What is the status of cracking down Dhammakaya?

Anyone knows anything more than internet about Dhammakaya?

Years ago I read a detailed history and facts about the cult (lost the link to the PDF), without it the cult looks legitimate Theravada. Look at the Wikipedia, it looks perfectly fine, even local news here report it as Buddhism, and the UFO still shining bright.

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Dhammakaya is a criminal cult, which has recently been the subject of a billion dollar financial scandal. There was a long standoff at the monastery, as the monks and followers obstructed the police from arresting the abbot so he could respond to the criminal allegations.

Interestingly enough, he used the excuse of ill health to avoid having to testify, which is exactly the same excuse offered by George Pell, the ranking Australian Catholic cardinal, to avoid having to testify on child abuse.

To get an idea of the size of this issue, don’t think that there were a few police who tried to get into the monastery. No, there were 4,500 officials camped outside the temple for weeks. Dhammakaya is extremely dangerous, and their threat to Buddhism, especially in Thailand, should not be underestimated.



And another controversial Buddhist sects… IMO. :slight_smile:

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Yes, they’re not the only one, although they are certainly the biggest and most dangerous cult in Theravada circles, and possibly all of Buddhism.


Did you mean this PDF about the esoteric teachings of Dhammakaya?

In my humble opinion Dhammakaya is well on its way to become a religion in its own right. It’s just as Buddhist as the LDS Church is Christian or as Christians are Judaic. And it is culty as heck. Of course, we should be very cautious with allegations of cult-like behaviour as all new religious movements look weird to the outsiders. Mormons (sorry, I am fascinated with those guys, studying their beliefs, history and sociology is kind of a hobby for me) are a solid and respectable religion now, but they started out as a creepy totalitarian cult with plans of installing a theodemocracy. Christianity basically started out as an eschatological Jewish cult saying that a convicted and executed criminal was at the very least the direct progeny of God. Bart Ehrmann gives a wonderful, albeit a bit exaggerated example of what the early Christians could have looked like for the Jews: Imagine someone telling you that David Koresh is the Ancient of Days, Lord God Sabaoth the Almighty, Jehova the King of the World. I don’t know about you, but after that this wacko wouldn’t be within a mile’s radius from me.

In fact, if you come to think of it, even the very early Sangha looked a bit culty to some people: remember all these guys and Brahmins calling the Buddha ‘baldy’, etc.? Unlike, say, Christianity, ther wasn’t really anything deeply outrageous that the early Buddhists believed, but I think everyone would agree that for the people not used to the Ancient Indic cultural trappings and having little or no knowledge about the Buddhism and its cultural history, there can be some culty vibes coming from the sight of the Sangha. Not saying Buddhism is a cult, not saying it ever was, just pointing out it could look like one for an unsophisticated observer.

In case of Dhammakaya we are dealing with a different story altogether. Yeah, the earliest Buddhist Sangha looked a bit culty, and Jesus was, more or less, a cultist preacher, and Mohammed killed a few hundred people here and there in pretty abhorrent ways including putting hits on his political or ideological opponents, but I presume these religions and religious figures are united in being sincere and honest about their beliefs. The Wat Phra Dhammakaya is playing in another league alongside such political and business geniuses as Joseph Smith (if anyone Mormon is reading this, terribly sorry, but he was a con artist) and Ron L. Hubbard, the league of power and money thirsty narcissists not believing a single word coming out of their mouth (Hubbard actually could have believed himself after he went completely nuts later in his life) and wishing to say anything to gain more influence over minds and wallets of their followers. If someone would ask me to name three religions one should never ever even think about following, disregarding the wacky fundamentalist Islamism of ISIS, of course, my answer would definitely be Jehova’s Witnesses, Scientology, and Dhammakaya. I am usually reluctant to call religions bad, but these three are just evil cults, and I am ashamed by the very idea that the Dhammakaya leadership dared to call themselves followers of the Dhamma.

Sorry for the rambling comment, but when I see or hear somethign about Dhammakaya, the world goes red in front of my eyes, it’s for me the same thing as Trump is for many feminists.


Not this one, but this is interesting to read.

