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Monk vows to continue meditation and fast until peace returns; now on 21st day

AS THE VIOLENCE intensifies in the days leading up to Sunday's controversial election, a Buddhist monk has made a pledge to meditate and pray continuously without eating or sleeping until peace has been restored to the country.

The Venerable Luang Phor Dee Suwattano said "peace" meant when everything had returned to normal and there was no more political violence in Thailand.

Luang Phor Dee, 57, has been meditating since January 11, and today is the 21st day. Existing solely on water and tea, he has slowly grown weak, and fell ill on January 20.

When the monk became sick, his disciples asked him to drink fruit juice for nourishment so he could continue his meditation.

He is now drinking juice to sustain himself, but he is determined that he will not stop fasting until his goal is achieved.

In a weak and quiet voice, he explained: "Thailand is approaching a dangerous turn, which is the result of everyone forgetting their duties. Everyone should know their duties, particularly the governing bodies, but also the people.

"The government should forget its lust for power and turn to helping its citizens, and the people should vote for true, honest governments."

He also emphasised that he was not fasting in opposition to any particular political group.

"I'm not here to protest against specific people, but I am meditating so that I can make merit for the country and eliminate bad things from Thailand."

Luang Phor Dee is the founder of the Buddhapatana meditation centre in Sa Kaew province. He has been a monk for 12 years.

Danai Chanchaochai, 48, chief executive officer at DC Consultants and Marketing Communication, invited the monk to meditate in the dharma hall at his company's office on the 22nd floor of Amarin Plaza near Chitlom Skytrain station.

Danai said Luang Phor Dee had already been fasting and meditating at a small shrine in Bangkok's Lat Phrao district for 10 days before he heard about him. So he invited the monk to continue his activity in central Bangkok so more people will be aware of Luangpor Dee's pledge, and so Danai could personally look after Luangpor Dee's health.

Danai once spent a whole night meditating with the monk. "Luangpor Dee sat upright in the lotus position the entire time, staying as still as a wax figure," he said.


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