Phra Dhammachayo: Charges of corruption renewed

Phra Dhammachayo: Charges of corruption renewed

Late supreme patriarch wanted him expelled for violating monks' code of conduct (Patimokkha) & now another violation looms in 12-billion-baht embezzlement case.

Phra Dhammachayo, founder, leader and "abbot" of the Dhammakaya Temple, has faced charges of corruption and fraud. The Dhammakaya sect has sparked controversy for years because of both its opulent style and unorthodox approach to Buddhism and wealth. The National Reform Council's committee on religious affairs has called for Phra Dhammachayo to be defrocked. (AFP file photo, 2001)


NRC urges Dhammachayo defrocking

Reformers want 16 year-old saga revived
Nattaya Chetchotiros

The National Reform Council’s (NRC) committee on religious affairs has called for Phra Dhammachayo, former abbot of Wat Phra Dhammakaya, to be defrocked.

NRC member Paibul Nititawan said Wednesday Phra Dhammachayo had violated the Buddhist monks’ code of conduct (Patimokkha).

He cited a letter, dated April 26, 1999, and written by the late supreme patriarch, His Holiness Somdet Phra Nyanasamvara.

In the letter, the late supreme patriarch listed two infringements by Phra Dhammachayo.

First, Phra Dhammachayo is said to have distorted Buddhist doctrines, which resulted in conflicts among Buddhist monks.

Second, he was reluctant to transfer to Wat Phra Dhammakaya 1,500 rai of land donated to him by his followers.

The letter, which was sent to the Supreme Sangha Council (SSC), suggested the monk be defrocked. However, the SSC did not defrock Phra Dhammachayo.

The matter was discussed at a meeting by the NRC’s committee on Tuesday, according to a Facebook post by council member Paisal Puechmongkol on Wednesday.

Instead of defrocking Phra Dhammachayo, the SSC ordered those concerned to force the monk to transfer the land to the temple. Phra Dhammachayo later agreed to turn over the land, and public prosecutors withdrew a civil suit against him in August, 2006.

At the time, the SSC acknowledged the late supreme patriarch’s order that Phra Dhammachayo should be defrocked for the infringement he had committed, said Mr Paisal. However, no further action was taken to enforce the order.

At Tuesday’s meeting, several NRC members pointed out the government should be responsible for enforcing the SSC’s resolution regarding the late supreme patriarch’s recommendation, said Mr Paisal.

The letter and subsequent developments are not new. However, the issue has arisen again in the context of the religious reforms which the National Reform Council (NRC) is considering as part of changes to a new charter.

The National Office of Buddhism (NOB) was unable to explain why the SSC’s resolution had not been implemented, said Mr Paibul, also chairman of the NRC’s religious affairs committee. “Since no action has been taken against Phra Dhammachayo, the NRC’s religious affairs committee will have to follow up on the case to find out why nothing has been done for so long,” said Mr Paibul.

Meanwhile, the NOB and other concerned agencies will be invited for discussions on the most recent allegation concerning Phra Dhammachayo and Wat Phra Dhammakaya.

It is alleged that more than 800 million baht was donated to Phra Dhammachayo by former board chairman Supachai Srisupa-aksorn of the Klongchan Credit Union Co-operative.

Mr Supachai is a key suspect in the 12-billion-baht Klongchan Credit Union Co-operative embezzlement scandal. If the monk is found guilty of accepting Mr Supachai’s money, he will have committed another violation of the Buddhist monks’ code of conduct, said Mr Paibul.

Ostentatious ceremonies such as this mass ordination of 100,000 monks have led to widespread controversy over Wat Phra Dhammakaya. (AP file photo)

