LUANG PHOR KOON PARISUTTHO, one of the country's most revered monks, passed away yesterday after a long history of illness.
Maharat Nakhon Ratchasima Hospital, where he was admitted on Friday after his heart stopped, announced that the monk was pronounced dead at about 11.45am.
A former abbot of Nakhon Ratchasima’s Wat Ban Rai, Luang Phor Koon donated his body to Khon Kaen University’s Faculty of Medicine for dissection by medical students, according to his will.
The will, which was made in June 2000 when the monk was 77 years old, stated that the university should hold a religious ceremony for his body at the faculty for seven days, after which his body should be used for dissection study by medical students.
According to his will, Luang Phor Koon wanted his funeral to be held in a simple way and the remains after the dissection study to be cremated in the same way as those of other body donors.
The monk’s last wish was for his ashes to be scattered in the Mekong River, in the section that passes the northeastern province of Nong Khai.
At Khon Kaen University yesterday, preparations were made to accept Luang Phor Koon’s body and to hold a religious ceremony.
The monk’s body is to be placed today at Kanchanaphisek Auditorium at the university, where a religious ceremony for him will be held, Khon Kaen University rector Assoc Prof Kittichai Trairattanasirichai said.
Assoc Prof Pipatpong Kanla, deputy dean of Khon Kaen University’s Faculty of Medicine, said the monk’s last wishes in his will would be strictly followed.
Assoc Prof Apichart Jirawuthipong, director of the university’s Srinakarin Hospital, said that Luang Phor Koon’s body would be used in a study by medical students for two years, as requested by the monk.
“His remains will be cremated in a ceremony along with those of other body donors. And his ashes will be released in the Mekong River,” he said.
Some followers of Luang Phor Koon said yesterday they wanted a religious ceremony to be organised at his Ban Rai Temple first before the monk’s will was followed.
Earlier yesterday, Maharat Nakhon Ratchasima Hospital director Dr Som-aj Tangcharoen said the monk’s condition worsened and his pulse became unstable.
The monk developed gastrointestinal bleeding and his kidney stopped working, according to a statement released by the hospital yesterday before the monk died.
Luang Phor Koon was born on October 4, 1923, in Nakhon Ratchasima’s Dan Khun Thot district to a family of farmers.
His parents died when he and his two siblings were young. They were raised by a maternal aunt. He was ordained as a Buddhist monk in May 1944.
In 2000, he underwent heart bypass surgery after suffering heart disease. Four years later, he was admitted to hospital with a brain haemorrhage.
The monk, in 2009, was treated for an infection in his veins. And in 2011 he suffered tuberculosis and had to stay in hospital for more than four months. Two years ago, he was treated for infections in his urinary tract and lung.