Thai cave boys leave buddhist monastery after getting ordained

The boys completed their time as novice Buddhist monks to give thanks for their survival and to show their gratitude

The boys completed their time as novice Buddhist monks to give thanks for their survival and to show their gratitude

Most of the Thai boys rescued from a flooded cave have returned home after spending time in a Buddhist monastery as novice monks.

The 12th member of the Wild Boars football team did not go through the religious ritual as he is not Buddhist. Over three days, expert divers carried the sedated boys and their coach through darkness and submerged passageways towards the exit.

At the Wat Phra That Doi Wao temple, the boys listened to Buddhist chanting before they disrobed themselves in a traditional ceremony attended by their relatives.

The ordination of 11 boys of the Wild Boars soccer team along with the 25-year-old coach was especially dedicated to a former Thai navy SEAL who died while diving during a volunteer mission to supply the cave with oxygen tanks.

They received a Buddhist blessing from the monks and now are considered laymen of the faith.

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Ekkapol Chantawong, the coach, chose to remain in the temple where he has become a full monk.

The extraordinary story of the group's escape from the snaking caverns of the Tham Luang caves of northern Thailand was not just followed in Buddhist-majority Thailand but by millions around the world.

Family and friends waited for the boys at a reception hall, facing a a table of offerings where the centrepiece was a large photo portrait of a smiling Sergeant Sam.

All 13 made it out safely.

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