Frequently Asked Questions

Response to DSI allegations

Scandals about the biggest temple sell well in the headlines. We have been providing clarification about all accusations but those were not published elsewhere. If you are interested to learn more about them, all the responses are given here.

Download PDF of Press Release

Released on 3rd May, 2016.

Download PDF of Press Release

Released on 28th April, 2016

Credit Union Case

Mr. Supachai Srisup-aksorn, former Chairman of Khlongchan Credit Union made monetary donations to Wat Phra Dhammakaya.   Later, Khlongchan Credit Union filed a claim accusing Mr. Supachai of embezzling over 10,000 million baht from the Credit Union.

The Fact is Wat Phra Dhammakaya has nothing to do with the Credit Union embezzlement case. The unsolicited donations from Mr. Supachai were used to construct buildings and facilities for the benefit of the general public. Followers of Wat Phra Dhammakaya have subsequently raised the full amount in dispute, which has already been paid to the Credit Union, who have issued a letter of appreciation, and withdrawn all complaints against Wat Phra Dammakaya.

On the further allegations that says the temple supports the receiving of stolen property, it should be noted that most charitable organizations rely on monetary donations from the public, and it is inappropriate to question the source of these donations. Not to mention that the donations made by Mr. Supachai was not the largest, nor was it more notable than any average donators. Imagine the inconvenience for every party involved if the whole world decided to regulate all donations made by imposing a rule that every temple, religious organizations, and non-profit organizations must check the sources for all of the donations made to them every time, no matter how large or small the sum is.

 

 


 

Responses to other allegations found in media

Scandals about the biggest temple sell well in the headlines. We have been providing clarification about all accusations but those were not published elsewhere. If you are interested to learn more about them, all the responses are given here.

Wat Phra Dhammakaya is a Buddhist temple, not an independent state

The disinformation campaign which has been directed at Wat Phra Dhammakaya and its ailing Abbot, took a new turn, when some local media claimed that the temple is an untouchable “state within a state”.   This, like many of the ill-informed media claims about Wat Phra Dhammakaya is totally incorrect.

Wat Phra Dhammakaya received its consecrated boundaries on 12 January 1979 (B.E. 2522) and the announcement of this was made in the 96th issue of the Thai Government Gazette, Section 15, on 6 February, 1979.   According to the 1992 Sangha Act (B.E. 2535), Article 31, in order to gain a monastery’s complete status, receipt of consecrated boundaries bestowed by His Majesty the King is a requirement.

There are 33,902 Buddhist temples throughout Thailand, and all of them have gained the monastery’s status upon their receipt of consecrated boundaries bestowed by His Majesty the King.   Wat Phra Dhammakaya has therefore been established correctly, and for the media and individuals to claim otherwise is to show great disrespect to the Supreme Sangha Council.

The continuing onslaught of unsupported claims against Wat Phra Dhammakaya and the abbot, Phrathepyanmahamuni, is clearly an attempt by those who wish to seize control of Thailand’s largest Buddhist temple.   With millions of supporters and a resident population of 3,000 buddhist monks and novices, the devotees of this 46 year old temple will resist any and all illegal actions to discredit Wat Phra Dhammakaya and its seriously ill abbot who has devoted his entire life for the benefit and propagation of Buddhism in Thailand.

Wat Phra Dhammakaya’s objectives and its activities have been to teach meditation, morals and ethical values based on Buddhist philosophy. We have been conducting activities based on these objectives for the last 45 years. Wat Phra Dhammakaya has not involved in any political affairs or anything other issues which are not related to our objectives.

There have been many allegations against Wat Phra Dhammakaya. We hereby that all allegations are unsubstantial and lack of evidences. Wat Phra Dhammakaya has absolutely not involved in political affairs.

Yes, there are apologies made by media after the cases were over and Luang Por Dhammajayo was declared innocence. Here are some examples. The full list of apologies can be found here.

The only purpose of all spendings of the temple is to return morality to the Thai and global society. The temple spends large sums of money on many projects to improve life of people in Thailand and abroad through morality development, for example, the mass ordination of 100,000 monks, encouraging sharing the Dharma teachings in the youth of Thailand and spreading Buddhism to other countries in the world.

This is not true because If the temple teaches their followers to donate everything until they become penniless, the temple should have only poor, indigent followers. How can the temple have only wealthy followers?

The reality is, the temple teaches people to be economical, diligent, and never associate themselves with all vices. Instead, it teaches people to make donations, follow the precepts, and meditate. When merits bear fruits, their financial status improves, so they contribute part of their wealth in donation because they faithfully see the value of supporting Buddhist activities.

Not true. The abbot lives a very simple way of life. The abbot’s residence is of similar size as other monks’ residence in the temple at the original 77 acres of the temple’s land. 