4500 officials trying so hard to get one guy, that’s serious. The worst part is that they have so many faithful followers, even if they managed to close down Dhammakaya in Thailand, it will still survive in other countries, spreading ignorance with its esoteric teachings.

Chill, do what you can and let go of the rest. Maybe someone should create a website dedicated to facts about the cult. dhammakayacult.com anyone?

I don’t know how fast they spread in western country…

In my country, they are exist. But just few people (as I know)…

I think the most dangerous is Mi Le Da Dao. They spread rapidly, they have missionaries like Ch*ist religion… They’re so annoying like a thorn in the Buddha Sasana…

I know they are not a Buddhist, but now they declared one of many sects of Buddhism in my country… (I know why they can do it… :3 )


What is it that made them so successful and attractive to their followers?

With metta


Wow! This the first time I hear about this one!
Very clever marketing strategy these guys have.
The “fat Buddha” images - aka Maitreya - are indeed found everywhere, they don’t even have to launch a new idol!
Human beings being human beings… :sob:

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Oh really ? Have you heard about “Buddha boy” (Ram Bahadur Bomjon) about whom there was a popular documentary in the west ? He grew up to become a criminal cult leader, killing and torturing a lot of woman. He is untouchable because he is friend with the prime minister and many politicians due to his large following.

Seriously? You must see how they attract many followers… They can mixing many religion doctrines to attract their followers… :frowning:

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I have heard who is he… I think he’s just small threat (well, I didn’t have exact data how fast his doctrine spread, but his doctrine isn’t exist in my country). I heard he is enlightened like Buddha… Sounds like LSY who declared he is a living Buddha… :frowning:

Good point. Thankfully he is just a local phenomenon in Nepal

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I made it out of topic… I’m sorry… Is it okay? :sweat_smile:

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Not sure about all the factors, but one of them is surely how easy their teaching is. ‘Give us as much dana as you can and stick around us and you will be reborn in a higher heaven. By the way, wanna buy this awesome amulet protecting you from nuclear strikes, AIDS, and bad breath?’


As I know, they attract followers with many program like meditation with crystal balls, Puja, etc. Dhammakaya monks dressed very neatly.

They made everything looks so nice. :rainbow:

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Really? :joy:

Well, there is some artistic license in that specific statements, but yeah, they sell amulets, of course. It makes them money, why shouldn’t they?


Well the Buddha was not pleased when he was misrepresented, right? He said the true gold (of the dhamma) disappears when false gold takes its place. Lazy, fearful, uneducated, superstitious lay followers = conversion, will believe anything they hear, doesn’t know the true dhamma, low tolerance for delayed gratification required by the real path. False gold wins.


There are various things, including nice neat monasteries, good PR (the leaders met at Uni while studying advertising), and so on.

Not the most important fact, but one that I have seen commonly, is that they co-opt and corrupt western Buddhist scholarship. Basically what happened was that many years ago they were critiqued by a number of prominent scholar monks in Thailand, the best known being Chao Khun Dhammapitaka (Payutto), who argued that their whole “nibbana is a higher self” idea was against the Pali canon. I mean, it’s crazy that this even needs to be said, but that’s where we are. Since then they have put a lot of effort into gaining intellectual credibility by throwing money around in western Universities. They sponsor courses and the like, and send their students, who do Phds arguing that Dhammakaya is the real teaching of the Buddha. Western academics—some of them at least—put up with it because, well, they need the money. Most western academics have no idea what is going on. As you can see in the recent media coverage in the Bangkok Post, they are experts at flipping the narrative from “nutty cult swindles billions of dollars” to “progressive religious movement is persecuted by corrupt establishment.” Then Dhammakaya gets to boast that they know better than the mere local monks, because their students are educated in the more prestigious foreign universities.

This is only a small part of their operation, but it is a significant one. To appreciate it, take on board the disturbing fact that in Thai Universities, practically all of the Dhamma student groups are Dhammakaya. From reports I have heard, they essentially have a monopoly in the Universities, which is not an area that traditional Buddhist groups operate in. Imagine what impact this will have as these students rise in Thai society.