ManEagle wrote: TRobinson465 wrote:
identification wrote:Can this thread possibly be a bit less one sided? Can practitioners in the Dhammakaya come in here and stop letting these people crap on the lineage?
There's like 3 people here who spam hate posts against the temple so its hard to compete. I was going to come straighten up all this slander but was apparently banned on accident after one post. The ban was lifted eventually so perhaps it was just a mistake. I will be open minded and assume no ill will in banning me. I will admit i was kinda bitter from the ban and made this thread on Reddit as a response https://www.reddit.com/r/Buddhism/comme ... es_of_the/
But since I was unbanned feel free to ask me about what Dhammakaya is really like or the current case. I have been going to Dhammakaya for a good 15 years or so and I am fairly well versed in the current case if you would like the facts regarding the case and Dhammakaya's side.
It's been a while since I've commented on this topic but have nevertheless been following it with interest and have been waiting for someone like you to 'stand up' for Dhammakaya and to tell another side of the story.
What I find interesting and perhaps 'telling' is the lack of response to your recent posts from some of the quite prolific posters here who have supplied many negative news stories about Dhammakaya. Indeed, I may have done so myself too.
Having re-read some of the previous posts over the 5 or 6 years there has been some very interesting views which I think would be profitable for you and indeed others to re-visit. This one I find especially interesting and I wonder if you'd care to make any comments: http://www.dhammawheel.com/viewtopic.php?f=13&t=339&start=100#p266210
My main concern is how many of their followers (my wife included) are, on the face of it, being 'taught', either by visiting the temple and/or by watching their DMC TV, that donating more
money to the temple will gain them more
merit and therefore give them a better future life/lives. I have actually heard this line been spouted by other followers as well as by Dhammakaya officials. I have also been informed that drinking alcohol means I am going to Buddhist hell.
My wife even refuses to have friends and relatives around our house because she doesn't want to have alcohol in the house or serve it to anyone! Don't get me wrong, the amount of alcohol I consume in one year I could count on one hand. I am not a drinker but I think it is wrong for me or anyone to force my views or beliefs on anyone else.
Many of the Dhammakaya followers who I know reasonable well seem to be somehow bribed into donating for fear of the consequences of not donating. In other words, they are not donating because of any charitable feeling but because they believe they will get something good back at some point in the future. This doesn't seem very Buddhist to me, but then perhaps my undesrtanding of Buddhism isn't very good!
So, you see, my problem with Dhammakaya is that it has almost taken over my wifes' life. Meditation is one thing but all the rest of the nonsense they spout is way the over the top for me and is far too much like American evangelical Christians.
Hi there, thanks for the inquiry, Ill try my best to respond to this to the best of my ability.
You are more or less right, Dhammakaya does indeed teach that donating more leads to a better future, that includes donating to the temple, other temples, beggars, etc. But honestly, that is exactly what the Buddha Himself taught. This is honestly pretty consistent with the Buddhist idea of karma, I think Dhammakaya is definitely more open about preaching it than other temples, which is where a lot of these criticisms of the temple come from, but its a completely Buddhist concept backed by suttas and stories the Buddha told about the law of karma.
As for the alcohol thing, that is also pretty much true, Dhammakaya teaches drinking alcohol is bad and is punishable by karma in the future (as does buddhism, 5th precept very clearly states this), and it can indeed lead to hell (5th level of hell in Buddhism), this is a very clear, undisputed teaching in Buddhism, not just Dhammakaya. Honestly, if you consume very little alcohol you probably don't have to be worried about hell anyways, but the Buddha did teach it, just so you know its not only Dhammakaya. In my opinion your wife is probably just taking the teachings super seriously. I myself abstain from alcohol personally for religious reasons, and I think me following Dhammakaya is a large part of this, but I will pretty much let others do whatever.
I do understand where you're coming from when you say Dhammakaya seems to have taken over your wife's life, I have seen this in many followers, but never to the point where it became problematic. For a lot of Dhammakaya followers they see it as the most important thing in their life, which is pretty much true for any devoted religious person, but seems more prominent among Dhammakaya followers. I personally like this though, one of the reasons I stuck with Dhammakaya is that the people there are generally very pious and dedicated, and it seemed nice to be in a place where everyone really took the Buddha's teachings seriously in their everyday lives. I don't want you to think I'm bashing on other temples, but I have seen many many temples where Buddhists attend on a holiday or weekend and then go to a bar and get drunk after or something. I didn't really like that, and while Dhammakaya isn't the only Thai temple where you can find dedicated followers, the fact that many Dhammakaya followers held it Buddhism in their hearts in their daily lives, not just at the temple, is why I stayed. Based on how Dhammakaya teaches I can see how some people may take it in a way that seems overboard, I myself was born and raised in America, but because of the whole Buddhist culture being ingrained in Thailand I can see how some Thai's would take it super serious as you describe your wife.
