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coffin donation

A form of merit making in Thailand, as well as in several other countries of Southeast Asia and East Asia, in which people wishing to make tamboon can participate in the benevolent practice of providing coffins to those who cannot afford them, as an act of compassion, i.e. for the homeless who died alone or those who die without family, as well as for the poor whose relatives can't afford to buy a coffin themselves. There are several foundations and charity's across the nation where people can go to buy a coffin for donation. One of those is the Ruamkatanyu Foundation (fig.), which has several branches, its most famous one being in Bangkok's Wat Hua Lampong (fig.), which is nicknamed the Coffin Temple, where for a monetary donation —in 2020 around 500 baht— donors who pay for a coffin are invited to write their name on a pink slip of paper. After payment, the donor receives a certificate and the pink slip is pasted onto a coffin, accompanied with a prayer. Afterward, the donor goes to a Chinese shrine, adjacent to the Ruamkatanyu Foundation's branch office, to pray once again and to burn the certificate in a bowl. The distribution of the coffins to the needed is further organized by the foundation. To promote the act of coffin donations and collect funds for it, many temples have rather macabre, yet eye-catching, displays (fig.). In Thai, this form of tamboon is known as kaan borijahk lohng sop. In southern China, many of the minority hill tribes have a similar practice in which the children buy a coffin for their parents while those are still alive, which is consequently placed somewhere in the home like a piece of unused furniture. It serves as a guarantee and reminder to the parents that after their passing their remains will be put to rest properly and that all necessary arrangements have been made, so they do not need to worry.