Thai boys turn monks, for 9 days..

Boys rescued from Thai cave become Buddhist novices

Boys rescued from Thai cave become Buddhist novices

Bhak Loharjun, right, an army doctor who accompanied the young soccer teammates and their coach inside a cave, prays at a Buddhist ceremony as they prepare to be ordained as Buddhist monks and novices.

Eleven of the boys and their coach attend the merit-making ceremony at a Buddhist temple.

The boys, whose ages range from 11 to 16, will live in a Buddhist temple for nine days, the same length of time they were trapped in Tham Luang Cave in Chang Rai before they were discovered by a team of divers.

The others will begin their week-long stint as Buddhist novices from Wednesday morning, when they will have their heads shaved.

"I was so happy to see them alive and I thought it would be good to attend the ceremony to show them our support", a local Buddhist nun said. One of the boys, fourteen-year-old Adul "Dul" Sam-on is Christian and will not be ordained.

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In this case, said Praphun Khomjoi, chief of the regional branch of the National Office of Buddhism, the boys were dedicating the act of entering the monkhood to a volunteer diver and former Thai navy SEAL, Saman Gunan, who died while diving during a mission to supply the cave with oxygen tanks essential to helping the boys' rescue.

An global operation to rescue the 12 boys and their coach ended on July 10 when the last of the group was brought to safety from inside the flooded Tham Luang Cave in Chiang Rai.

He said that when he and fellow British diver Rick Stanton found the boys, "we were very pleased" but also concerned at getting them out. "That's the lesson that we want them to learn".

The boys and their 25-year-old coach Ekapol Chanthawong had gone to explore the caves on June 23, where they became trapped.

Since they were discharged from hospital on Tuesday, the boys have been spending time at home.

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