Buddhists across Thailand continued to mourn the late Supreme Patriarch, who led the country's order of Buddhist monks for over two decades.

The Supreme Patriarch had been leading the Sangha Supreme Council, which oversees the country's Buddhist monks and novices of all sects. The council's job is to make sure monks follow Buddha's teachings and do not violate the rules set by the council.

Somdet Phra Nyanasamvara was appointed by His Majesty the King as the head of the Buddhist clergy in 1989, the 19th Supreme Patriarch since the beginning of the Chakri Dynasty. With 24 years in the role, His Holiness was the longest-reigning Supreme Patriarch.

Rising quickly through the ranks, Somdet Nyanasamvara was appointed guardian and advisor to His Majesty the King during his royal ordination under the name Phra Dhammavarabhorn in 1956. Five years later, Somdet Nyanasamvara was named abbot of Wat Bovoranives.

In 1972, he was given the title Somdet Phra Nyanasamvara. During his more than seventy years as a monk and novice, Somdet Nyanasamvara has held a variety of posts in the Thai ecclesiastic hierarchy. In these roles, he has always been concerned with promoting education, both religious and secular. He has assisted in the founding and construction of numerous schools, as well as sponsoring campaigns to build schools, temples, and hospitals in rural communities.

His Holiness was involved in the founding of Thailand's first Buddhist University, "Mahamakut Buddhist University", and for the first time initiated the Training Institute for Dhammaduta Bhikkhus Going Abroad. Somdet Nyanasamvara has been active in teaching to both non-Thais and the international Thai emigrant community. Non-Thais have also been encouraged to study Buddhism. Wat Bovoranives is known as one of several monasteries in Thailand where Westerners can study and ordain as full bhikkhu.

The Supreme Patriarch is the first senior monk who plays a vital role for the propagation of Buddhism overseas. He was the first to preside over the opening ceremony of the first Thai temple in Europe, Wat Buddhapadipa in London, the United Kingdom. To Australia, His Holiness brought Theravada Buddhism there for the first time by establishing Wat Buddharangsee Temple in Sydney.

As abbot of Wat Bovoranives, he oversaw the renovation and expansion of this famed century-old monastery. Long interested in the meditation techniques of the Thai forest monks, Somdet Nyanasamvara has helped make his temple residence a center for meditation study and instruction in Bangkok, himself delivering lectures on meditation and Buddhist teachings on two Uposatha days each month.

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