Monk on a Mission . . . Thailand Buddhist Monk Treks Through Armstrong County

Pra Sutham Nateetong (foreground), a Buddhist monk from Thailand walked through Kittanning Riverfront Park with other monks and religious supporters as part of his 3,000 mile journey across the United States for world peace and unity.

A Buddhist monk from Thailand may be the first representative of his religious order to walk across the United States.

Pra Sutham Nateetong, arriving in Kittanning yesterday morning, said his message was simple: he walks for world peace.

Nateetong, 57, started his 3,000 mile journey in California on March 1 and is hoping to arrive at the Statue of Liberty in New York City by June 30.

Along the way, parishioners from the local area and as far away as Pittsburgh provided food and housing for the monk. Many joined him for a mile or more of his walk, supporting his desire for peace and unity.

Yesterday morning, Nateetong started out in Clearfield Township, Butler County and made his way along Route 422 into downtown Kittanning. He walked through Kittanning Riverfront Park and joined a local group of supporters at one of the gazebos for an authentic Thai lunch. He then continued his travels north on Routes 66/28/85.

Clerics joining Nateetong hold a Buddhist flag and a flag of Thailand during their stop for lunch provided by local supporters in the park gazebo. Pictured are Phra Suppachai Phonkraipetch , from Thailand (left); Phramaha Sayan Lasanam , from Thai temple (Wat Padhammaratana) in Pittsburgh, (right); and Phramaha Withaya Wisetnakorn  from Thailand (middle)

“No matter what religion we believe, we all want peace and happiness,” the monk said through his representative. “Why don’t we all create peace together! In the world nowadays, humans are being more selfish, greedy, hatred, war, killing, genocide. This Thai Buddhist Monk sacrifices his pain and suffering to promote world peace.”

The United States is not his first journey. He has walked from Thailand to Vietnam, Malaysia, India, and Japan. He plans to walk through France during his next journey.

In addition to his theological training, Nateetong holds degrees in law and public administration from Thammasat University and Chulalongkorn University in Bangkok, Thailand.


Kittanning Borough Councilman David Croyle extended a handshake and welcomed Thailand Buddhist monks to Kittanning during their walk through the Borough.  Pictured are Croyle; Phra Suppachai Phonkraipetch and Phramaha Withaya Wisetnakorn.