Wat Dhammakaya

Theravāda in the 21st century - modern applications of ancient wisdom

Re: Wat Dhammakaya

Postby Kumara » Wed Sep 25, 2013 6:04 am

ancientbuddhism wrote:New Buddhist Movements In Thailand: Towards an Understanding of Wat Phra Dhammakāya and Santi Asoke, by Rory Mackenzie


That's interesting. A related term "New Religious Movement" is now very much preferred by Scientology as an alternative word for "cult".

A much shorter work on the subject by Rory Mackenzie is found here: http://www.buddhismaustralia.org/Black% ... makaya.htm It provides a (scary) idea of the Dhammakaya movement.
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Re: Wat Dhammakaya

Postby suriyopama » Sat Sep 28, 2013 10:53 am

The large investigation about Dhammakaya and other corrupt monks on 2bkk.com has been ordered to be deleted by the authorities. :weep:

http://2bangkok.com/forum/showthread.php?1784-Thammakai-investigation/page5

Dhammakaya is extremely powerful. Very well positioned inside some factions of the Thai government, the police, the army, businessmen, and supported by very powerful people like the exiled PM Thaksin Shinawatra.

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Re: Wat Dhammakaya

Postby Sokehi » Sat Sep 28, 2013 11:28 am

this is dangerous and certainly not for the well being of many
Get the wanting out of waiting

What does womanhood matter at all, when the mind is concentrated well, when knowledge flows on steadily as one sees correctly into Dhamma. One to whom it might occur, ‘I am a woman’ or ‘I am a man’ or ‘I’m anything at all’ is fit for Mara to address. – SN 5.2

If they take what's yours, tell yourself that you're making it a gift.
Otherwise there will be no end to the animosity. - Ajahn Fuang Jotiko

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Re: Wat Dhammakaya

Postby Kumara » Sun Sep 29, 2013 2:36 am

Kumara wrote:Essentially, its becoming the Thai/Buddhist equivalent of Scientology.

Correction: A closer equivalent is Unification Church or Unificationism, a new religious movement founded in South Korea by Sun Myung Moon. (It's also known as The Holy Spirit Association for the Unification of World Christianity, also known as the Family Federation for World Peace and Unification.)

It's not so strong now, as many people have left and began to expose it, notably Steven Hassan who became a counselor specialized in cults. If you like to help someone who's in a cult, consider getting his book: Freedom of Mind: Helping Loved Ones Leave Controlling People, Cults and Beliefs (Published 2012) http://freedomofmind.com/Media/bookFreedom.php
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Re: Wat Dhammakaya

Postby helparcfun » Sat Oct 05, 2013 10:57 pm

Kumara wrote: If you like to help someone who's in a cult, consider getting his book: Freedom of Mind: Helping Loved Ones Leave Controlling People, Cults and Beliefs (Published 2012) http://freedomofmind.com/Media/bookFreedom.php


Problem for me is that it is most likely only available in the English language. I would need one in Thai language!
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Re: Wat Dhammakaya

Postby Kumara » Sun Oct 06, 2013 12:23 am

helparcfun wrote:
Kumara wrote: If you like to help someone who's in a cult, consider getting his book: Freedom of Mind: Helping Loved Ones Leave Controlling People, Cults and Beliefs (Published 2012) http://freedomofmind.com/Media/bookFreedom.php


Problem for me is that it is most likely only available in the English language. I would need one in Thai language!

It's not for your wife to read. It's for you.
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Re: Wat Dhammakaya

Postby suriyopama » Sun Oct 06, 2013 12:35 am

The Thai Ministry of Education is forcing teachers to be brainwashed with Dhammakaya through coercive measures, not giving teaching licenses to the ones that do not have the :alien: certificate

http://www.manager.co.th/Daily/ViewNews.aspx?NewsID=9560000118533
It´s in Thai, but you can use Google Translate to get a rough idea
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Re: Wat Dhammakaya

Postby Kumara » Sun Oct 06, 2013 1:41 am

suriyopama wrote:The Thai Ministry of Education is forcing teachers to be brainwashed with Dhammakaya through coercive measures, not giving teaching licenses to the ones that do not have the :alien: certificate

http://www.manager.co.th/Daily/ViewNews.aspx?NewsID=9560000118533
It´s in Thai, but you can use Google Translate to get a rough idea

