The Thai boys and their coach, who were miraculously rescued from the depths of a cave in northern Thailand, were ordained in a Buddhist ceremony on Wednesday as a thank you to their brave rescuers.
At the mountaintop temple in Chiang Rai province the 11 boys shaved their heads and donned traditional orange robes as they became Buddhist novices, while their 25-year-old coach was ordained as a monk.
One boy, who is not buddhist didn’t take part in the ceremony, however, the others used the ordainment as an expression of gratitude to the volunteer diver and former Thai navy SEAL, Saman Gunan, who died while undertaking the harrowing rescue mission, the ABC reports.
“The teachings that we would like the boys to learn is the awareness of themselves and the importance of their lives,” Praphun Khomjoi, chief of the regional branch of the National Office of Buddhism said.
“It is extraordinary to be born as humans. And as we are given this opportunity, we should use Buddhist principles or principles of any religions as guidance for living. That’s the lesson that we want them to learn.”
The group also prayed with guests and local officials as part of the ceremony, including Saman’s family.
Earlier this week nine Australians who played a vital role in the astonishing rescue were honoured for their bravery at a ceremony in Canberra.
Nine Order of Australia medals, seven bravery medals and two Stars of Courage were handed out during the ceremony on Tuesday, with Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull describing the actions of the men as extraordinary.
Anaethetist Dr Richard ‘Harry’ Harris, from Adelaide, and his dive partner Dr Craig Challen, from Perth, were awarded the Star of Courage, which is given for acts of conspicuous courage in circumstances of great peril, in recognition of the part they played in the safe rescue of all 13 people from Tham Luang Cave.
All 13 members of the Wild Boars football team were trapped in the cave for weeks on end, before they were finally freed in a daring rescue mission on July 10.
Released from hospital last week, all members are said to be doing well.