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beautifulthailand99

my trip to Wat Dhammakaya

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BT, We went just as the doodah was hitting the fan a few years ago.

I'd always wanted to go so we finally had an excuse but I think they'd had their fill of 'curious' people (especially foreigners) by then. It is an awe inspiring building however. For that reason alone I'd recommend a look to anyone if you can get past the religious stuff and the 'cult' claims.

It takes a lot to make my cynical old jaw drop but this place left me speechless in it's magnificence.

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The comparison with American Evangelists is most apt and they as a body now have significant influence in US politics and it goes further than that as the Mormons who are at least as barking as Dhammakaya can have a good stab at getting the US presidency with Mitt Romney. Mormons like their 'Buddhist conterparts' Dhammakaya exhibit moral and disciplined behaviours. Along with power comes influence and they seem to be pressing all the right buttons internationally - this video is from 5 years ago but shows they are making the right sort of connections and getting their message across to the right audience.

Here's their video for their new HQ on site

And here's where it is at the moment.

New recruits are analysed for their skill sets and encouraged to join the relevant part of the organisation - and monks can be architects,builders, marketing personnel or whatever they excel at best. My hunch it is the English Pra Nicholas that is part of the warped genius keeping this show on the road.

And here's finally an example from 2008 of their outreach to global opinion formers to get their message across.

http://youtu.be/zzNL7ogLKOo

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One of the monks I lived with used to be in the Dhammakaya sect. Wouldn't say why he switched to the dhammayut order but I have a feeling the Dhammakaya was a bit too demanding for him.

Their Pali language primer is excellent, and always flys off the shelves as soon as it hits the bookstore across from thammasat uni.

I think they center around education, money, and the elite.

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Ask a" monk" of this money making sect.

Sabbe Dhamma annatatit.--- wright or wrong?

If he cannot answer, look for the garbage.

If the answer is NO, you know where the garbage stay.

Edited by lungmi

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The school my 13 year old son attends has a program run by some teachers each summer holiday. They take students to the annual Novice monk ordination camp program run by a branch of Dhammakaya in Chiangmai behind the MaeJo uni. The kids stay for a couple of weeks and live in tents. Everything is well organised and they allow them one set of clothes so that they wash them each day. Last Saturday I went to attend my son's ordination. He volunteered, was not pressured by his teacher, and about 25 went from his school, some of them kids of the teachers and some were returning a second year.

They get good moral training. I have long suspected the emphasis on merit making above all by the organisation.

During the day and on leaflets they were broadcasting about how donating robes to monks or novices would ensure rebirth in heaven realms for 64 or 32 aeons...

This is not the teaching of the Buddhas..they do not encourage people to get to the heavens but to escape rebirth...

I got the impression that they have a 'cult of the monk' attitude. Certainly monks who practice the vinaya are to be respected and held in high esteem, but they seem to imply that only they can reach Nibbana, and all the rest must aim for male rebirth and thence monkhood.

My teacher Supawan Green is a Thai lady, mother, housewife and Arahant (or at least Anagami.. IMHO) who would not agree with their implications.

Still...if my boy comes home a bit more respectful and helpful about the home it will be good....

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I went there once and got followed around by some weirdo Englishman who wanted me to make a donation but not take any photos or ask any questions to anyone nor even speak to anyone....

When I found the wife, and expressed my desire to get out of this odd place, he tried leading me away from her until I told him she was my missus and if he didn't "jog on" I'd be forced to introduce his chin to Mr knuckle....

Keyboard warrior rolleyes.gif

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I thought 1959 was the year the founder of this corrupt cult died? It is older than that and Richard Randall went to their original wat in Paknam in 1954 as the first western monk. His book life as a Siamese monk is a very good read. When the founder was alive it was very sincere, now it's just a money machine. it's meditation methods are virtually impossible.

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The founder himself... Luang Por Sodt (Wat Pak Nam) changed over to Vipassana meditation before he died (almost certainly an Arahnt).

When asked my LP Jaran, his former student who was also studying Vipassana at Wat mahathat, if he would continue to practice Dhammakaya meditation or Vipassana ... he said 'If you have found the truth would you continue to practice the false way?'

He also knew that after his death his followers would destroy any evidence of his having practiced Vipassana in order to continue the teaching of Dhammakaya.

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The problem is that this guy has a huge number of followers, not to mention plenty of them are hi-so. I don't see this going anywhere besides getting a few headlines. Business as usual.

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Déjà vu

Issues read similar to this 15 year old TIME article.

By DAVID LIEBHOLD Monday, June 28, 1999
"Dhammachayo these days is Thailand's most controversial figure. In recent months he has been bombarded with accusations, ranging from embezzlement to deviation from the Buddha's teaching. Thai Buddhism's highest authority, the Supreme Patriarch, has said Dhammachayo, 55, should be expelled from the monkhood. And on June 11, the government filed criminal charges against him, accusing him of embezzlement, abusing his position as an abbot and making a false statement."
"In soft, quiet tones he speculates that the charges might be the result of a misunderstanding or government anxiety over the large number of people congregating at the temple. He says such security concerns are understandable, especially following the horrific experiences with doomsday cults like Japan's Aum Shinrikyo and America's Branch Davidians."

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It looks like the Junta is getting serious about taking on some Buddhist centres of power. Don't remember the Buddha extolling the virtues of arms and armies but maybe one of the more enlightened members can put me straight.

http://www.prachatai.com/english/node/4843

There's a principle which has permeated, and continues to permeate, all cultures and societies and individuals, from time immemorial, and that's 'power'.

We all love power, in some form or other, whether it be political power, the power of money and wealth, the power of celebrity and status, or the power of a simple farm worker who succeeds in trapping a rabbit or a fox.

My concept of Buddhism, at a philosophical level, is that it's concerned with helping the individual to achieve power over himself (or herself), rather than power over others.

To dispel all suffering, discomfort, anxiety and unrealistic expectations within oneself, requires a subtle form of power over oneself, achieved through practices of meditation. That is the greatest satisfaction of all.

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