Elderly monk starts barefoot journey around Thailand to raise money for hospital

An elderly Buddhist monk set off at 5am today on a 3,145 kilometre journey around Thailand. The 73 year old monk will walk barefoot from his temple in Songkhla province, southern Thailand, all the way to Chiang Rai in northernmost Thailand and on to his hometown in Nakhon Phanom province in the northeast.

Luang Ta Bunchuen Panyawutho, of the Thai Forest Tradition, will walk through 24 provinces to raise money for the construction of Phon Sawan Hospital in Nakhon Phanom province. He expects the journey to take five to six months.

The monk goes on a long barefoot walk every year upon completion of the three-month Buddhist Rains Retreat. Last year, Luang Ta Bunchuen walked a distance of 1,500 kilometres, barefoot, from Phuket province to Nakhon Phanom province.

Governor of Songkhla Province Jesada Chitrat attended a ceremony at Wat Mahattamangkalaram in Hat Yai district yesterday to wish the monk good fortune on his arduous journey.

At the ceremony, Luang Ta Bunchuen briefly told reporters…

“We will start hiking tomorrow on the specified route. Buddhists can come and pay their respects and make offerings if they like. It’s raining a lot lately, but I am not afraid. The more rain the better.”

Monks at Mahatmamangalam Temple held a prayer ceremony for Luang Ta Bunchuen at 3.30am today before he left.

Luang Ta Bunchuen said that during the journey he will practice dhutanga, which are ascetic practices, in the footsteps of revered monk Ajahn Mun who established the Thai Forest Tradition.

The elderly monk is a former soldier and Vietnam War veteran. After the war, he started a family. Later in life, he studied the teachings of forest monk Ajahn Mun.

In 2009, he decided to ordain as a monk in the forest tradition to “find the truth.”

Last month, the Thai Army rescued a man walking from Songkhla to his home in Buriram province.

If you wish to donate to the monk’s cause, transfer your donation to Government Savings Bank account number 020-3984-57356.

The money will be used to construct the hospital and purchase medical equipment.

Thailand News


Leah is a translator and news writer for the Thaiger. Leah studied East Asian Religions and Thai Studies at the University of Leeds and Chiang Mai University. Leah covers crime, politics, environment, human rights, entertainment, travel and culture in Thailand and southeast Asia.

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