Hmm... This may be what it takes to prompt the respected forest monks and scholar monks and nuns to make their voices better heard. INEB would surely join in to form a strong united stand against Dhammakaya. (I'm told WBF is already pretty much a Dhammakaya arm.) This may just be the tipping point.
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Re: Wat Dhammakaya

Postby appicchato » Sun Oct 06, 2013 4:06 am

...use Google Translate to get a rough idea


Unfortunately, at this point in time, using Google Translate (as well as Bing, and the rest) with English and Thai is utterly hopeless...
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Re: Wat Dhammakaya

Postby Kumara » Tue Oct 08, 2013 8:37 am

Here's an old but still relevant piece on the subject:

Phra Dhammakaya Temple Controversy
Keeping the Faith

Bangkok Post/December 21, 1998

The Dhammakaya movement has been attacked for its unconventional religious teachings, use of mysticism, aggressive fundraising and the cult of personality of its leader. Nevertheless, it continues to woo middle-class, urban Thais, and some might argue those in mainstream religion might learn a trick to two from the movement.

Sanitsuda Ekachai

Its 30,000-million-baht religious monument looks like a spaceship. Its leader's urgent appeal for donations to complete the monument in order to save the world sounds like a doomsday cult's message. And scholars have attacked its teachings as a distortion and commercialisation of Buddhism. Nevertheless, the Dhammakaya movement has been hugely successful and well-supported by educated professionals.

Complete article: http://www.culteducation.com/reference/ ... al644.html
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Re: Wat Dhammakaya

Postby helparcfun » Wed Oct 09, 2013 7:44 pm

I must say that I am getting more and more worried about my wife's involvement with this group. Today she went off to the Temple in Woking and just as we said goodbye she said today is a "big merit day" at the temple and as she said this she looked in the direction of my wallet on the table!! It does very much seem like the only way to gain merit (if that's the right way of putting it) is to donate more money. My understanding of gaining merit was through general good deeds.

I was at the temple last year with my wife for Kathina day where they had the usual ceremony which was all fine until one of their disciples began telling everyone through the temple sound system that everyone should donate more money and that the more money they donate the better their lives would be!!

I sometimes feel that this lot should be investigated by the UK government for the way they try to force their followers to give money. But they do it in quite subtle ways which may make it difficult to prove they're doing anything wrong - if their followers are donating freely then it may be decided that there's nothing untoward going on. It's the way they brainwash their followers into believing all their nonsense that worries me.

Having said all this I must say I am still quite taken with Buddhism generally, especially with their meditation techniques. For me, I am happy doing the mindfulness of breathing or the loving kindness meditation. All the other stuff that comes with it is really not important to me.

Perhaps someone on this forum can explain one aspect of Buddhism which I have been struggling to understand. My understanding of these matters may not be correct so please anyone correct me if I am in error; one of Buddha's teaching is that we should try to eradicate such things as desires or wants because these lead to suffering. My problem with this relates to my wife (and others who attend the DMC temples). She and the others seem to have very strong desires, or wants, to visit the temple and to meditate as often as they can. To my way of thinking this desire is contrary to Buddha's teaching and I wonder whether or not, if the Buddha were around today would he be happy at the way in which DMC seem to promote their brand of Buddhism pretty much like a company may promote its products. My wife (and I'm sure others from the temple do too) sometimes gets to the point where she feels bad if she hasn't found time for her daily meditation - surely this can't be healthy? To my way of thinking meditation should become a natural part of an individual's daily activities. There may be days when events don't allow time for this and if so, well, so be it! Surely an individual should not 'beat them self up" if they haven't managed to meditate everyday? Sometimes I really worry that all this DMC nonsense is going to have a detrimental effect on her over time.

Kind regards all.
Paul.
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Re: Wat Dhammakaya

Postby nibbuti » Thu Oct 10, 2013 12:00 am

helparcfun wrote:Today she went off to the Temple in Woking and just as we said goodbye she said today is a "big merit day" at the temple and as she said this she looked in the direction of my wallet on the table!!

:jumping:

helparcfun wrote:My understanding of gaining merit was through general good deeds.

:bow:

For example, by giving the four requisites: food, clothes, shelter, medicine.

I know someone who almost ruined his family by addiction to giving all his €€ (to local church and relatives).

