By The Nation
Somsak – who was among those to receive the honour of lighting the cremation fire at 10.15pm on Tuesday night – said the royally-sponsored cremation would be completed by 5am on Wednesday, after which the late monk’s ashes would be poured into a stainless steel box specially installed underneath the cremation chamber.
The steel box – padlocked and requiring four keys held by four entrusted persons to open – would be taken to Nong Khai where an 18-boat procession would perform a rite, scattering the late monk’s ashes onto the Mekong River at the “Phra That Klang Nam” religious site on Wednesday afternoon.
Somsak will attend that activity.
“I hope there will be no people fighting over collecting the water sprinkled with ashes and flowers after this ashes-scattering rite, because that could be dangerous. People should pay their respects and honour Luang Phor Koon to allow his ash be in the Mekong River, as he had asked in his will,” Somsak said.
Meanwhile, a huge crowd turned up to lay funeral flowers for Luang Phor Koon at Khon Kaen University (KKU)’s Golden Jubilee Convention Hall on Tuesday morning through noon.
The related merit-making ceremonies had been held in the morning for all the remains of 647 Khru Yai (people who donated their bodies for research) which included the late monk’s body. The 647 Khru Yai had being honored with Abhidhamma prayers at the Convention Hall since last Monday, and then the royally-sponsored cremations were arranged for 144 of the Khru Yai, including Luang Phor Koon.
In the near future, the Luang Phor Koon memorial site, a Bua Liam chedi, will be built atop the spot of his temporary crematorium, located at Buddhamonton Isan on the grounds of Wat Nong Waeng.
Luang Phor Koon, abbot of Wat Bai Rai in Nakhon Ratchasima’s Dan Khun Thot district, was one of the country’s most revered monks.
He died at age 92 on May 16, 2015 and, in accordance with his written will, his body was donated for medical research to KKU. He also requested that his body be cremated and the ashes scattered on the Mekong River at Nong Khai to avoid his mortal remains becoming a “burden to others”, to ensure no one took advantage of them, and to prevent conflict among his disciples.