An Eulogy for Phra Maha Oath Manathat

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 An eulogy for Phra Maha Oath Manathat

By Akkarakit Panijayanon

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Maha Oath and I were schoolmates but we were not so close during our schooldays because we had never studied in the same class throughout the 12 schooling years. I just knew about him from one of his close friends.

There was another similarity of our lives before our ordination as monks. He was a successful businessman but a heavy drinker and he was also an adventurous man who loved entertainment like me. We were also failures in love affairs which is another similarity.

He had only wanted to be ordained as a novice monk for 15 days but actually ended up in robes for 15 years; quite similar to me as I had planned to be a novice monk for 32 days but finally donned the robes for almost 10 years. 

No matter what we used to be before the ordination but when we are in the robes, we follow the same Path: to be the sons of the Lord Buddha, to practise giving, keeping the silas and firmly practising bhavana.

 

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He and I had the same attitude about adventurous trips to help the Karen people but with a slightly different approach: I just wanted to go to donate alone with minimal coordination but he had a bigger heart as he would bring a convoy of 4WD pick-up trucks to the tribal villages.

Besides helping the Karens, Phra Maha Oath was responsible for bigger projects. He was the assistant abbot of Wat Pu KaoThong in Phra Nakornsri Ayuttaya province, and he was responsible for reorganizing this historical temple to be more modern, useful and accessible to the younger generation with the campaign “Baan (home) Wat (temple) Rong-rien (school)” so as to make the temple become one of the ten models of contemporary temples throughout the country.

The abbot said that losing him was like losing his right arm; he handled almost all of the work in the temple.

 

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Although he had a back-breaking burden in the temple and a fragile health, in January this year, he still went to visit Bhante Huat in the jungles of Tak province. He was quite ill then as he had to bring along 2 cylinders of oxygen and a 24-hour operating generator for his respiratory-aided machine.

This shows his commitment in helping the Karens and his support for Bhante Huat’s Dhammadutta work among them.

 

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After he returned to Ayuthaya, he conducted a PhaPaa ceremony organised by his alumni. After working for the Lord Buddha for some time, Phra Maha Oath could not withstand it anymore.

He was admitted to the Chulalongkorn hospital to wait for a lung transplant operation in case there was a lung donor. Unfortunately after waiting for a few months, there was no lung donor and finally he passed away.

However, his close friend said at the time when she decided to quit from writing his biography, there was a strong smell of flowers in the air (it was as if Phra Maha Oath had come to tell her to keep on organizing his biography).

 

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That is generally regarded as a deva’s fragrance which Is believed that now he is in a happy state. During the last seconds when the being is leaving the body, most people experience tremendous pain and thus resulting in an unclear mind, that’s why most of them go down to the woeful realms.

Maha Oath was exceptionally at case, he still had a clear mind until his last breath no matter how painful it was.

His life had ended but his legacy is alive; his journey is still progressing like the spinning of a yarn that goes on and on when the next generation’s wheels continue to turn and head towards the Karen villages. 



May you attain the ultimate Peace, Maha Oath 



8:20pm July 6, 2018

Editor's notes:



1. Mr Akkarakit Panijayanon and Phra Maha Oath Manathat were two strong supporters of Bhante Huat Upasanto from the Thai Sangha who had helped Bhante a lot in his Dhammadutta work among the Karens in Mae Hong Son and Tak provinces.

2. Phra Maha Oath's Pali name is Sumano, Oath is his nickname given by his father and Manathat is his family name. He told me that when he was born, Oat was a common nickname so his father changed it to "Oath" . His father told him that Oath is his parents' promise to keep their love for him forever.

 

 

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