There are those, my wife included, who believes the Thai junta is out to completely destroy Buddhism in Thailand and somehow convert every Buddhist to Islam. I guess anything is possible under a dictatorship but I would have thought this unlikely. Maybe one of the Dhammakaya followers on here would like to comment on this and offer some convincing evidence that this conspiracy theory may have some truth to it.
The conspiracy theory may have a grain of truth in it. And I'd like to draw a parallel between what's happening now at Wat Phra Dhammakaya and the decline of Buddhism in India.
Buddhism has generally relied on the support of kings and where that was wanting it has usually been in difficulties
- Source: Buddhism: A Short History
State support crucial for Buddhism to flourish
Back in India, Buddhism flourished under the reign of Ashoka because he supported it through active propagation of the Buddha's teachings.
Conversely, Buddhism struggled to survive under anti-Buddhist rulers, and this is seen through the religious persecution of Buddhist monks and destruction of Buddhist temples when Turkish Muslims invaded India. Thus, the rulers' support of Buddhism partly determines the lifespan of Buddhism in that area. And if the rulers' are hostile towards Buddhism, that will accelerate the decline of Buddhism.
Government's overt lack of support
The link between survival of Buddhism and lack of governmental support may seem tenuous, but that doesn't mean there isn't any.
In Thailand right now, we can see the government's lack of support and respect for Buddhism, especially in the way it handles Wat Phra Dhammakaya's (WPD) case. And this could logically and possibly lead to a decline of Buddhism in Thailand.
Three reasons supporting the conspiracy theory
First, the premise of the money-laundering case against WPD's Abbot, Luang Phor Dhammajayo, is indefensible.
DSI accuses the abbot of money-laundering, but how can the abbot launder money if he didn't personally receive the donation? By DSI's logic, if a monk can be guilty of embezzlement because of devotees' donations, this would set a precedence that temples have to verify the legality of the donations. This places an onerous burden on all temples because it is hard, even weird, for the temple to ask the donors if their donations are legal. Based on this weak case against WPD's abbot, DSI began filing their charges, and they slowly snowballed to the 300+ charges we see today.
Second, DSI provided no alternative for the abbot to answer the charges. According to Former Police General Sereepisuth Temiyaves
, DSI could have requested a video conference for the abbot to answer the money-laundering charges. And hence, there was no need for an arrest warrant.
Third, would be the excessive use of military and police force to enforce the arrest warrant. According to a news article dated 16 Feb by the Daily Mail
, 3000 police raided WPD to look for its abbot. One argument against this is that the government could have used this force to tackle the islamic insurgency in South Thailand, but it didn't.
A possible deduction
From the above reasons, we can deduce that the current Thai government does not support WPD, and by extension, Buddhism.
And by extrapolating the current situation to the extreme, we can see why there is the conspiracy theory that the Thai Junta is out to destroy Buddhism.
1. State hostility toward Buddhism hastens decline of Buddhism. (Claim)
2. Turkish Muslim invaders hastened decline of Buddhism in India (Evidence)
Drawing a parallel
3. Three reasons why the current Thai Junta is hostile. (Claim & evidence)
4. Conspiracy theory that Thai Junta is out to completely destroy Buddhism is not without basis (Deduction)
Basically, this is a rehash of the arguments against the harsh treatment of WPD.