His Majesty King Rama the Fourth Mongkut
His Majesty KING RAMA THE FOURTH MONGKUT
The centenary of the passing away of H.M. King MahaMongkut (Rama IV) falls this year on the first of October (B.E. 2511) according to the solar reckoning, or on the Day of Great Pavarana, the fifteenth of the waxing moon of the eleventh month according to the lunar reckoning, falling this year upon the sixth of October.
H.M. King Maha Mongkut was born on Thursday, the eighteenth of October,
B.E. 2347, the fourteenth day of the waxing moon in the eleventh month in the
Year of the Rat, which was the Day of Great Pavarana according to the method of
calculation (instituted by him) so that he passed away on the 1st
October 2411, the fifteenth of the waxing moon of the eleventh month in the Year
of the Horse, the very same day, that is, the Great Pavarana.
On this occasion when one hundred years have passed, H.M. the King out of
his kindness will perform the royal ceremony to dedicate merits to H.M. Maha
Mongkut who passed away one hundred years ago.
This time is also the centenary of the enthronement of H.M. King
Chulalongkorn who continued the royal lineage.
The history of H.M. King Maha Mongkut differs from the accounts of other
reigns because he was ordained as a bhikkhu for twenty-seven years and had
studied Buddhasasana and the Pali language of Magadhi.
He had an immense knowledge of the Pali Canon together with its
Commentaries and Sub-commentaries. In
Pali language he was an expert and through successive examinations became a
fifth-grade Pali scholar after which he ceased to sit for further examinations.
When he had studied Buddhasasana thoroughly, he began to reform, correct
and raise up Buddhist practice which at that time was faulty in many ways.
In his reform or restoration, there were various rules and observances
established by him. He composed
many subjects for chanting to be used in various ceremonies, such as the morning
and evening chanting, together with other chants to be used in accordance whit
strict bhikkhu practice. Sermons in
Thai language were preached by him instructing both the Sangha and the
householders disseminating the Buddha-word in the Tripitaka. He established Magha Puja day ( for the commemoration of the
first recitation of the Patimokkha ) which was later proclaimed a royal ceremony.
He made merit upon Magha Puja at Wat Phra Srisasdaaaram ( in the Grand
Palace ) in the same way as he was wont to practise upon Visakha Puja, which
latter day formerly was not celebrated at Wat Phra Srisasdaram.
He supported and promoted Buddhist study and practice according to the
Dhamma and Vinaya as truly taught and established by the Exalted Buddha.
This can be seen from the many proclamations issued by him in his time
but he neither used royal power to force people to practise this or that way
according to the various groups in the Sangha, nor compelled them as to their
religious faith generally. In fact, he gave his patronage to all religions.
His broadmindedness and love of knowledge without any trace of a narrow
mind were to be seen from the time of his ordination.
It has been well recorded that he made many contacts with people having
other faiths, studied sciences such as mathematics, astronomy and systems of
foreign government. Also, he
studied several foreign languages which were either used in books ( such as
Latin ) or else were spoken tongues. He
wandered as a dhutanga bhikkhu ( undertaking the austere practices ) to various
provinces where he found Phra Pathom Cedi ( the fist established Buddhist shrine
in Siam, at that time over-grown by jungle ), and inscriptions
upon stone which have become of great importance for the understanding of the Sukhothai kingdom. He knew well the life of the people in the remote areas from his own experience.
Since he knew about the government of foreign countries and their
conditions and various strengths, both of western and eastern nations, this led
him to understand their true internal state as well as their relationships.
Therefore, when he became king, he led the country in the way of safety
and prosperity. It may be said that
he was more far-sighted than other people of that time. Through his political
and administrative knowledge, he strengthened relationships with foreign
instead of enmity. His policy,
based upon a proper knowledge of causal factors, was elastic and maintained
successfully the freedom of the country. He
opened wide the door for progress in the modern sense, which began from his time.
Moreover, he gave many royal princes, competent and wise, both to
Buddhasasana and to the nation. I should like to mention only two.
To the akingdom, he gave H.M. King Chula Chom Klao (Chulalongkorn) and to
the Sasana he gave the Supreme Patriarch, H.R.H. Prince Vajirananavarorasa, both
of whom in concord established the nation and Sasana in the way of great
During this last hundred years, there has been progress in the
Buddhasasana, especially interest in study and practice of Dhamma by many people
in accordance with various Buddhist traditions, both in Siam and neighbouring
countries. This was an excellent
fruit springing form the cultivation of the Buddhasasana by the king and the
acceptance of it by the people, that is say, the cooperation of the Sangha and
the people going forward step by step to the present time.
The Venerable Mahathera who did much for this advancement and who was
praised by the people was the Supreme Patriarch H.R.H. Prince Vajirananavarorasa,
the son of H.M. King Maha Mongkut. He
organized Buddhist studies and Sangha administration, correcting many old
textbooks and composing new ones used for the study and practice of Buddhasasnan.
