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On May 30, Dr Sumet Tantivejkul, Secretary-General of the Chaipattana Foundation, was a keynote speaker on ‘Monarchy and Buddhism’ in a workshop of the Project of Reconciliation for National Security and Buddhism at Buddhamonthon, Nakhon Pathom, speaking to an audience of 50 monks and 150 people.
Sumet said that His Majesty the King was a true Buddhist and patron of religion, while in society these days people were Buddhists in form only.  They kowtow to monks and ask for hints about lottery numbers, ignorant of the core of Dhamma and immersed in passions and desires all day long. 
He wondered whether this was due to modern time, as currently the entire world was dominated by passions and desires.  The root cause is capitalism, which is a system of greed, always persuading people to consume and desire all the time.  Humans have consumed the earth to the point of near depletion. The world population is about 6,700 million, and all are devouring the earth. The earth is doomed.
‘Since the very first day His Majesty ascended the throne, over 60 years now, he has tried to warn [the people], and has done everything to give examples, but is there anyone following him?  Society is still plagued with hunger for power, craving for money, and corruption nowadays,’ said Sumet.
He said that, as a Buddhist, His Majesty earnestly practiced Dhamma, and had a very deep understanding of Buddhism.  HM mentioned ordination as a good deed, giving the example of himself.  When he decided to enter the monkhood, he went to tell the Queen Mother that he would be ordained for her, and that made the Queen Mother very happy.  HM said, ‘Mother was very happy.  When she realized that I would be ordained, she came to me and gave a big hug.  And she smiled in a way she had never done for a long time.  Ever since that time, she always smiled.’  It was well-known that the Queen Mother had been sorrowful and worn an unsmiling face since King Ananda’s death, said Sumet.
In terms of government, HM has used the principle of governance all through his 60-odd year reign, while farangs [westerners] were introduced to the principle just 10 years or so ago, and the Thai people just came to appreciate it because Thai people are crazy for farangs.  They do not appreciate things that are good and near to them, said Sumet.
‘The Thotsapitratchatham [the ten Buddhist kingly precepts] is a principle everybody can follow.  It includes Dāna (charity) which is to give without expecting anything in return, Sila (morality).  Just the five precepts for lay people would suffice because they are universal in all religions, but nowadays turning on the television, we can see that even the five precepts are not followed.  They lie without shame.  I don’t want to give specific names.  I don’t want to bother.  So this practice can’t be avoided.  If you’re human, you have to adhere to it.  If not, you’re not human.  [The 10 Buddhist kingly precepts also include] Pariccāga (altruism), which is to sacrifice personal interests for the common good, so that no enemies, however great or powerful, can disunite the Thai people.  Whether the Thai people are united or not depends on their fellow Thais.  Did Ayutthaya collapse each time because of the enemy?’ said Sumet.
Recently Sumet visited Russia, the original communist country that used to be ruled by a monarchy.
‘Now the Russians are yearning for a king, missing Tsar Nicholas II, but, not knowing what to do, they have brought the ashes of Tsar Nicholas to be placed at the royal chapel, canonizing him a saint, which is too late as they have already destroyed what they now need the most.  We have much more than a saint, who has practiced for over 60 years.  Some saints had obscure accomplishments.  This is 60 years, but we do not cherish what we have.  When the day comes, we will be sorry.  I want you to think,’ said Sumet.
As for Ājjava (honesty) among the ten kingly virtues, HM has said that he curses anyone who is corrupt in even the slightest way for bad karma.  He repeated that three times, showing that it was intolerable to him, as currently corruption is sooutrageously rampant, said Sumet.
As for Akkoda (non-anger), people of high stature or administrators cannot allow themselves a temper.
‘His Majesty has never got angry.  He sometimes probably was discontented, but never angry, because anger never makes things better.  It makes a society as it is now.  Next month, they will do it again.  They’re not exhausted yet. So annoying!,’ he said.
Sumet said the goal of HM’s hard work was democracy.  HM has said ‘the reason for his hard work today is that the people are still poor.  Being poor, they have no liberty and freedom.  Without liberty and freedom, they cannot achieve democracy.’  HM’s goal is democracy, which everybody is now talking about without much understanding.  They just understand that democracy means elections, but it is much deeper than that.  Democracy will exist only when the people’s stomachs are full.  Only with full stomachs will they enjoy liberty and freedom.  As long as they are hungry, 500 or 1,000 baht just come and go, but democracy will never emerge.  HM has never used the word ‘wealth’, but only ‘usefulness’, ‘growth’, and ‘happiness’, said Sumet.
In his final note, Sumet stressed the King’s speech, which not many people remember, on the occasion of his 60th year on the throne.  The Thai people always wanted to see the King, but never looked at him, and Thai people always wanted to hear the King, but never listened to him.  Therefore, the Thai people have never remembered anything.
If everybody can practice the four principles: thinking, speaking, and doing good for each other; helping each other; being honest; and allowing differing views which are righteous and reasonable, the country’s situation would not have become like it is today and the country would have been united, said Sumet.
‘It’s a pity.  We have the ultimate guru and sage in our land, but we never listen [to him].  Instead, we listen to whom we shouldn’t.  Someday we will be sorry.  I can say just that.  It’s not too late.  Don’t be discouraged’,  said Sumet.         
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