Perhaps, suggest to your wife the idea of 'idiot compassion' by giving $$ to people who are not really in need, fostering greed & corruption, rather than 'doing good'.

Good luck, friend.
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Re: Wat Dhammakaya

Postby Kumara » Thu Oct 10, 2013 7:04 am

helparcfun wrote:I must say that I am getting more and more worried about my wife's involvement with this group....

Dear Paul,

So, you think you need to do something about it now? She can't help herself, you know? Her belief system has co-opted by exploiting her mental defilements (esp. delusion and desire).

While we use the words "brainwashing", it's technically not the right term in this case. I also doubt if it can apply legally. However, "undue influence" is a legal term, and it's applicable in cultism. You may want to look it up.

What is called "meditation" in Dhammakaya is actually hypnotic trance. In this state, the faculty of discernment is weak, or (perhaps we can say) suspended. So, one becomes highly suggestible. That's why Dhammakaya followers are encouraged to watch DMC as much as they can—supposedly to make more merits!

FYI, in the spectrum of merits according Velama Sutta (AN 9:20), giving is the lowest. In any case, giving is still meritorious. What's more important though is why we give. There's a big difference between giving out of desire and delusion, and giving out of generosity and discernment.

Paul, your wife needs help. Now that you've suggested that you're in UK, I suggest you go to www.cultinformation.org.uk . They may be able to help you better. The book I suggested should help you too. Steve Hassan also has free informative videos at his site, like this one: http://freedomofmind.com/Media/video.php?id=49

You may be reluctant, but the miracle you need is you.
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Re: Wat Dhammakaya

Postby dagon » Thu Oct 24, 2013 12:46 pm

Kumara wrote:
suriyopama wrote:The Thai Ministry of Education is forcing teachers to be brainwashed with Dhammakaya through coercive measures, not giving teaching licenses to the ones that do not have the :alien: certificate

http://www.manager.co.th/Daily/ViewNews.aspx?NewsID=9560000118533
It´s in Thai, but you can use Google Translate to get a rough idea

Hmm... This may be what it takes to prompt the respected forest monks and scholar monks and nuns to make their voices better heard. INEB would surely join in to form a strong united stand against Dhammakaya. (I'm told WBF is already pretty much a Dhammakaya arm.) This may just be the tipping point.


This may interest you - its in Thai but i can make sense of it with Google. My Thai defacto sent me the link when i asked her about Dhammakaya. I am afraid what she had to say is not repeatable of this forum but was a less kind version of what you have been saying. :shock:

metta

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Re: Wat Dhammakaya

Postby Kumara » Mon Oct 28, 2013 3:00 am

dagon wrote:This may interest you - its in Thai but i can make sense of it with Google. My Thai defacto sent me the link when i asked her about Dhammakaya. I am afraid what she had to say is not repeatable of this forum but was a less kind version of what you have been saying. :shock:

Don't see no link there.
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Re: Wat Dhammakaya: Fund Raising Method

Postby Kumara » Mon Oct 28, 2013 3:34 am

Recently someone who attended a Buddhist ceremony at a Thai Wat (temple) in a northern state of Malaysia told me about his experience there. First he saw prominently placed posters of the super-rich: Bill Gates, Warren Buffet, etc. Later, a young monk gave a talk, asking the audience why these people are so rich. He then answered himself that it's because they have done a lot of dana (giving). After that, he began to introduce Dhammakaya with a computer presentation, showing impressive photos, etc.

This may not mean much to many of you here, but for the gullible, materialistic Buddhists (which there are many in Malaysia), I can see how it would work.

This reminds me of an article in Times magazine on Scientology: "The Thriving Cult of Greed and Power: Ruined lives. Lost fortunes. Federal crimes. Scientology poses as a religion but is really a ruthless global scam — and aiming for the mainstream"

In full: https://www.cs.cmu.edu/~dst/Fishman/time-behar.html
Summary and issues around it: Scientology http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Thrivi ... _and_Power
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Re: Wat Dhammakaya

Postby dagon » Mon Oct 28, 2013 1:55 pm

Kumara wrote:
dagon wrote:This may interest you - its in Thai but i can make sense of it with Google. My Thai defacto sent me the link when i asked her about Dhammakaya. I am afraid what she had to say is not repeatable of this forum but was a less kind version of what you have been saying. :shock:

Don't see no link there.