Thus he upheld the advancement of the Sasana begun by his father, so that
it spread all over the kingdom, being supported by the theras and junior
bhikkhus in the groups found in the sangha because the aim of each group is to
practise Dhamma. All Buddhist
followers, both bhikkhus and householders have benefitted from his advancement
of Buddhasasana for many years already, as they will continue to do in the
Again, H.M. King Chulalongkorn together with H.R.H. Prince
Vajirananavarorasa have established Mahamakuta-Rajavidyalaya for increasing the
fame (of their father) on the twenty-fifth anniversary of his death, being also
the twenty-fifth regnal year of H.M. King Chulalongkorn, by Royal Proclamation
on the first of October in the Buddhist Era 2436.
In this way the fifth monarch expressed his good wishes for the thorough
study of Buddhasasana. The Supreme
Patriach H.R.H. prince Vajirananavarorasa followed up these wishes by
establishing Mahamakuta with these three purposes:
For the study of Buddhasasana by the Sangha,
For the study of knowledge relating to the land of birth (Siam) and of
For the study by ordinary people of Buddhasasana.
(Mahamakuta Foundation was registered under Royal Patronage upon the fifth of March, B.E. 2476. In brief, the aim of this Foundation is to receive assets (such as money, land etc.) and the right over those assets and to organize for the best advantage, support and subsidy for thorough study of Dhamma, including its dissemination.)
According to the aim of H.M. King Chulalongkorn, the Supreme Patriarch
Prince Vajirananavamsa established the Education Council of
Mahamakuta-Rajavidyalaya on the 30th of December, 2488
Gana Dhammayut, and Mahamakut (under Royal Patronage ) considering the
great virtues of H.M.King Maha Mongkut have examined ways to celebrate this
centenary for the increase of his fame and for dedication of merits to him, and
have decided upon the following:
1) To publish several
collections of his royal writings which exist in great numbers scattered here
and there, both in Pali and in Thai languages, especially relating to Siladhamma
(ethics), History, Archaeology and Buddhasasana.
2) In the commemoration of
this centenary there will be lectures and exhibition about his personal
possessions, documents, the fruits of his work, the Buddhist architecture of the
places designed by him, as well as a contest in essay-writing at
Mahamakuta-Rajavidyalaya in Wat Bovoranives Vihara from the 1st to
the 7th of October.
3) On the sixth of October,
2511, which is the day of Maha Pavarana, one hundred years being
completeaccording to the lunar reckoning, there will be a dedication of merits
to H.M. King Maha Mongkut in the Uposatha temple of Wat Bovoranives Vihara.
4) On that same day
throughout the country, all Dhammayut wats will hold services for chanting,
dedicating the merits to H.M.King Maha Mongkut.
5) Medallions will be issued
for this commemoration, the obverse being a likeness from a photograph of the
royal statue made in the last year of H.M.King Maha Mongkut’s reign, while the
reverse has his seal with the Royal Monogram.
6) To establish a Foundation
for making merits for him.
On 1st of October at 10.00 a.m, Their Majesties the King and
Queen will arrive at Wat Bovoranives Vihara and enter the Uposatha Temple on the
occasion for the dedication of merits to H.M. King Maha Mongkut, made by the
Royal Family and the Noble descendents of the Fourth King, this being the
auspicious occasion for the opening of the centenary celebration from the time
of his passing.
At 10.30 a.m, Their Majesties the King and Queen will arrive at Wat
Benjamabopitr and enter the Uposatha Temple on the occasion of merit dedicated
by the Government to H.M. King Chlalongkorn, it being the auspicious occasion of
the centenary of his enthronement.
All merits made by Gana Dhammayut
and Mahamakuta Rajavidyalaya, whether performed on this occaion or in the past,
we wish humbly to offer to H.M. King Maha Mongkut and to H.M. King
Chulalongkorn. May they learn of
this and rejoicing accept them. May they protect the reigning Monarch, the Royal
Family, the nation and Buddhasasana, both the Sangha and the Thai people.
According to the verses written by H.M. King Maha Mongkut:
means, translated into English)
One From defilemets, Perfectly Enlightened by himself and attained to the
highest Dhamma, caused the Great Sangha to be Enlightened, this being called the
(meaing) By this asseveration of truth, may there be well-being for
(meaning) This fruit of the heart having confidence in the Triple Gem,
may it be fulfilled, be fulfilled, be fulfilled!
The Supreme Patriarch Ariyavamsagatanana
Mahamakuta Rajavidyalaya Foundation
Under Royal Patronage
241 Phra Sumeru Rd, Bangkok 10200
Tel. (66) 02-6291417 , 2811085 Fax. (66) 02-6294015