Thai police raid Dhammakaya temple in hunt for wanted monk

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gavesako
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Re: Thai police raid Dhammakaya temple in hunt for wanted monk

Post by gavesako » Wed Mar 01, 2017 7:07 am

Making Thai Buddhism relevant again

So the Dhammakaya Temple is a cult. So its leader reportedly claims to be a doomsday saviour who takes rich donors on a tour to heaven to see the Buddha. So it teaches its followers to buy premium spaces in heaven by donating to the temple. So its doctrine on the permanence of self is against Buddhism. So what?
The problem of Dhammakaya is not so much what it teaches. Very few Buddhist temples in Thailand do not cash in on superstition. But its gigantic size, extensive reach and its grand ambition to take over the whole clergy has engendered widespread public concern. Its biggest problem -- a mistake to be precise -- is taking the wrong side of the political divide.

http://m.bangkokpost.com/opinion/opinio ... vant-again


Phra Dhammachayo might claim to have worked all sorts of miracles, but he cannot credibly claim detachment in the true Buddhist sense.
In other words, he has a lot to prove. It doesn’t matter whether, as claimed, he can see how the deceased (including Steve Jobs) are doing in other worlds. Nor does it matter whether he was “invited” to descend from heaven to make Buddhism greater, or is able to travel across the cosmos in the blink of an eye.
What does matter is that men of genuine spirituality don’t run away; they face the fire.
Neither do true religious leaders use politics as an excuse to hide behind. In fact, they must stay away from politics at all costs.
Lord Buddha founded and fostered Buddhism at a time when Northern India knew nothing of democracy and was ruled by absolute monarchies. Most importantly, perhaps, credible religious leaders don’t portray themselves as victims, are forgiving and encourage their followers to do the same.

http://www.nationmultimedia.com/news/op ... t/30307533


Bringing Dhammakaya back to the fold a key task of new Buddhism Office chief

http://www.nationmultimedia.com/news/national/30307484
Bhikkhu Gavesako
Kiṃkusalagavesī anuttaraṃ santivarapadaṃ pariyesamāno... (MN 26)

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Mr Man
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Re: Thai police raid Dhammakaya temple in hunt for wanted monk

Post by Mr Man » Fri Mar 03, 2017 11:58 am

A report from Al Jazeera, which was blocked in Thailand.

https://youtu.be/CTBnotbczvA

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robertk
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Re: Thai police raid Dhammakaya temple in hunt for wanted monk

Post by robertk » Fri Mar 03, 2017 5:14 pm

Never thpught I would say it but I have come to admire wat Dhammakya.
They are the only large group that has had the courage to make a determined stand against a ruthless dictatorship.

Buddha Vacana
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Re: Thai police raid Dhammakaya temple in hunt for wanted monk

Post by Buddha Vacana » Fri Mar 03, 2017 7:46 pm

I have a friend who is a devotee of wat Dhammakaya

Another friend on facebook asked me to unfriend her and told me that if I didn't, he would have to unfriend me because he doesn't want to have anything to do with such people, he says they are brainwashed by the temple and that he could even get into trouble with the government for just having friends in common with Dhammakaya's devotees.

It seems to me that, as it is too often the case, both sides are wrong in their respective ways.

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Re: Thai police raid Dhammakaya temple in hunt for wanted monk

Post by chownah » Sat Mar 04, 2017 1:55 am

robertk wrote:Never thpught I would say it but I have come to admire wat Dhammakya.
They are the only large group that has had the courage to make a determined stand against a ruthless dictatorship.
Do you see this as a triumph for democratic principles?....or what. Which is better; a ruthless dictatorship which returns public lands to the public or a wat which appropriates public land for its own use?
I'm just asking.
chownah

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gavesako
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Re: Thai police raid Dhammakaya temple in hunt for wanted monk