Sorry, i was not being mindful, grr
http://board.postjung.com/654966.html

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Re: Wat Dhammakaya

Postby terryshine » Mon Oct 28, 2013 4:53 pm

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Halemalu wrote:FYI: I have been to the Dhammakaya Temple in Bangkok. My fiancee is a member. I have attended their meditation retreats. I have attended many of their ceremonies. I have toured the facilities extensively. I have had monks in my home here in Hawaii. I even have met with both the Vice Abbot and the Abbot. We are also currently looking to establish our retreat center here in Hawaii as a branch of the Middle Way Retreats under the Dhammakaya Foundation.

There is much discussion if the organization can be considered truely Buddhists. Let me assure you that it is. The inner direction is purely Buddhist. The problem is that because of it's size it has to handle things a bit differently than most Buddhists Temples.

With up to 100,000 attending a normal Sunday meditation service and more than 300,000 attending special holidays, things need to be done a bit differently. Modern technology needs to be used like big screen TVs and massive sound systems just to cover the audiances. The structures are simply designed but are massive as to accommodate so many people. There seems to be huge amounts of money donated, but that is to be expected with so many people attending.

The Temple started off modestly many years ago but the message and technique they offer to the public is so accessable and beneficial the crowds just grew larger and larger. With larger crowds and greater donations they were obligated to build structures that could accomodate all those people and develope alternate ways to give the people what they desired.

Because of all of this, it does look like on the surface to be just a money obsessed cult. But believe me it is not. It has become so popular because they emphasize the importance of meditation to gain merit and have encouraged laypeople to learn and share in the benefits of meditation. Unlike other Theravaden groups that mostly promote a monastic life, scripture and alms giving, the Dhammakaya Temple has put a greater importance on meditation for not only the Monks but also the laypeople. The laypeople have embraced this concept and that is why we see such hugh numbers attending the Dhammakaya Temple.

In modern times with so many followers different techniques are required to accommodate and satisfy the spiritual hunger of all those individuals. It is these "new" techniques that are frowned upon and misunderstood by so many traditionalists. Believe me though, the message is still the same. The Dhammakaya foundation has just wraped it in a new package!

If you have any specific questions just let me know and I will be glad to answer them the best I can.

Dear Halemalu

In the above you have said that this is purely Buddhist but you yourself do not seem to understand the basics of the Buddha’s dynamic and innovative teachings. Admittedly this is difficult and perhaps made more so by many wrong teachings being available. The teachings are, that life for all, is impermanent, unsatisfactory and non self.

Non self does'nt mean that you have one and need to get rid of it, it means you don’t have one to start with! Therefore the idea of giving dana which they encourage to the hilt, is undesirable. Someone who wishes to attain a true knowledge of reality does’nt want any kamma –good or bad, both of which keeps one in samsara! Furthermore to pursue the dana aspect in this manner can endorse the self-view that is there already. Who is it that gives the dana and who is it that receives the benefit? Getting right view is important for your practice.

The method of practice is interesting certainly it is not the Buddha’s teachings though they like to maintain that it is. I believe that they have done much research in order to provide links to the Buddha, but have failed up to now as there are’nt any. It was started by Aj Sot and below is an extract from an in-depth analysis.

Extract Catharine Newell thesis April 08

5. Dhammakaya meditaton: analysis of content

Mettanando Bhikkhu provided the first useful analysis of possible precursors of dhammakaya meditation. Generally dhammakaya meditation is written about in uncertain, cautious tones, as Jackson shows here:
Luang Phor Sot’s interpretation of the term dhammakaya and his meditation
system, which involved meditations on psychic centres inside the body

------------------

55 Mackenzie (2007), p11-12
56 Mackenzie (2007) p112.
255


resembling Yogic cakras, appear to have been influences either by Mahayana
Buddhism or by Yogic meditation systems.57

The assumption that dhammakaya meditation must have something to do with Mahayana or tantric Buddhism is common. Such an assumption leads us to question how it was that Sot, a Thai monk in the Theravada tradition, taught a system based on certain premises regarding the nature of embodiment unknown in modern Thailand other than in immigrant communities.58 Jeffrey Bowers compares dhammakaya meditation and Tibetan Tantric practices (and specifically concepts of the body) and notes that there
are “strong similarities.”59 The only possible explanation for this, Bowers suggests, must
be a direct personal influence on Sot in the years before he presented his “rediscovery”
to the world:


