Luang Pu 'makes merit' at Pak Nam temple

Luang Pu 'makes merit' at Pak Nam temple

Luang Pu Buddha Issara (right) holds talks with Phra Prommoli, the assistant abbot of Wat Pak Nam, about the Supreme Sangha Council's decision to clear the abbot of Wat Dhammakaya. Phra Prommoli is one of the members of the council. (Photo by Patipat Janthong)
Luang Pu Buddha Issara (right) holds talks with Phra Prommoli, the assistant abbot of Wat Pak Nam, about the Supreme Sangha Council's decision to clear the abbot of Wat Dhammakaya. Phra Prommoli is one of the members of the council. (Photo by Patipat Janthong)

Luang Pu Buddha Isara led his followers to Pak Nam temple on Saturday to protest against the Supreme Sangha Council's decision not to defrock Phra Dhammachayo, the abbot of Wat Phra Dhammakaya.

The activist abbot of Wat Oam Noi in Nakhon Pathom, who was also a co-leader of the People's Democratic Reform Committee, is using his popular Facebook page to question the decision of the council. He urged people to "make merit" with him at Wat Pak Nam in Phasi Charoen district of western Bangkok.

"I urge all Thais to sanction all members of the Supreme Sangha Council. Let's not pay respect, wai, help or give alms to them. Let's not even look at them or talk to them until they are aware of their duties and do something good for Buddhism," he wrote on Facebook on Saturday.

The abbot of Wat Pak Nam is the acting chief of the council of elders and a number of its members came from the temple. As well, Dhammakaya originated from the old monastery.

After reaching the temple at 1pm on Saturday, Luang Pu had talks with Phra Prommoli, the assistant abbot of Wat Pak Nam, about the council's order. Phra Prommoli is also one of the members of the council.

Thai media reported that apart from fruit, vegetables and sandals, Luang Pu made unconventional offerings to the monks at Wat Pak Nam: dokmai chan (flowers made of sawdust typically given to guests to throw into the fire at a cremation), underwear, pestles and 1,000 baht in cash. He did not clarify the meaning of such offerings.

On Friday, the Supreme Sangha Council cleared Phra Dhammachayo of wrongdoing in a case dating back 16 years, saying he had already transferred donated assets to the temple.

The resolution went against the written recommendation of the late supreme patriarch, His Holiness Somdet Phra Nyanasamvara, that Phra Dhammachayo should be defrocked for having committed a grave sin.

The abbot had been accused in 1999 of failing to transfer to Phra Dhammakaya temple's assets including 1,500 rai of land plus cash, with acombined value of 900 million baht, donated to him by his followers.

The transfer of the donated assets showed that Phra Dhammachayo had done nothing that violated Buddhism, the council concluded.

The letter from the late supreme patriarch also accused Phra Dhammachayo of distorting Buddhist doctrines, but the Sangha Council was silent on that issue.

Wat Phra Dhammakaya in Pathum Thani is the richest and largest Buddhist temple in Thailand, supported by billions of baht in donations with many prominent Thais among its followers.

Followers are encouraged to donate to improve their next life, which critics say runs counter to the Buddhist principle that believers donate to reduce their feeling of attachment and do not expect anything in return.


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