Post by gavesako » Sat Mar 04, 2017 5:08 pm

For many years Dhammakaya has been active in international Buddhist organizations to gain a positive image and infiltrated them with their own representatives to promote their goals. One of them is the World Fellowship of Buddhists which is an old organization founded in 1950. After the Dhammakaya representative was removed from its sub-committee called the World Fellowship of Buddhist Youth, he set up a rival organization with the same name and logo and carried on with a parallel meeting of "Global Buddhist Leaders from 40 Countries" with the aim of showing their support for the Dhammakaya case:

"WFBY" meeting in Seoul not recognized by the World Fellowship of Buddhists
The Buddhist Channel, March 3, 2017
Bangkok, Thailand -- The World Fellowship of Buddhists (WFB) has issued a statement which categorily rejects a meeting held by a rival "WFBY" in Seoul, South Korea some time in February, 2017.
The WFBY also declared its non involvement in activities carried out and publicised by the rival "WFBY" such as the application of (WFBY) name, usage of the WFBY logo, reference of persons or group as members of a specific regional centre of the WFBY to perform or act in the name of the WFBY, including the granting of awards and titles, or the fabrication of website and Facebook page. The WFBY states that it has no involvement in such actions.
https://www.facebook.com/buddhistyouth/ ... =3&theater

Rival "WFBY's" leader
On record, Dr Pornchai's removal as President of the (rightful) WFBY was not only due to his association with Dhammakaya. In June 2015, in his third term as President of the WFBY, he signed an agreement with the Committee for the Protection of Nationality and Religion, also known as "Ma Ba Tha" to provide equipment and expertise for Myanmar's first Buddhist radio station.
This initiative was of great concern to mainstream Buddhists as Ma Ba Tha is seen as a nationalist movement whose chief concern is to conduct divisive and destructive attacks on Myanmar's Muslims.

http://buddhistchannel.tv/index.php?id= ... Lrvk9-YGk0

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Re: Thai police raid Dhammakaya temple in hunt for wanted monk

Post by gavesako » Sun Mar 05, 2017 4:51 pm

HM KING STRIPS DHAMMACHAYO OF MONK TITLE
The spiritual leader of the influential Dhammakaya sect was stripped of his royally bestowed ecclesiastic title Sunday night on instruction of His Majesty the King.
The abrupt demotion of Phra Dhammachayo, who until Sunday night held the royal rank of Phra Thepyanmahmuni, was announced on the website of the Royal Gazette, citing his refusal to cooperate with authorities on his money laundering charges.
The Royal Gazette’s statement, which was countersigned by junta chairman Prayuth Chan-ocha, said Dhammachayo faced a number of criminal charges, including money laundering and conspiracy to launder money. It said that his refusal to turn himself in made him unfit to hold the ecclesiastic rank of Thep – one of the most important royal distinctions of Thai Buddhism, which was awarded to him in 2011.
“Phra Thepyanmahmuni has refused to surrender per his warrant and fled the aforementioned charges, therefore he does not deserve to remain in the rank,” the statement said. “His Majesty hereby issues a royal command stripping Phra Thepyanmahmuni from the rank.”
The order meant that Dhammachayo is now an ordinary monk in the hierarchy of Thai Buddhism.
His demotion came eight months after authorities first filed charge against the 72-year-old monk. Dhammachayo has not been seen in public since, and security forces have been besieging his massive temple for weeks.

http://www.khaosodenglish.com/politics/ ... yal-title/
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Re: Thai police raid Dhammakaya temple in hunt for wanted monk

Post by gavesako » Tue Mar 07, 2017 6:59 am

Just north of the sprawling Wat Dhammakaya complex is an unfinished hospital called Boonraksa. Soldiers tried to search it weeks ago, but were pushed back by a crowd of monks and the faithful.
Now it’s being fortified, with moats dug and obstacles set up. A large group of worshipers has been gathering in the area, with some pitching tents, which the authorities interpret as indicating intent to stay.

http://www.khaosodenglish.com/politics/ ... -hospital/


Council waits for official notice after king strips him of rank on Saturday.