The monks’ residence area is very simple and serene. It is partitioned away from the public areas and the ceremonial area because it was made to support a monks life, ones who dedicate their lives for Buddhism, meditation, and peacefulness. Originally, before the need for land to accommodate more followers, the abbot only wanted there to be 21 monks at the Dhammakaya temple, because that was the maximum number of monks that is absolutely needed to perform any Buddhist ceremony. Thus, the original residence was built with small residence for each monk to sleep, keep the minimum necessities, and meditate. There are trees and shrubs planted to give the feel of a forest and minimalistic living, full of peacefulness and serenity.

Other than having a minimalist residence, the abbot is also very conscious with utilising resources that have been funded by faithful supporters. He showers with only one small bucket of water each day, carefully using every drop with purpose, so to appreciate every single bit of resources without wasting any. This habit is not of a luxurious person.

 

It has been alleged that the Abbot of Wat Phra Dhammakaya, Venerable Phrarajbhavanavisudh, took land from the temple and only returned it after being contested.

The fact is that the donors have verified their full intention to donate the land to Phrarajbhavanavisudh because of their faith in him, and the title deed clearly indicates that the donated land was intended for religious purposes.   Donors of additional plots of land have also confirmed that their gifts are made specifically to Phrarajbhavanavisudh due to their faith and appreciation for his efforts in Buddhist dissemination.

The Department of Religious Affairs has argued that the land was really gifted to the temple, and not an individual, which was clearly not the intention of the donors.   To resolve this matter, Phrarajbhavanavisudh donated the land to Wat Phra Dhammakaya in order to resolve this dispute and to demonstrate his highest respect for the Supreme Patriarch.

On 22nd March 1999, The Sangha Supreme Council announced that all charges against Phrarajbhavanavisudh (Luangpor Dhammajayo) were being dropped because complainants had withdrawn their cases.

Wat Phra Dhammakaya is alleged to have used money to garner support of senior monks throughout Thailand to try and monopolise Buddhism in Thailand. This is clearly a conspiracy theory that is based on no solid facts, nor is it a plausible theory for many reasons.

Thailand has many senior monks who have been ordained for 50-70 years and have devoted much of their lives to Buddhism. It would go against all of their doctrines and moral codes as devoted monks to simply be bought by money to destroy Buddhism. Also, there are over 40,000 temples throughout the whole country. Even if by any chance it was easy to “buy” senior monks, there are too many temples. No one would be able to take over that many temples in just one generation, so there is no reason to actually even try to do so.

The temple is alleged to have initiated a new monastic tradition by allowing monks to wear shirts. In fact, monks and novices at Wat Phra Dhammakaya don their monastic robes neatly and are highly regarded by the lay community. However, our 71-year old abbot, who in recent years has developed allergies, must wear a long-sleeve waistcoat under his outer robe to be shielded from any breeze. Similarly, Thai monks who are involved in Buddhist dissemination abroad in colder countries must rely on long-sleeve waistcoats for the very same reason. The Lord Buddha permitted such adaptation to protect the monks’ health. Thailand is a very tropical country, and no individual, unless necessary, would want to wear a long-sleeve waistcoat and generate additional heat.

The temple is alleged to be providing inaccurate teachings of Buddhism and not teaching about the Four Foundations of Mindfulness, the Four Noble Truths, the Noble Eightfold Path, and Insight Development. In reality, Wat Phra Dhammakaya fully supports Buddhist studies and has been recognized for having the highest number of monks and novices in the country to successfully pass the Sanamluang Pali examination on ten separate occasions. It has the highest pass rate for scriptural examinations in Thailand and encourages followers to undergo study by providing a systematic approach to Tipitaka and Insight Development Studies. The temple’s Dhamma publications consistently refer to the Four Noble Truths, the Noble Eightfold Path, the Four Foundations of Mindfulness, Insight Development, and numerous other Dhamma subjects. Some individuals make these allegations due to ignorance of facts.

Wat Phra Dhammakaya is accused of not having respect for the Lord Buddha and considers itself superior to the Lord Buddha. This accusation is completely baseless. In fact, to commence and conclude every ceremony at Wat Phra Dhammakaya, the entire congregation pays homage to the Triple Gem, having the Lord Buddha as the principal of the three, and the chanting of these words: “Araham Samma Sambuddho…” the chant that upholds the Lord Buddha. The temple teaches all its followers to venerate and have utmost respect for the Triple Gem, and aspire to be like the Lord Buddha.

