Hundreds Mourn Death of Thai Buddhist Leader in Auburn

January 17, 2005

Source: The Seattle Times

On January 17, 2005 The Seattle Times reported, "hundreds of people gathered beneath the soaring roof of the Washington Buddhavanaram Buddhist Temple yesterday to mourn the death of a national leader of Thai Buddhists who guided construction of a building that is a religious and cultural mooring for the area's faithful. Sixty-six-year-old Smai Harnsoatthi, the temple's abbot, died Wednesday after complaining of chest pains and collapsing, ending a tenure that spanned 21 years in the Puget Sound area. In that time, Harnsoatthi led a group of worshippers that grew from an estimated 20 families to 800 members and had moved from a rented house to a mobile home to a resplendent temple... Harnsoatthi, known as 'luangpor' or 'father monk' by temple members, served as part spiritual adviser, part fund-raiser and part building contractor, eventually rising to chief U.S. monk in the Dhammayutt order of Theravadan Buddhism."