Last Friday, 10th October 2008, I travelled down to the temple in Woking to join a special ceremony to commemorate the founder of the Dhammakaya tradition, the late Chao Khun Phra Mongkol Thepmuni, or Luang Pu Sodh, Abbot of Wat Paknam. The main ceremony was actually taking place at Wat Phra Dhammakaya in Thailand and marked by a ceremony to cast a statue in solid gold. This statue will be placed in his Memorial Hall, which I've had the good fortune to visit - it's designed in a way that can really help focus the mind on meditation. Nowadays technology makes live broadcasts/webcasts quite normal, so we could join in ... starting at 3.30am. :-)
In the afternoon (Thai time) I was delighted to see an appearance made by Dr. Michael Nobel, a great grand nephew of Alfred Nobel, who inaugurated the Nobel Foundation. He didn't just smile to the cameras, but proceeded to deliver a considerable speech strongly commending the universal value of meditation, praising especially the work of Ven. Dhammajayo Bhikkhu in promoting world peace through inner peace. It really was a wonderful speech and it gives me cause for great optimism. Please see the endorsement from his Peace for Africa site.
[13 July 2009]
Since writing the post, the following video of Dr. Nobel's speech has been released a Google video (The Endorsement of "World Peace through Inner Peace"):