Updated: April 25, 2021 4:07:36 pm
Buddhist monks in Thailand marked the occasion of Earth Day on Friday by lighting 3,30,000 candles, and the stunning photos and videos have taken social media by storm.
In an attempt to break the Guinness World Record (GWR) for the largest flaming image, monks at the Wat Dhammakaya Buddhist temple on the outskirts of Bangkok simultaneously lit candles across a 78-acre compound. In a special message, their illuminated candles formed the shape of a Buddhist monk meditating within the Earth.
“Since we are a Buddhist organisation, we came up with the theme ‘cleanse the mind, cleanse the world’, which is to remind people to cleanse their minds before they start cleaning the world,” director of the communication department of temple Venerable Sanitwong Wuthiwangso told news agency Reuters.
Wuthiwangso said an official from GWR was present at the event, but it isn’t clear if the temple managed to set an official world record. According to the GWR website, the current record for the largest flaming image using candles was achieved by the Middle Way Meditation Institute (Philippines), in Iloilo, Philippines, on 14 April 2014. They lit 56,680 candles.
At the event, monks chanted around a golden shrine with an objective “to encourage people of any nationality, race and religion to join together in the activities of chanting and group meditation, sharing loving kindness”, AFP reported.
It is estimated that around 300,000 monks and devotees attended the ceremony via Zoom due to coronavirus restrictions.
While several people have praised the idea, it has also received its fair share of criticism with some people arguing that burning paraffin wax produces soot, which is harmful for the environment.
The idea for Earth Day was birthed by Gaylord Nelson, a US senator from Wisconsin. It was first celebrated on April 22, 1970, when around 20 million Americans took to the streets across the country for a healthy and sustainable environment.
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