Truly, I do get a lot of the points you mentioned, I myself had some objections with Dhammakaya early on for the very reasons you mentioned. But as i learned more I grew to accept and really like their model. You are right, it seems like some Dhammakaya followers donate almost out of bribery, which I guess is better karma-wise than not giving at all, but that isn't right. I remember a story in the Tripitaka of a king who gave wanted to give to the Buddha because he wanted the benefits in the future after seeing a beggar give to an arahant or something, afterwards the Buddha stated the beggar, who gave rice water, earned more merit than the king who gave a feast. So you are right, its not correct to give with the intent of getting something in return and honestly, I have seen people at Dhammakaya give with that kind of mindset. But on the other hand, Dhammakaya does teach that intention is the most important in giving and critics like to overlook that. Yes there are people in Dhammakaya who give out of "bribery", but I think that's just a side effect, not so much their intention. I have also seen similar cases of this with other temples also.
I'm a regular attendee of Dhammakaya, not part of the management or anything, so I cant say for sure, but I can make a guess. From what I've seen, I think Dhammakaya's model is based on restoring Buddhism into people's lives through incentives. It's completely true that Buddhism teaches karma and that if you give more you will receive more karmic benefits in the future, holding all things equal such as intention, circumstance, the recipient, etc and all other factors the Buddha said are involved with the merit of giving. I think a lot of temples teach this aspect of Buddhism also, but Dhammakaya does more so. Same with the precepts, Dhammakaya tends to emphasize punishments for breaking the precepts, also completely in line with Buddhism, but more so than other temples. From my experience, I think its about creating incentives not just for the hardcore Buddhists interested in Buddhism to attend, but for regular people who may not be as interested in spiritual development or enlightenment. At the end of the day, for those wanting simply to improve their lives, I think Dhammakaya provides a good resource for those people because they teach to to do good and avoid bad for those not interested in liberation any time soon. This is why I personally like Dhammakaya and why I think a lot of people have been attracted to it. Most people arent hardcore Buddhists interested in deep philosophical teachings on the mind or Nirvana, they just want to improve their lives. Yeah, from the stereotypical western view of Buddhism, it seems a lot of their approaches seem weird, but hey, it works and has proven effective from what I've seen. Its an unconventional model but it works so who am I to say they should change.
So yes, that is my take on Dhammakaya. Also I think a lot of the criticism comes not just from their unconventional methods, but this cultural bias, especially in west, about what Buddhism is. Here's an example, I hear a lot of people say how shocking it is to see Buddhist monks with cell phones (not just Dhammakaya, but other Thai monks and other monks from countries also), but at the same time, in America we have these pastors with TV shows who rake in millions of dollars in salary from TV deals or book sales and live in these huge mansions. I dont mean to bash Christianity, I just wanna make a point. If some pastors are raking in millions and living in mansions, why do people care about Buddhists monks just having a cell phone? I think this cultural bias is part of why people don't like Dhammakaya, because some of their methods challenge their preconceived (and somewhat inaccurate) idea of what Buddhism is. Just some insight on my end.
As for the post you linked to, I think I answered some of it. Yes, you can't have any attachment to anything even kamma to enlighten, this is best exemplified in the story of how Ven. Ananda finally attained Arahantship, but that isnt the present goal for all, or even most Buddhists and that is why Dhammakaya teaches karma to the general public, who are not monks bent on detaching themselves from the world anytime soon. And remember the Buddha taught karma also, so there has to be some fruit to teaching karma. I'd also like to point out that Mettanando Bhikkhu (real name Mano Laohavanich), who the poster cited in the post you linked to, is an anti-Dhammakaya personality who shouldn't be taken as objectively reliable on Dhammakaya. You should google him, a lot of his claims against Dhammakaya are just laughably crazy. I'm not the one to give you a careful analysis of that link since I am just a regular member, but Khemadhammo, who is on Dhammawheel is a Dhammakaya monk who might be able to answer, try PMing him if you want a comprehensive rebuttal on that post.
Thanks for your inquiry, let me know if you have any more questions about Dhammakaya from somebody who actually goes there.