A mission to translate what is thought to be a two-century old scripture from Khmer into Italian, a gift to Pope Pius XI from King Rama VII, has been completed and is ready to be displayed at the Vatican Museum, according to Buddhist officials in Thailand.
The ancient Khmer scripture was presented to the pope by the king during a visit to the Vatican 83 years ago.
Phra Thepveeraporn, abbot of Wat Phra Chetuphon Wimonmangkhalaram — more commonly known as Wat Pho — in Bangkok, said Vatican officials told him last year that Pope Francis would like to exhibit the ancient Khmer-written scripture at the Vatican Museum.
However the pope didn’t understand the meaning and its context, so sought the temple’s cooperation on the translation, he added.
A working group was set up to translate the text, which took 11 months to complete.
The 186 page translated scripture — which comes in a cover of pure gold — will be displayed at the Vatican Museum, together with the original version.
Cardinal Francis Xavier Kriengsak Kovithavanij of Bangkok accepted the translated scripture on behalf of the Catholic Church.
Mercier Vishnu Tanya, deputy secretary-general of the Catholic Bishop’s Conference of Thailand, said this is a great opportunity to display teachings of the Lord Buddha as the Vatican Museum attracts many people every year.