Boys rescued from Thai cave ordained at Buddhist temple
The youngsters became Buddhist novices, while their coach was ordained as a monk.
The young footballers and their coach who were rescued after being trapped in a cave in northern Thailand have been ordained at a Buddhist temple to show thanks for being brought to safety.
The 11 boys, aged 11-to-16, became Buddhist novices in the ceremony, while their 25-year-old coach was ordained as a monk.
One of the 12 boys did not participate because he is not Buddhist.
The group from the Wild Boars team prepared for their ordinations on Tuesday with ceremonies that included shaving their heads.
Buddhist males in Thailand are traditionally expected to enter the monkhood at some point in their lives.
This is done to show gratitude, often toward their parents for raising them. It is believed that once a person is ordained they gain merit that is also extended to their parents.
A major reason for the boys to make the gesture was to give thanks for the former Thai navy SEAL who died while taking part in the operation to rescue them.
The ordainment ceremony took place at a mountaintop temple in Chiang Rai province, where the group will stay for just over a week.
Praphun Khomjoi, chief of the regional branch of the National Office of Buddhism, said the boys were dedicating the act of entering the monkhood to Saman Gunan, who died while diving during a mission to supply the cave with oxygen tanks essential to helping the boys escape.
Mr Praphun said: “The teachings that we would like to the boys to learn is the awareness of themselves and the importance of their lives.
“It is extraordinary to be born as humans. And as we are given this opportunity, we should use Buddhist principles or principles of any religions as guidance for living. That’s the lesson that we want them to learn.”
Guests included Mr Saman’s family and a doctor who accompanied the team inside cave for nine days while waiting for the divers to bring them out.
The 12 boys and their coach were released from hospital last week.
They became trapped on June 23 and were finally found by two British divers on July 2.
They were brought out of the cave in a daring rescue mission that ended on July 10. Doctors say their basic health is good.