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  • abbot (noun): the head monk at a temple - เจ้าอาวาส
  • according to (prep): as stated or reported by somebody/something - ตามคำบอกเล่า, ตามรายงาน
  • affairs: events affecting a government, military, organisation, etc. - กรณียกิจ, กิจธุระ
  • agency (noun): a government department that provides a particular service - หน่วยงานราชการ
  • allegation: an accusation; a statement that someone has done something wrong or illegal even though this has not been proved - ข้อกล่าวหา
  • alleged: claimed to be true, even though this has not yet been proved - ที่กล่าวหา
  • approach: a way of doing or dealing with something; a particular way of doing something or thinking about something - การจัดการกับปัญหา วิธีการทำให้ถึงจุดหมาย
  • board: a group of people who have the responsibility of managing important business or government activities - คณะกรรมการ
  • call for: request or ask someone to do something - ขอ, ขอร้อง, เรียกร้อง
  • case: a matter that is being officially investigated, especially by the police - คดี
  • ceremony (noun): a formal public event - งานพิธี
  • chairman: the person in charge of a committee, a company, etc - ประธาน
  • charge: to accuse someone officially of committing a crime - ตั้งข้อกล่าวหา
  • charter: a constitution - รัฐธรรมนูญ
  • cite: to mention something as an example - กล่าวถึง
  • co-operative: a business or farm owned and run by the people involved, with the profits shared by them - สมาคมสหกรณ์
  • code of conduct: rules of proper behaviour for a particular job, organisation, etc. -
  • commit: to do something wrong or illegal - ทำความผิด
  • committee: a group of people who are chosen, usually by a larger group, to make decisions or to deal with a particular subject - คณะกรรมการ
  • concerned: involved in something, or affected by something - เกี่ยวข้องกับ ที่สัมพันธ์กับ
  • concerning: about - เกี่ยวกับ
  • conflicts: angry disagreements between people or groups - ความขัดแย้ง
  • consider: to give careful thought to something before making a decision - พิจารณา
  • context (noun): the situation in which something happens and that helps you to understand it - บริบท (คำหรือข้อความแวดล้อมที่ช่วยให้เข้าใจความหมาย
  • controversy: a disagreement that a lot of people have strong feelings about - ความขัดแย้ง
  • council: a group of people chosen to give advice, make rules, do research, provide money - สภา, คณะกรรมการ
  • credit union: an organization that is run like a bank but run by members who can obtain loans from their combined savings; a savings and loan cooperative - สหกรณ์ออมทรัพย์, สถาบันการเงินเครดิตยูเนียน
  • defrock: to officially remove a monk priest from his job, because he has done something wrong - ทำให้สึกจากการเป็นพระ
  • development: a new event or stage that is likely to affect what happens in a continuing situation - ความคืบหน้า
  • discussion: conversation; talk - การสนทนา, การอภิปราย
  • distort: to change something such as information so that it is not longer true or accurate - บิดเบือน
  • distorted (verb): changed something such as information, colour, etc. so that it is no longer true or accurate - บิดเบือน
  • donate: to give something such as money or goods to an organisation, especially to a temple, charity, school, political party, etc. - บริจาค
  • embezzlement: the crime of secretly taking money that is in your care or that belongs to an organisation or business you work for - การยักยอกเงิน, การฉ้อโกงเงิน
  • enforce : to make sure laws are obeyed - บังคับให้ใช้, บังคับให้ทำ, ใช้กำลังบังคับให้ปฏิบัติตาม
  • follow up (verb): to find out more about something that somebody has told you or suggested to you - ติดตามผลของ
  • follower: a person who believes in and practices a religion -
  • former: of or in an earlier time; before the present time or in the past - อดีต, แต่ก่อน
  • founder (noun): a person who establishes an institution, business, or organisation - ผู้ก่อตั้ง
  • fraud: the crime of intentionally deceiving someone or cheating in order to gain an advantage or benefit - การฉ้อโกง การหลอกลวง เล่ห์เพทุบาย
  • guilty: having been decided by a court of law that you committed the crime your were accused of - มีความผิด
  • implement: to make something such as an idea, plan, system or law start to work and be used - นำแผนหรือนโยบายมาปฏิบัติ, นำมาใช้
  • infringement: breaking a rule, law, etc. - การฝ่าฝืน,การละเมิด
  • invite: to ask somebody formally to go somewhere or do something - เชิญ
  • issue: a problem that needs to be considered - ประเด็น
  • key: very important - ที่สำคัญ
  • late: dead - ที่ล่วงลับไปแล้ว
  • meanwhile: at the same time - ในเวลาเดียวกัน
  • member: a person, a country or an organization that has joined a particular group, club or team - สมาชิก
  • national (adjective): for the whole country - แห่งชาติ, ของชาติ
  • opulent: showing riches and wealth -
  • ordination: the act or ceremony of making someone a monk, priest or other religious leader - การบวช, พิธีบวช
  • point out: to mention something in order to give somebody information about it or make them notice it - ชี้ให้เห็น, บ่งชี, ชี้, ระบุ
  • post: to put a notice, etc. in a public place so that people can see it - ปิดประกาศ
  • recent: happening or starting a short time ago - เร็วๆ นี้
  • recommendation: a suggestion or piece of advice about how to solve a problem, deal with a situation - คำแนะนำ หรือข้อเสนอแนะ
  • reform: a change that is intended to correct a situation that is wrong or unfair - การแก้ไข การปฏิรูป
  • reformer: a person making improvements to the way an organization or society works - ผู้ปฏิรูป
  • regarding: concerning somebody/something; about somebody/something - เกี่ยวกับ
  • religious (adj.): relating to religion, or to the beliefs and practices of a particular religion - เกี่ยวกับศาสนา
  • reluctant: not very willing to do something and therefore slow to do it - ไม่เต็มใจ
  • resolution: an official decision that is made after a group or organisation have voted - มติ
  • responsible for: to have a duty to do something - มีความรับผิดชอบ
  • result in: cause to happen -
  • revive: to come or bring something back to existence or use - ฟื้นฟู, ทำให้เกิดขึ้นอีก
  • saga: a long complicated series of related usually negative events - การเล่าอย่างยืดยาว
  • Sangha: ordained Buddhist monks or nuns - สงฆ์
  • scandal (noun): a situation in which people behave in a dishonest or immoral way that shocks people - เรื่องอื้อฉาว
  • sect: a small group of people who belong to a particular religion but who have some beliefs or practices which separate them from the rest of the group - นิกาย (ทางศาสนา),กลุ่ม, พรรค
  • spark: to make something happen - ก่อให้เกิด
  • subsequent: happening or coming after something else - ซึ่งตามมา
  • suggest: to mention an idea or a plan for somebody else to think about - เสนอ, เสนอแนะ
  • supreme: most important, or most powerful - สูงสุด
  • Supreme Patriarch: the head of the Buddhist monks in Thailand - พระสังฆราช
  • suspect: a person who is thought to have committed a crime - ผู้ต้องสงสัย
  • transfer: to officially arrange for someone else to be the owner of something - โอน
  • unorthodox: eccentric, untraditional, not following the usual or traditional way of doing things - นอกรีตนอกรอย, นอกทาง, นอกคัมภีร์, ที่ฝ่าฝืนจารีตประเพณี
  • violate: to do something that is against a law, rule or agreement - ฝ่าฝืน, ละเมิด
  • violation: an action that is against a law, agreement, principle, etc. - การฝ่าฝืน
  • wealth: a large amount of money, property, etc. that a person or country owns - ความมั่งคั่ง
  • widespread: happening or existing in many places, or affecting many people - อย่างแพร่หลาย
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