Thailand cave survivors will be ordained as Buddhist novices and monks


MAE SAI, Thailand — The young soccer teammates and their coach who were rescued after being trapped in a cave in northern Thailand took part in a Buddhist ceremony Tuesday as they prepared to be ordained to become Buddhist novices and monks.

Eleven of the boys and their coach prayed to ancient relics and offered drinks and desserts placed in gilded bowls to spirits in a ceremony at a Buddhist temple.

The boys, whose ages range from 11 to 16, will become Buddhist novices in a ceremony on Wednesday, while the 25-year-old coach will be ordained as a monk, said Parchon Pratsakul, the governor of Chiang Rai province. The 12th team member who was trapped in the cave won’t take part because he isn’t Buddhist.



It’s not that unusual (in fact, it’s kind of the norm) for young Thai men to become monks for a period of time at some point in their lives, usually when they’re young.

It’s not like becoming a monk in the Catholic world – it’s not expected that anyone make a life-long commitment.

It’s quite likely that some, even most or all, of these boys would have become monks anyway.


Actually, they plan to spend their lives as monks in the Monastery

They claim that Buddhist meditation and prayers their coach taught them while they were still in the caves, saved them…

Did God listen to Buddhist Prayers ?



I didn’t know this. Thanks for explaining. Do you know how long typically they spend their time as monks?


Certainly I have to agree that those meditations calmed them down and enabled them to have a greater chance of surviving. This part I have to agree. (Just imagine 12 boys in panic…the coach did a wonderful job in this respect)


Not well. I spent a fair amount of time in Thailand, but I wasn’t that in touch with the religious culture. My impression was that it could vary from a few weeks to around six months. Obviously some will remain for the rest of their lives, but for most, it’s a step in their lives (interesting thought – it might not be such a bad thing if it were a life milestone for young Catholic men, too). But I’m far from an expert. Very far.


Now that’s a good thought!!! What a great idea!!!


Well most men who enter Catholic Monasteries stay.

The Trappists monastery I visit, 1 out of 10 will stay more than a year.

It’s a calling which not everyone is up to.



If I were a single, childless man, I’m at a point in my life, and my religious life (my “faith journey,” I guess, even though I don’t like that term) where I would probably do this.

But I’m not.


My own belief is that God hears all prayers. Not claiming that that’s official teaching or anything, but I firmly believe that it’s true.


I use to think this way about myself

However, eventually I grew past it and realized it was not the life I was called toward and never would be.

Accept and be grateful for the life called me toward is the blessing.



Oh, agreed, and I am beyond grateful (to God and my wife) for my family and my children.

Just saying that if I were single and had the option, I might well choose to spend a year in a monastery.


Monks often think that had they done it over, they would’ve found a woman to marry and make a family.

This thought becomes stronger for them, especially when they hit age 40 and last often into their middle 50’s.



We often romanticise what it would be like to be a monk

It’s very difficult and doubts become stronger as the years past.



Sure, I’m not surprised.

I’m not looking at the monastic life as an alternative to my life. This isn’t a “grass is greener” situation for me.

I’m just looking at the Thai Buddhist tradition of men spending a period of time in contemplation in a monastery and thinking that Catholics could benefit from such a custom too.


The Thai boys are planning a vocation in the monastery

Anyway, it’s great to make a retreat at a monastery once in a while.

I’m about due to go to the Trappist monastery on retreat again.

I use to go every year, but haven’t for the past four years



If you talk to Thai’s the women will tell you that men who have not spent some time in a monastery in their youth in Thailand are often regarded as a bad marriage choice unless they had some very serious reason to miss out on doing so.


God listens to all men and women who pray to him with goodwill I should think.


My understand of Church teaching is that:
God is omniscient (so he Knows everything not just our prayers but every single thought of everyone)
God loves everyone so He takes an interest in every single person.


And sometimes men who married, wish they had chosen a life of celibacy instead;).

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