THE secretariat of the Sangha Supreme Council (SSC) has dodged calls for it to defrock Phra Dhammachayo, despite him having been stripped of his monastic rank.
SSC secretary-general Boonchert Kittitharangkoon refused to comment yesterday on whether the council should disrobe the controversial monk. He said the top Sangha body would enforce the order to strip Phra Dhammchayo of his monastic rank only after it received an official notice.
“We are still waiting for the official notice to arrive,” Boonchert said.
On Sunday, the Royal Gazette announced that HM King Maha Vajiralongkorn had stripped Phra Dhammachayo of his elevated monastic rank effective as of Saturday.
The King made the move after the Office of the Prime Minister submitted a report that Phra Dhammachayo had refused to turn himself in to face charges of money laundering and accepting stolen items.
The office asked that Phra Dhammachayo be dismissed from the high monastic rank of Phra Thepyanna Mahamuni.
Boonchert said yesterday his office would demand that Phra Dhammachayo give up the monastic fan associated with the ranking after an official notice arrives from the National Buddhism Office (NBO). “We will write to Phra Dhammachayo, the monastic committee with the supervisory power over him, Dhammakaya Temple and also the NBO Pathum Thani branch to inform them of the defrocking and to take the monastic fan back,” he said.
For the past few weeks, the huge Pathum Thani-based monastery has been a “controlled area” designated by Article 44 of the interim charter as authorities stepped up efforts to arrest Phra Dhammachayo, now its honorary abbot.
Paiboon Nititawan, who previously chaired the National Reform Council panel on Buddhism reform, yesterday urged the Sangha Supreme Council to defrock Phra Dhammachayo. “Defrocking will immediately resolve the tense situation at the Dhammakaya Temple,” he said. “People who have rallied round the temple to shield Phra Dhammachayo will then have no excuse to stand up for him. They won’t be able to say they rally to protect a monk or Buddhism when Phra Dhammchayo is defrocked.”

http://www.nationmultimedia.com/news/national/30308135


Scholars urge Buddhism body to defrock ex-abbot

Buddhist scholars are calling on the National Office of Buddhism (NOB) to initiate a process to have Phra Dhammajayo defrocked after the fugitive monk was stripped of his monastic title.
According to a Royal Gazette article published on March 5, His Majesty the King has agreed to the government's request to demote Phra Dhammajayo for evading charges filed against him.

http://m.bangkokpost.com/news/general/1 ... k-ex-abbot
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Re: Thai police raid Dhammakaya temple in hunt for wanted monk

Post by gavesako » Wed Mar 08, 2017 9:10 pm

Cabinet to seek quick reforms of Buddhism

USING THE Dhammakaya Temple case as an example, the Cabinet will soon propose that the Supreme Sangha Council and the National Office of Buddhism (NOB) speed up reforms in Buddhism, Justice Minister Suwaphan Tanyuvard-hana revealed yesterday.
The council has already assigned three senior monks to join a reform panel.
Suwaphan also said the decision whether to disrobe the fugitive former abbot Phra Dhammachayo was at the discretion of ecclesiastical administrators.
Meanwhile, Dhammakaya communications officer, Phra Maha Nopporn Punyachayo, told a press conference yesterday that “it’s time to cancel the reckless laws that destroy Buddhism and kill monks”. He urged authorities not to have monks disrobed if the cases against them were not yet finalised.
He said the prosecution of monks should be done as an inquiry where the judge is authorised to find more facts and evidence besides those presented by the prosecutor and the defendant.
A Sangha Court should be established to handle such cases based on both the Phra Dhamma Vinaya discipline and layman laws. Such an inquiry, with the participation of monks, should be done at a temple to preserve the monks’ status, he said.
Buddhist organisations from across the world should be invited to observe a major case like Phra Dhammachayo’s, Phra Maha Nopporn suggested.
Phra Channarong Uttamo, of the temple, said monk ordination was a rebirth into Buddhism and the disrobing was the killing of a monk. He said Thai laws were discriminatory and unfair towards monks because they would be defrocked if they were suspects in a criminal case, even if the case had not been finalised.
Suwaphan said he would not rush the Department of Special Investigation (DSI)’s search of the temple. He said the monks and disciples seemed to have been incited to assume the officers would destroy the temple and seize assets, which was untrue. He said those carrying out incitement activities should stop.
Deputy Prime Minister Wissanu Kreangam said the NOB has already filed a complaint for senior monks to proceed with disciplinary action against Dhammachayo.
He said the Sangha Supreme Council’s meeting tomorrow, which the NOB chief would attend in his capacity as the council secretary, might table the Dhammakaya case.
While the temple has been declared a special controlled area and Phra Dhammachayo’s monastic rank has been removed, the temple’s resistance continued, so the government needed to find more solutions, he added.