It is known that Luang Phor Sodh spent many years studying at Wat Phrachetupon, or Wat Po, and other temples in Bangkok. Wat Po is well known for being a school, and is considered by some to be Thailand’s first university. It is likely that monks from different countries, including those practicing Tantric Buddhism, could have been present with Luang Phor Sodh, and taught him about Tantric ideas such as mantras, mandalas, bodily centers etc.60 Mackenzie is more cautious, describing such a scenario as “just within the realms of
possibility.”61 Yet as I have shown above there is already a considerably body of (albeit
in part somewhat inaccessible) literature describing Theravada practices sharing just such concepts as “mantras, mandalas, bodily centers etc.” There is no doubt that dhammakaya meditation is based upon the broader yog_vacara tradition in its content.
Even without depending upon Mettanando to draw out the comparisons, it is clear that
there is a relationship between the practices described as part of the Suk tradition and
dhammakaya meditation. Both systems recognise the location of the same bases in the
body. Both make use of the samm_ araha_ mantra. They also share the use of nimittas.
In the case of dhammakaya meditation this takes the form of a kind of adapted kasi_a of
light. The Sot system does not feature the visualisation of bodies, thus we may assume
that this key element was either adapted from another system as yet uncovered, or was
the creation of Sot himself, grafted onto an existing, preparatory system of concentration.62


57 Jackson, (1989), p201.
58 i.e. Mahayana Buddhism is practised by some Chinese Buddhist communities in Thailand
59 Bowers (1996), p43.
60 Bowers p45
61 Mackenzie, (2007) p108.


Below I show two different illustrations of the bodily bases, one from Suk’s system (from the Yas_tharat text) and one from Sot’s, which shows clearly the borrowing of Sot’s dhammakaya from Suk’s system.



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Left: map of the bodily bases as found in the Suk Kai Theuan system (as reproduced in Chai Yasotharat text, p394). Right: Map of the bodily bases as found in the dhammakaya system, here represented by Wat Dhammakaya's (Thai language?) Kham son ruang kan sang barami khong wat thammakai (page 86)63. The correspondences are clear.


6. The origin of the use of “dhammakya”

Although the dhammakaya system clearly owes a great deal to the preceding Suk
system, the phrase “dhammakaya” is notably absent from any of the texts I have seen
from the Suk tradition. There are however accounts of the phrase from a number of
62 Crosby……………………..




The Aj Sot meditation practice may be useful and may produce good results certainly in terms of concentration. I don’t know as I’ve never tried it, much preferring the traditional Theravada practices of anapanasati – concentration and insight.
Unfortunately the concentration produced, if used unwisely can serve to increase the defilement's of greed and hatred.
The group on the face of it looks very much like a spiritual Monsato. This is a shame as they obviously attract many to meditate – albeit for the wrong reasons (for ME to gain merit and ME to have a good life, or worse still afterlife!). This is the opposite of the Buddha’s teachings.
Furthermore many Theravada groups including monks encourage lay people to meditate and it’s ludicrous to say otherwise.
Last edited by terryshine on Mon Oct 28, 2013 9:39 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Wat Dhammakaya

Postby Sokehi » Mon Oct 28, 2013 9:00 pm

terryshine wrote:Furthermore many Theravada groups including monks encourage lay people to meditate and it’s ludicrous to say otherwise.


This!
Get the wanting out of waiting

What does womanhood matter at all, when the mind is concentrated well, when knowledge flows on steadily as one sees correctly into Dhamma. One to whom it might occur, ‘I am a woman’ or ‘I am a man’ or ‘I’m anything at all’ is fit for Mara to address. – SN 5.2

If they take what's yours, tell yourself that you're making it a gift.
Otherwise there will be no end to the animosity. - Ajahn Fuang Jotiko

https://www.youtube.com/user/Repeataarrr
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Re: Wat Dhammakaya

Postby terryshine » Tue Oct 29, 2013 1:06 am

Sokehi wrote:
terryshine wrote:Furthermore many Theravada groups including monks encourage lay people to meditate and it’s ludicrous to say otherwise.


This!



This?
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