Wat Phra Dhammakaya was formally established on Magha Puja Day, February 20, 1970, and declared a legally consecrated temple in 1977. Since its establishment, Wat Phra Dhammakaya has endeavored to propagate Buddhism, and currently has over 4,000 monks and novices, and millions of supporters worldwide.
The motto of Wat Phra Dhammakaya is: “building a true temple, training true monks and promoting people to be truly virtuous.”

Wat Phra Dhammakaya has initiated a number of projects for the dissemination of Buddhism, and to support Buddhism and Thai society. Such projects include:

  • Monthly ceremonies to offer robes, dry goods, supplies, and monetary donations to the 323 temples in the southernmost provinces of Thailand for the past 11 years (a total of 121 occasions). Additionally, the temple has established a fund to support teachers in the South, from which monetary support is provided on a monthly basis. These activities aid and lend moral support to the monastic community and Buddhists living in this region.
  • Studies of Buddhist Scriptures and the Pali language. Wat Phra Dhammakaya has ranked first in the passing rate of the Sanamluang Pali Examinations on ten separate occasions. It has organized annual congratulatory ceremonies for monks and novices attaining the Pali Level 9 and has offered educational funds to exemplary Pali programs throughout Thailand since 1988. Thus, Wat Phra Dhammakaya has been actively involved in promoting and championing the study of Pali.
  • Collaborations with and provisions of support to the monastic community throughout the country to organize bi-annual mass ordination programs for 100,000 monks from every province throughout Thailand, held annually during the summer months since 2010. These programs strive to preserve the rich Buddhist tradition of partaking in higher ordination for the rainy season (vassa), a declining practice in many large cities. These programs have led to an increased number of monks in Thailand since many have decided to remain in the monkhood, taking up residence at various temples throughout Thailand and becoming valuable members of the monastic community. Accordingly, this resolves the issue of the increasing number of abandoned temples and shortages of heirs to Buddhism.
  • Effective dissemination of Buddhism overseas. Wat Phra Dhammakaya presently has 93 international branch centers in 35 countries. And each year several ordination programs catered to local residents in each geographic region are organized. These branch centers have strong relations with Buddhist organizations in their respective countries.

It is quite puzzling for a 45-year old temple with numerous recognitions, leading to the bestowal of ecclesiastical royal titles by HRH the King of Thailand to six of its monks: the abbot, vice-abbot, and several executive assistants to the abbot, to even be considered “non-Buddhist”

 

 


 

Visiting the temple

We have an International Dhammadayada Ordination Program (IDOP) held few times a year. Please visit the IDOP website for the qualification and more information about the availability.

You are welcome to join our activities. However, if you need to book a guided tour with translation in English and Chinese, please use this form.

The temple does not provide a facility for international people to stay over unless during special occasions such as the new year retreat. If you are interested in meditation, you are welcome to book a meditation retreat with our Middle Way Meditation retreat program.

 


 

General questions

The reason a multitude of people come to the temple because the temple does give Buddhist teachings and provide actual trainings. After following the teachings, they saw improvement in their lives, careers, and happiness. In some cases, when they first came to the temple, they donated small amounts, but once they had more, they usually donated more as sharing to make society better is the basic teaching at the temple. Those people who received these precious experiences also invited their friends and family to the temple, and that grew the number of the temple’s followers and this number is still growing.

Current there are 3,000 monks and 600 novice monks in the temple.

The temple’s followers are  from all kinds of social statuses: The society of the temple is a great mixture of scholars and lower-educated people, metropolitans and suburbans, senior and young citizens, rich and poor people who meditate together.

Dhammakaya Monk had society qualification that was ordained by ideology, intense training program, dressed up properly, good manner, having Buddha’s Dhamma, team player, simple quality of life(basic necessities), dedicated spreading the Buddha’s Dhamma.

Temples are similar to schools. There are temples at the neighborhood level, the district level, and the city level. Temples are schools of morality for the communities and there is a need for a large temple that acts like a university for morality, like a central for education for all other temples to help spread the benefits to the people all over the country.

A large temple is, thus, the central for innovation and event planning to spread Buddhism, to inspire excitement towards the development of morality. It is like the locomotive that pulls the train into motion.

Building a large temple that brings together people to study Dhamma and practice meditation is very important and beneficial as long as it is true to its purpose.

When all factors are considered, large temples such as the Dhammakaya Temple is more economical than the cost of building just one large university.

The truth is Buddhist teaching has two levels. The basic level is to live your life in this world. The advance level is a path to enlightenment. Some  people cannot distinguish between the basic and the advance one. They use the advance teaching to show that they are cool. Indeed, they are careless, have no responsibility, and lazy. For instance, garbage around the room, when the elder teach them. They said that take it easy and let it go. Everything was controlled by the mind, or, poor people don’t go to work. They always ask others for help. When people told them to find jobs, they said don’t attach yourself to materialism. You need to let go of everything.

