10/25/2011, 00.00
THAILAND – ASSISI 2011
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Thai Catholic, Buddhist and Muslim leaders travel to Assisi Day 2011

by Weena Kowitwanij
The delegation is led by Mgr Joseph Chusak Sirisut, president of the Commission for Inter-religious and Cultural Dialogue. For participants, the day of peace is a “significant” event for its symbolic value. “Where there is peace, there shall be happiness too,” a Muslim leader says.
Bangkok (AsiaNews) – Mgr Joseph Chusak Sirisut, bishop of Nakhon Ratchasima, a diocese in northeast Thailand, and president of the Commission for Inter-religious and Cultural Dialogue, will lead the Thai delegation to the Day of Reflection, Dialogue and Prayer for Peace in Assisi this Thursday. The pilgrimage, which is open to non-religious people, will mark the 25th anniversary of the first Assisi Day celebrated by John Paul II and other world religious leaders on 27 October 1986. Buddhist and Muslim leaders will also be part of the Thai delegation in what some call a “significant” event for its strong symbolic value.

The Thai Sangha Supreme Council (TSSC) named the Buddhist delegates to the event a few days ago. The group will be led by Phraphrommolee, Abbot of the first section of the Pitchayatkaramworawiharn Temple, said Amnaj Buasiri, director of the Office of the TSSC Secretariat. However, there will be other important figures from Thailand’s Theravada Buddhism. The three monks who will lead the delegation are members of the TSSC governing board. They will participate on “behalf of Somdet Phra Nyanasamvara Suvaddhans”, the 96-year-old supreme patriarch who “has serious health problems.”

Women will also be part of the Buddhist group, including Mae Che (Sister) Sansanee Sthirasuta, founder and director of the Sathira-Dhammasthan Centre, which was set up in 1987 and is open to the faithful who want to practice dharma, the teachings of the Buddha. In the past 30 years, she has dedicated her life to the promotion of peace and harmony.

The spiritual leader of Thailand’s Muslims, Chularajamontri Aziz Pitakkumpol, has named to representatives for the Day of Peace. On the eve of departure, one of them, Suthep Loh-la-moh, a Muslim doctor and a member of the Commission for Inter-religious and Cultural Dialogue, stressed that “peace is in our hearts” and “where there is peace, there shall be happiness too.”
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