday anniversary.