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”