The last teaching before the Buddha went to Nirvana is that Always mindfully take care of yourself and others. He never taught people to be careless nor irresponsibility. For anyone who integrates teaching inappropriately, talking about letting go, no ego, but lack of acts of self discipline and rarely practice meditation, we need to guide them about responsibility to themselves and others.

The teachings in Buddhism is like the heartwood. The ceremonies and art are like the bark and the sapwood. A tree can stand strong and tall only if it has all the heartwood, the sapwood, and the bark.

Buddhist  ancestors understood this concept well and so they organized the ceremonies in Buddhism such as the chanting of the Buddhist metaphysics (Abhidhamma) at funerals, chanting in happy ceremonies, walking clockwise around religious buildings to pay respect, etc., in order to attract people to come and participate in Buddhist ceremonies, which lead to the studies of the teachings and using them in real life.

The temple gets support from its follower who acknowledge numerous works benefitting people in the society done by the temple and would like to support the temple.

 


The Dhammakaya Cetiya

From the recordsGreat Tang Records (大唐西域记) on the Western Regions written by Phra Xuanzang (T51.873a2-13)*, when the Buddha first appointed the shape of all cetiyas, he folded his robes into a square shape and stacked them all together from largest to smallest. He then turned his alms bowl upside down over the folded robes, and said that that is the shape for a stupa-shaped cetiya. This shape has been the model for the building of cetiyas ever since.

Over time, artists started adding tiered umbrellas over top of the round top to show respect, which evolved into permanent structures top of the round top. Some examples are Phra Pathommachedi, Shwedagon Pagoda, or Tibetan cetiyas. Through time, the dome disappeared, leaving only the pointed top, which became the current style fro most cetiyas today.

It is not surprising that the public finds the shape of the Dhammakaya Cetiya to be odd and resembles a sic-fi object. The evolution of the cetiyas’ shape have changed the way everyone perceive the “proper” shapes of cetiyas. However, the Dhammakaya Cetiya is the shape that it is to mirror the same traditional shape given to us by the Lord Buddha, and to symbolise the rising sun, spreading love and kindness, spreading peace to the whole world.

*To the north-west of the capital about 50 li or so we arrive at the town of Ti-wei; 40 li to the north of this town of Po-li. In each of these towns there is a stūpa about three chang (30 feet) in height. In old days when Buddha first attained enlightenment after advancing to the tree of knowledge, he went to the garden of deer;

At this time two householders meeting him, and beholding the brilliant appearance of his person, offered him from their store of provisions for their journey some cakes and honey. The Lord of the world, for their sakes preached concerning the happiness of men and Devās, and delivered to them, his very first disciples, the five rules of moral conduct and the ten good qualities.

When they had heard the sermon, they humbly asked for some object to worship. On this Tathāgata delivered to them some of his hair and nail-cuttings. Taking these, the merchants were about to return to their own country, when they asked of Buddha the right way of venerating these relics.

Tathagata forthwith spreading out his saṃghāti on the around as a square napkin, next laid down his Uttarāsaṅga and then his saṁkakṣikā; again over these he placed as a cover his begging-pot, on which he erected his mendicant’s staff. Thus he placed them in order, making thereby (the figure of) a stūpa.

The two men taking the order, each went to his own town, and then, according to the model which the holy one had prescribed, they prepared to build a monument, and thus was the very first stupa of the Buddhist religion erected.

The Dhammakaya citiya is built correctly by the standards in Buddhism in every way. It is not a deviation from the traditions and the Buddha’s standards in any way. In Buddhism, there are 4 kinds of cetiya.

First, Relic Cetiya contains the relics of the Lord Buddha, or the remains of an enlightened monk. The Dhammakaya Cetiya contains the relics of the Lord Buddha

Second, Memorial Cetiya contains the necessities of the Lord Buddha or enlightened monks such as alms bowl, robes, and other necessary belongings. However, those items are rare and difficult to acquire in the modern age. The Dhammakaya Cetiya contains the necessities of modern monks, so that a thousand year from now people would see the way of life of monks in this era.

Third, Dhamma Cetiya contains the Tripitaka, or the Buddhist Scriptures. The Dhammakaya Cetiya contains the Tripitaka in several different languages, including CD-ROMs of the teachings in Buddhism today.

Fourth, Votive Cetiya contains the statue(s) of the Lord Buddha. The Dhammakaya Cetiya is covered with 300,000 Buddha statues.

In conclusion, the Dhammakaya Cetiya may be considered as all 4 kinds, and is not considered as a non-Buddhist cetiya in any way.

Press are welcome to have an exclusive interviews with the temple’s spoke-person. Please make an appointment here.

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