Something I stumbled upon:
The movement, centered on Wat Thammakaai in Pathumthani province, north of Bangkok, is led by Phra Thammachayo who "describes himself in his self-styled hagiography as the Buddha reincarnate and peace messenger sent to save the world from the calamities wrought by the evil forces of late modernity" (p. 42). Although Phra Thammachayo was attacked by the highly respected theologian, PhraPrayut Payutto, for what Payutto deemed were heretical deviations from Buddhist teachings—especially for Thammachayo's advocacy of attaining ultimate salvation through a shortcut centered on the practice of the technique of visualization of the "body" of the dhamma (the meaning of Thammakaai)—the powerful backers of Thammachayo ensured that the leadership of the establishment sangha did not pursue any heresy charge. Thammachayo was, however, found to have mismanaged the huge endowments of Thammakaai and had to (at least temporarily) step down as the abbot of the main temple-monastery.
Taylor sees Thammakaai as appealing to the Thai bourgeoisie through a "consumerist interpretation" of Buddhist doctrine. "The more money donated to the monastery the better the chances of accruing direct (spiritual) merit, which will in turn produce greater (material) benefits in the present and future lives" (59). The donations have made possible the creation of Wat Thammakaai, a "fantasy place", a "simulated mirrored reality, an imaginary world of tomorrow, situated here and now" (53).
Extracted from a book review by Charles Keyes, Professor Emeritus of Anthropology and International Studies, University of Washington on Buddhism and Postmodern Imaginings in Thailand: The Religiosity of Urban Space.
By James Taylor. Farnham, Surrey and Burlington, Vermont: Ashgate, 2008, vii + 244 pages, ISBN 978-0-7546-6247-1 (hardcover) £55.00. (http://www.globalbuddhism.org/10/keyes09.htm