Wat Bovornives Vihara


"Temple of excellent abode"
ALSO SPELLED: Wat Bovoranives, Wat Bovorn, Wat Bowonniwet, Wat Bowon.


248 Phra Sumen Rd., Banglampoo, Bangkok 10200

On Phra Sumen in Banglampoo district, 2 blocks north of the Democracy Monument. Many city buses pass through the area.

Tel: (02) 280-0869 or 281-2831-3


No formal teachings or meditation instructions are currently offered. The teacher is very busy with duties. This temple is mentioned because it's an important center for Thai Buddhism. Usually a few foreign monks are in residence who can answer questions.


His Holiness Somdet Phra Nyansamvara, the SupremePatriarch (sangharaja) of Thailand (Thai; age 78).


Thirty-one rai (12.5 acres) in an urban setting with some trees and a few open spaces. Small canals criss-cross the grounds. Some of the buildings have notable Thai or European architecture. The Great Chedi, glittering with gold-colored tiles, towers more than 50 meters; relics of the Buddha lie inside within a small metal chedi. If you're here on a Sunday afternoon, you can visit the Dhamma Museum in the tall building near the street; exhibits include Buddha images, temple paraphernalia, skeletons and other meditation objects, and "cremation books" (given out on cremation occasions). Resident monks engage primarily in Dhamma studies; Mahamakut Rajavidyalaya Buddhist University is on the east end of the grounds.


monks: 100-160
novices: 20-25
nuns: 0
laypeople: (just schoolboys and workmen)


Not generally available or recommended for meditators.


Foreigners occasionally ordain here but few stay;contact the secretary for details.


A small English library is available at Gana Soong (International Section). Mahamakut Bookstore, on Phra Sumen across from the wat, has many Buddhist books in English; publishers represented include Buddhist Publication Society, Pali Text Society, and Mahamakut Rajavidyalaya Press; closed Sunday.
The temple has had a long and glorious history. In 1836, King Rama III, in a boat procession, invited Prince Bhikku Mongkut to become abbot of Wat Bovornives Vihara. Prince Mongkut was a scholar of Pali Buddhism and the first Asian king to speak English fluently. On the death of Prince Mongkut's half brother King Rama III, he left the Order to become king, being known in the West as King Rama IV. In 1956, King Mongkut's great grandson, H.M. King Bhumibol Adulyadej, the present king of Thailand, was ordained and resided at Wat Bovornives for a period. The royal history continues with the ordination of Crown Prince Vajiralongkorn and several of his children who, after ordination, resided here.