Thais start marathon reading of Buddhist teachings to honour king

Asia World, Oct 16, 2007

Bangkok, Thailand -- Thai monks and other citizens have started a marathon reading of the earliest Buddhist teachings, the Tripitaka, that will run 24-hours-a-day for 57 days, local media reported Tuesday.

The round-the-clock marathon reading is in honour of King Bhumibol Adulyadej, who turns 80 in December, the English-language The Nation newspaper reported.

More than 1,000 monks and lay people will take part in the reading of all 45 volumes of the Pali text of the Tripitaka, which is the earliest collection of Buddhist teachers dating back about 2,250 years.

"We have organised this public reading of the Tripitaka to encourage the Thai people to take part in making merit for His Majestry the King," permanent secretary of the Education Ministry Veera Rojpajanarat told The Nation.

Thailand is more than 80 per cent Buddhist.

Meanwhile, King Bhumibol continued to improve after being hospitalized over the weekend, the Bureau of the Royal Household reported in a statement.

He was admitted to Siriraj Hospital on Saturday after suffering weakness in the right side of his body that was later diagnosed as a result of inadequate blood flow to the cerebral cortex.