http://www.nationmultimedia.com/news/national/30308387


The modern monk and the lure of money
If the Sangha Supreme Council can’t divert monks from material greed, civil law will have to be imposed


Thai Buddhist monks are not allowed to accumulate personal wealth for the straightforward reason that it undermines the path to nirvana as strictly identified in Theravada tradition. However, far too many monks nowadays seem to regard the rule as a mere suggestion. In a survey conducted by Chulalongkorn University’s Centre for Buddhism Studies, most monks said they amassed money and some even used credit and debit cards.

The practice of accumulating wealth even after ordination has been blamed for several problems involving monks at the moment. These include the controversy surrounding Phra Dhammachayo, former abbot of the Dhammakaya Temple, who is being hunted on suspicion of laundering massive amounts of money and accepting stolen assets.
The Sangha Act – the law governing the Thai monastic community – has nothing to say about physical assets belonging to monks. That matter is covered in the Civil Code, certain clauses of which are up for amendment. Under Article 1622, monks can be beneficiaries of a will. Article 1623 says a monk’s temple can inherit his assets unless he specifically directs otherwise. Those who propose changing these articles argue that barring monks from holding any assets would ensure they spend all of their time observing religious practices, and as such would render better service as monks.
Former judge Jaran Pakdithanakul, a member of the National Legislative Assembly working group considering the amendments, says these clauses – despite being in place for more than eight decades – “clearly” contravene the intention of the Vinaya regulatory framework that guides the monastic community. He regards money as an unnecessary burden for monks, distracting them as they tend to their finances.
Lay people often give monks money as they make their morning alms rounds and for the prayers offered at funerals. It is no longer common for monks to refuse donations in the form of currency, as was once the case. Times have changed.
It might be all right for monks to possess small sums of money to meet their daily needs, primarily food, medicine, clothing and shelter – except that the temples already provide those daily needs, through the support of their lay patrons and neighbouring communities. Trusted temple affairs managers, who are members of the laity, typically handle the mundane business of running the temples and handling their assets.
One major problem now is that so many monks seek to amass larger amounts of money so they can buy products and services that have nothing to do with their ambition of attaining enlightenment or their ministrations to the community. We’ve all seen monks with smartphones and other gadgets – the stuff of worldly desires rather than spiritual goals. There is little credence to the argument that Internet access assists them in their religious studies or in sharing the Buddha’s wisdom. These things can be done, have always been done, without high technology.
The far greater problem, of course, involves senior monks accumulating significant personal wealth. Temple abbots have on several occasions been found after their deaths to own sizeable bank accounts. By law, substantial assets can only belong to the temple itself, but that often hasn’t been the case. We have seen famous preachers and influential abbots – those who tend to draw large amounts of cash in donations – transfer considerable wealth to family members or close associates before dying.
Unfortunately there is no answer to these problems other than barring monks of any rank from possessing much more than pocket money. It is the monk’s austere lot to help the layman, to shield him from suffering by demonstrating noble practice. If the monk strays from austerity, austerity will have to be imposed by law.

http://www.nationmultimedia.com/news/op ... l/30308372

:broke:


Dhammakaya: What does a bank failure look like?
26 years to repay depositors at Klong Chan Credit Union, brought down by embezzled religious donations to Dhammakaya Temple.

http://www.bangkokpost.com/learning/adv ... look-like-


Regime, SSC mull 'defrocking court'

