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Cuban Vice-President visits Bangkok [23.06.2013]

The First Vice-president of Cuba, Miguel Diaz-Canel, paid a brief visit to Bangkok on his return to Cuba after concluding an official tour that took him previously to several nations of Southeast Asia, namely China, Vietnam and Laos. The Cuban dignitary was accompanied by Division Gral. Andollo Valdés, Cuban Vice Foreign Minister Rogelio Sierra, and Manuel Alomá, Chef de Cabinet of the Vice-president.

Of particular relevance was the visit to the Wat Pho, or Temple of the Reclining Buddha, the greatest, oldest and most famous Buddhist sanctuary of the country, due to it being the host of the longest reclining Buddha in the world - 43 mts. long and 15 mts height - cradle of the traditional Thai massage, and first religious university of the nation.

The distinguished guest was received at the monastery in a remarkably friendly way by the Head Monk of the institution, Chaokun Suthee Thammamuwat, who pointed out that amongst the personalities that had visited the temple, the Cuban Vice-president was the first of its rank that he had received, at the time that, in a humorous comparison with other dignitaries, including American President Barack Obama, the high Buddhist monk predicted that the fact that the distinguished visitor had been able to stand in front of the most sacred part of the reclining Buddha, his feet, bode a politically splendor future, as much for him as for the Cuban people.

At the end of the visit, the Head Monk flattered the Cuban Vice-president with a beautiful collection of books that depicted the history and peculiarities of the temple, and requested him to sign the registry of visitors, in which the Vice-president engraved, for the history of the relations between Cuba and Thailand, his satisfaction with the visit, the deep impression caused by the Wat Pho, and the care received by the Head Monk and his collaborators.

Source: http://www.cubadiplomatica.cu/tailandia/EN/BilateralRelations/tabid/21393/ctl/Details/mid/32776/ItemID/30028/Default.aspx

วันที่ 28/12/2561

Wat Pho, Obama's first stop [18.11.2012]

The temple of Reclining Buddha, formally known as Wat Pho, was the first stop on President Barack Obama’s Asian tour in 2013. Obama arrived at the temple, one of Bangkok’s most famous tourist sites, straight from the airport after landing in Bangkok on Sunday November 18, 2013. Followed by visit to see the king and the Thai Prime minister.

Observing traditional custom, Obama took off his shoes as a saffron-robed monk led him and Secretary of State Hilary Clinton inside the Vihara of Reclining Buddha and through the 18 Century temple’s stone paved compound of multi-colored spires and chapels with hundreds of gilded Buddha images.  

Why Wat Pho?

Right next to the equally famous Grand Palace, Wat Pho’s main attraction is the reclining Buddha statue. The sole 46-meter-long statue’s feet are inlaid with mother-of-pearl depicting of 108 auspicious sign of the Buddha, while the statue itself is covered in gold leaf. Wat Pho is also home to a highly respected massage school, where Thai masseuse has trained since 1955. Visitors can drop in for a full traditional Thai massage or enroll in short or long-term courses. Unfortunately, neither Obama nor Clinton received a rubdown.

Clinton asked the monk why there was a Reclining Buddha Statue and she was told that it was a symbol of peace and success. The monk confirmed her believes and told Obama that if he would to be re-elected for the third term, he would win the election because he has paid homage to the reclining Buddha. Obama said he did not want to be re-elected for another term, as he want to take care of his family and pointed to Mrs. Clinton and said she would be the next president. All burst out in laughter.

After that both were introduced to the 96-year-old abbot of the temple, Phra Thammapanyabodi. Obama smile when he was told that he would live longer than 100 years because he had a chance to “wai”, a traditional way for Thai people to greet each other, a senior man with extra longevity like the abbot. The US president smiled even broader when the assistant abbot told him that he was like Bodhisattva as he was not just President of The United State but to the whole world.

Obama noted that he was interested in Buddhism and asked the assistant abbot why he had ordained to be a monk. The monk told The President it was not compulsory but in the last 50 years ago, children did not have a lot of opportunity to get a proper education and the only chance was to study while being a monk.

The temple tour marked by humour, respect, interest in Buddhism and before his departure, he gave three glasses in a box as a gift from the White House to the temple and signed a guest book at the temple.

วันที่ 28/12/2561

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