As the longest-serving supreme patriarch for 24 years, His Holiness Somdet Phra Nyanasamvara, who died on Thursday, certainly made a long list of memorable contributions to Thailand.
According to social critic Sulak Sivaraksa, Buddhists should add to his many good deeds by reforming the Sangha Supreme Council.
Mr Sulak has called for the reintroduction of the more democratic Sangha Act of 1941, which was scrapped by the 1932 revolution.
Field Marshal Sarit Thanarat, sceptical of democracy's efficacy for Thailand, ordered the dissolution of parliament and the reform of the Sangha society, with a tightly organised monkhood under the command of the Council of Elders, Mr Sulak said.
Under the Sangha Act of 1962, still in effect today, the Sangha Supreme Council structure takes a hierarchical system parallel to the secular government.
This intricate and often confusing system of honorific ranks and titles, developed from villages to the national level, still plays a key role in determining a monk's identity and status. "The monkhood's education and administrative systems have caused members of the clergy to strive for nobility without caring about their own roots and community," Mr Sulak said.
"As Thailand is undergoing democratisation, the Sangha should be steered by younger and new generations of monks, nuns, Buddhist laymen and other faiths' supporters if we want real reform."
Somdet Phra Nyanasamvara was not the first supreme patriarch to come from humble beginnings and be accorded with the honour of a royal urn at his funeral. The fourth Supreme Patriarch, Somdet Phra Ariyawongsanyan (Suk), was also bestowed with a large golden urn, normally reserved for members of the royal family, at his funeral.
Somdet Phra Nyanasamvara is often referred to as an influential figure in Thailand as he was the adviser and guardian of His Majesty the King and His Royal Highness Crown Prince Maha Vajiralongkorn when they were ordained at Wat Bovoranives Vihara in 1956 and 1978, respectively.
But since the beginning of the Rattanakosin era, there have been other supreme patriarchs closely connected to the monarchy as well, Chiang Mai University's history professor Saichol Saytayanurak said.
The 10th Supreme Patriarch, Somdet Phra Mahasamanachao Krom Phraya Vajiranyanavarorasa (1910-1921) was instrumental in strengthening the absolute monarchy under King Chulalongkorn and King Vajiravudh, Ms Saichol said.
Somdet Phra Mahasamanachao Krom Phraya Vajiranyanavarorasa penned a number of books for monks and laymen that bonded Thai society under the spread of imperialism and new ideas, she said.
Other monks, including Somdet Phra Panarat (Wat Pho), played key political roles in supporting the initial reign of King Rama I, but did not hold the position of Supreme Patriarch.
Perhaps the only difference between the late Somdet Phra Nyanasamvara and other supreme patriarchs was that he was a commoner while the others were princes, Mr Sulak said.