Lots of interesting points brought up in this interesting thread...
bodom_bad_boy wrote:Julian Gearing of Asiaweek commented that Widespread negative media coverage at this time was symptomatic of Wat Phra Dhammakaya being made a scapegoat for commercial malpractice in the Thai Buddhist temple community in the wake of the 1997 Asian Financial Crisis.
Apologies to Wat Phra Dhammakaya were published in full after the Thai newspapers and TV channels concerned were successfully sued for slander in the period 2001-3. In 2006 The Thai National Office for Buddhism cleared Wat Phra Dhammakaya's abbot all accusations when he agreed to return all the allegedly embezzled funds to name of the temple. He was subsequently restored to the position of abbot of Wat Phra Dhammakaya.http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wat_Phra_Dhammakaya
Ive been doing a little research on the Dhammakaya and they sound almost like a cult. I could be wrong tho.
GrahamR wrote:I don't want to go into it in detail, other than to say I wouldn't describe it as conventional Theravada Buddhism.
On a positive side, everyone was very friendly and welcoming, but I don't think we will visit again.
GrahamR wrote:Their UK website seemed quite dubious to me - 45 minutes one to one talk with a monk for £5!
Interesting take. What a convenient target a Wat experiencing relatively recent massive growth could provide. That's the first time I came across that possibility. What is it that makes them seem like a cult and not Theravadin though?
Not sure what this last point means, Graham. It costs 5 pounds to have a 45 minute audience with a monk?
gavesako wrote:They are extremely good at marketing themselves. They go in the West wherever there are enough Thais, and even try to take over smaller (e.g. Lao) wats. They ask you to join their temple and contribute regular monthly donations. The monks are trained like business salesmen.
The Thais (who often don't know much Buddhism really) will be easily duped and will offer thousands to help build their megalomaniac Cetiya near Bangkok, but a Westerner interested in BuddhaDhamma should know better.
Namasakarn, Gavesako Bhikkhu. It is necessary to make the distinction between a temple training their ordained in business savvy and their ordained having this acumen from prior life experience. It is requisite of Dhammakaya's ordained that they be college educated, among other things. Many of the ordained are former businesspeople, doctors, etc.
As for the video, this wouldn't be the first time I encountered something like that. No idea where they are anymore, but I used to have pictures and verbal descriptions of pretas, hell realms, etc. from a class. This was long before I heard of Dhammakaya. They were not all from the same source, and they were not from Dhammakaya. I don't think this is so "out there". As you know, many Thai temples incorporate folk-supersitious material. This is especially true when talking of spirits, afterlife, etc. Not that I'm saying Dhammakaya partakes of the superstitous. As a matter of fact that seems to be exactly what they omit.
robertk wrote:I was out at Wat Dhammakaya last month. They are building one of the biggest campus or whatever I have ever seen, probably valued over a couple Billion in US$$ .
I watch their chanel on Thai TV sometimes but the monk who is usually on has a soporific voice and is very repetitive. That is about as much praise as I can manage of Dhammakaya.
Funny...not much at all, it seems.
jcsuperstar wrote:i have a thai friend who studied w/ lp paknam (sod?) and he says that the dhammakaya meditation taught is not the same as what lp paknam taught..
seems to be similar though
robertk wrote:the same but Dhammakay stress a bit more on giving large donations.
jcsuperstar, you have a friend who actually studied with LP Sodh of Wat Paknam? It would be interesting if you could post some information as to the differences between his teachings and those of Dhammakaya. robertk, you say it's the same meditation though. Have you learned from LP Sodh himself or from a different offshoot of his teachings than Dhammakaya?