On September 23, 2023, Mr. Sutthipong Juljarern, the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Thailand, visited the Kok Nong Na network community in Chaiyaphum province. He emphasized the need to become a model household in "sufficiency agriculture."
During the visit, Mr. Sutthipong participated in a ceremony to lay down the spiritual foundations by paying respects to the Buddha's statue and receiving blessings from Phra Yanawachirawong, the assistant abbot of Wat Phra Chetuphon Wimon Mangkhalaram Ratchaworamahawihan. This event took place at the Dhamma Practice and Study Center of Thep Sathit District, Chaiyaphum Province, under the patronage of Somdet Phra Maha Thirarajajariyavarajamuni, the abbot of Wat Phra Chetuphon Wimon Mangkhalaram Ratchaworamahawihan. Mr. Sutthipong was joined by Mr. Sopon Suwannarat, the Governor of Chaiyaphum Province, as well as leaders of the community development volunteers and members of the Kok Nong Na network in Chaiyaphum, totaling over 300 participants.
During the occasion, Mr. Sutthipong made offerings to Phra Yanawachirawong and spoke with members of the Kok Nong Na network. He also presented royal gift bags to the leaders of the community development volunteers in all 16 districts. Additionally, he provided 55-inch LED television sets to students at Ban Chong Samran School in Thep Sathit District, Chaiyaphum Province. Furthermore, there was an auspicious ceremony for the planting of sacred Bodhi trees and the release of nine cows. Mr. Sutthipong and the attendees also visited exhibitions and the Kok Nong Na demonstration plot at Thep Sathit Dhamma Practice and Study Center.
Phra Yanawachirawong mentioned that several years ago, there was a vision to develop this area as a center for Dhamma practice and learning, aligning with the sufficiency economy philosophy and new theory. This vision aimed to instill self-reliance and knowledge in the community, and it involved the creation of Kok Nong Na plots to enhance skills and knowledge in the principle of self-sufficiency. Therefore, discussions were held with Mr. Sutthipong Juljarern, who advised them to participate in the development of a model area for improving the quality of life based on new theories. This initiative was swiftly implemented, leading to the development of Kok Nong Na, which has not only resulted in bountiful yields but, most importantly, has become a place for learning through regular training sessions. These training sessions cover various topics, including substance abuse prevention and resolution, sufficiency economy development, and Thai and global cuisine. This initiative, in collaboration with the Department of Community Development and the Department of Local Administration, is part of the sufficiency economy philosophy, which aims to create sustainable happiness in Thai society.
Mr. Sutthipong emphasized that the most crucial aspect of this initiative is to help oneself succeed in developing their own area. He likened it to the pursuit of happiness through the practice of the Four Noble Truths, as taught by the Buddha. He stressed that it is essential for individuals to become model households, fostering completeness and excellence in their own areas. He encouraged community members to collaborate in their efforts and, in alignment with the King's philosophy, promote the happiness of others. Therefore, Mr. Sutthipong expressed the importance of the "Royal Gift of Volunteering" project in creating benefits for the collective, reducing suffering, and increasing sustainable happiness in Thai society. He called upon everyone to contribute as volunteers and help alleviate the suffering of those in need, thus promoting lasting happiness in Thai society.