The Thais call their king "Phra Chao Phaen Din"
– Lord of the Land, "Phra Chao Yu Hua"
– Lord Upon the Heads, or "Chao Chiwit"
– Lord of Life, denoting the monarch’s most exalted and all-powerful position among them, as was the case in the past, under an absolute monarchy, when kings were considered divine.
The present monarch, King Bhumibol Adulyadej, the ninth monarch of the Royal House of Chakri, although a direct descendant of a divine king, is the third king to reign under the nation’s constitutional monarchy regime. Although he has been able to uphold the traditions established by his immediate predecessors, Rama VII and Rama VIII, he has had to carve out many of the functions and responsibilities of a constitutional king himself.
As a young monarch in the 1950s, His Majesty started his learning process by visiting his people in all parts of the country, observing the real conditions of his subjects and seeking solutions to their problems. Soon afterwards, he set up experimental projects at Chitralada Villa in Bangkok and around Klaikangwon Palace in Hua Hin, aimed at practical solutions to problems faced by his people in all parts of the country. Over the decades, during which the royal visits to the people continued unabated, uncountable projects were tested and implemented in different remote areas, relieving the plight and sufferings of the people to a large extent.
His Majesty the King has been meticulous and methodical in his approach. He upholds the principle of giving the needy a tool to catch fish, rather than handing out fish as their food. And he never tires of teaching, by providing examples to prove the theories. Even the poorest in the harshest condition can learn to improve their lives and livelihood. He has been aptly dubbed "Teacher of the Land."
His teaching even extends to the principles of Buddhism. He reigns according to the fundamental Buddhist virtues suitable for a monarch, with a deep concern for the well-being of all his subjects, regardless of their own religious beliefs. He never fails to encourage people in every level of society to follow the deepest ethical principles of their faith.
As the nation rejoices over the double occasion of His Majesty the King’s 60th
Anniversary of His Accession to the Throne and his 80th
Birthday Anniversary in 2006 and 2007, we humbly contribute to the celebrations with this book, entitled King Bhumibol and His Enlightened Approach to Teaching.