Wednesday, 1 June 2016


The Dhammakaya organisation, a Buddhist sect which has its headquarters at the vast Wat Phra Dhammakaya temple in Pathum Thani (north of Bangkok), is suing the organisers of Trasher, a Bangkok club night. Dhammakaya has accused Trasher of mocking its sect and disrespecting the Buddhist religion.

At Trasher's most recent event (Bitch You Better Work It Work Work Work It Out) at CentralWorld on Sunday, images of Wat Phra Dhammakaya and the sect's leader Chaiyabun Dhammachayo were shown on a video screen on the dance floor. Trasher has issued a statement apologising for any offence caused, and acknowledging the possibility of a court case brought by Dhammakaya. (The statement concluded with the first verse of Like A Prayer by Madonna.)

Dhammakaya has been described as a cult, and a distortion of Buddhist teaching. It solicits large donations from its rich followers, promising them salvation in exchange for their financial contributions, and there have been allegations of corruption against Dhammachayo for more than fifteen years. Thailand's Supreme Patriarch recommended that he should be defrocked in 1999 after he registered 600 acres of donated land in his own name instead of transferring it to his temple.

The Department of Special Investigations is currently investigating Dhammachayo for receiving millions of baht in embezzled funds from a banker convicted of fraud. Since 2015, the DSI has repeatedly summonsed Dhammachayo to face questioning, though each time he has refused to appear, citing illness.

Last Thursday, he apparently passed out on his way to the police station, and returned to his temple. Although an arrest warrant has been issued, police have made no attempt to detain him. (Thailand's patronage system ensures that well-connected suspects such as Dhammachayo [and others, including Sondhi Limthongkul, Orachorn Thephasadin na Ayudhya, and Vorayuth Yoovidhya] either avoid conviction or receive suspended sentences.)

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