'Superhuman' claim dogs abbot
Ruling monks have been petitioned to probe Wat Dhammakaya abbot Phra Dhammajayo to determine whether he breached Buddhist doctrine by claiming he is superhuman.
The complaint was lodged at Wat Phichaiyat by Paiboon Nititawan, former chairman of the defunct National Reform Council committee on religious affairs, and Mano Laohavanich, once the top-ranking monk at Wat Dhammakaya. They lodged it with Somdej Phra Phuttha Chinnawong, chief superintendent of the central ecclesiastries and Phra Ratchawisut Vethi, ecclesiastical governor for first region.
Mr Paiboon said Phra Dhammajayo claimed he had encountered the spirit of a man, Chatchai Rojkiratikan, in heaven. The spirit asked the abbot to tell his children they should make merit and leave donations for him, Mr Paiboon said.
It was found later Mr Chatchai was still alive, which proved Phra Dhammajayo's claim about the spirit encounter was untrue. The monk also claimed he met Apple's late co-founder Steve Jobs in heaven, Mr Paiboon said. Mr Paiboon said he wanted the monks to investigate Phra Dhammajayo and send the findings to the Sangha Supreme Council (SSC) to have the abbot defrocked.
Phra Dhammajayo is wanted on an arrest warrant approved by the Criminal Court on charges of laundering money and receiving stolen property worth 1.2 billion baht in connection with the 12-billion-baht Klongchan Credit Union Cooperative embezzlement case. He cited illness as the reason for not turning himself in to Department of Special Investigation (DSI) officials to acknowledge the charges.
Phra Maha Nopporn Boonyachayo, a spokesman for the temple, said Wednesday Phra Dhammajayo is still being treated at the temple. He also insisted the temple had nothing to do with politics. His assertion came after photos online show red-shirt guards mingling with followers at the temple. DSI chief Paisit Wongmuang said officials hope to prevent confrontations if officials move in to arrest the abbot.
Speaking about a meeting on Tuesday between the DSI and Pathum Thani chief monk Phra Theprattanasuthi, who was asked to liaise between the officials and Phra Dhammajayo, Pol Col Paisit said the proposals include doctors from the central authority being sent to check the abbot's condition. If the monk really is critically ill, DSI officials will notify the abbot about his charges at the temple, he added.