Thai cave boys to be ordained in Buddhist ceremony

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Some of the 12 Thai boys bow before novice Buddhist monks during a religious ceremony at a temple in Chiang Rai on July 19, 2018. AFP

MAE SAI (AFP) – Most members of the Thai youth football team rescued from a flooded cave will have their heads shaved, don robes and be ordained in a Buddhist ceremony this week, officials said Sunday.

The “Wild Boars” are enjoying their first few days home after being discharged from hospital and speaking to the media about their harrowing ordeal inside the Tham Luang cave near the Myanmar border.

The 12 boys, aged 11 to 16, and their coach went into the cave complex on June 23 after practice and were trapped by floods from monsoon rains.

All made a speedy and surprising recovery after a week in hospital, and on their first day out they prayed for good fortune in a traditional ceremony and mourned a former Thai navy SEAL who died during the rescue efforts.

Now they will go a step further and spend time living in a monastery before returning to normal life, a common practice in Buddhist-majority countries like Thailand.

“They will ordain for nine days,” Prachon Pratsakul, the Chaing Rai governor, told reporters in a briefing at the Mae Sai district office.

“The 11 boys will be ordained as novices while the coach will be ordained as a monk,”he said, referring to Ekkapol Chantawong, who has already been in the monkhood.and herlped to keep the boys calm inside the cave. Praphun Khomjoi, Chiang Rai’s Buddhist office chief, said the boys will have their heads shaved today and attend a robe ceremony.

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