The government and the Sangha Supreme Council (SSC) may consider setting up a "clergy court" to rule whether the former abbot of Wat Phra Dhammakaya will be defrocked.
The idea of the clergy court was earlier floated by Phra Tham Kittimethee, assistant abbot of Wat Rachathiwat in Bangkok.
The monk called on the government and the SSC, the monastic governing body, to establish the court in order to rule whether Phra Dhammajayo had violated the Buddhist disciplinary code of conduct and decide whether he must be defrocked.
The proposition was also backed by Justice Minister Suwaphan Tanyuvardhana, who said it was the proper way to solve the problem.
Pol Lt Col Pongporn Pramsaneh, the newly appointed director of the National Office of Buddhism (NOB), said secular judicial procedures would take some time while a clergy investigation would depend on the SSC.
However, he said it was difficult to proceed with the case as authorities have been unable to arrest Phra Dhammajayo yet.
According to the 21st issue of the SSC's regulations, monks can be defrocked under two conditions.
First, a district monk dean can rule that a monk must be defrocked if they have violated the disciplinary code of conduct. Secondly, monks who are not attached to any temple can be defrocked.
Meanwhile, Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha said the NOB has already submitted Phra Dhammajayo's case to the SSC after the former abbot was stripped of his monastic title earlier.
According to a Royal Gazette article published on Sunday, His Majesty the King agreed to the government's request to demote Phra Dhammajayo for evading charges filed against him.
Gen Prayut said the prosecution of the former abbot was divided into two parts: secular legal procedure and Buddhist measures under the Sangha Act.
Gen Prayut was asked whether the DSI would be replaced by other state agencies as it had failed to arrest Phra Dhammajayo. The prime minister said the media had to look at the root cause of the problem which was that authorities are unable to search the temple.
The operation is opposed by a number of the temple's disciples, he said.
Asked how long it would take to arrest the former abbot and whether more forces would be deployed to the temple, Gen Prayut replied: "I'm bored of answering those questions."

http://m.bangkokpost.com/news/crime/121 ... king-court
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jameswang
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Re: Thai police raid Dhammakaya temple in hunt for wanted monk

Post by jameswang » Fri Mar 10, 2017 6:42 am

Turmeric wrote:
gavesako wrote:Hide and Seek

http://www.khaosodenglish.com/culture/n ... kaya-says/

Thai cops have uncovered secret tunnels running underneath a space-age temple of the controversial Dhammakaya Buddhist sect, as their manhunt for an elusive elderly monk accused of massive embezzlement entered a second day.

http://www.nationmultimedia.com/news/br ... s/30306566

:spy:
I was told the tunnel was actually a basement used for storing water.
Usually, water are stored on a higher place, not lower. Simple reason is gravity.

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Re: Thai police raid Dhammakaya temple in hunt for wanted monk

Post by jameswang » Fri Mar 10, 2017 10:07 am

gavesako wrote:Asked how long it would take to arrest the former abbot and whether more forces would be deployed to the temple, Gen Prayut replied: "I'm bored of answering those questions."

http://m.bangkokpost.com/news/crime/121 ... king-court
That's the funniest thing I've heard from the PM!
Last edited by jameswang on Wed Mar 15, 2017 8:35 am, edited 1 time in total.

chownah
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Re: Thai police raid Dhammakaya temple in hunt for wanted monk

Post by chownah » Fri Mar 10, 2017 12:30 pm

jameswang wrote:
Turmeric wrote:
I was told the tunnel was actually a basement used for storing water.
Usually, water are stored on a higher place, not lower. Simple reason is gravity.
Evidently the temple has many fountains. Fountains slowly lose water by evaporation and it could be that there are tanks underground from which the fountains get topped up on their water levels. I don't know if that is what is going on there but it does make sense I think.
Someone said they were secret tunnels. To determine if this is true one should look at the entrances and exits to see if they are well hidden....are they behind book shelves or secret sliding panels? Or are they just utility access tunnels like some building complexes in the west have...for instance some universities in the usa have a maze of utility tunnels connecting many of the large buildings.
chownah

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Re: Thai police raid Dhammakaya temple in hunt for wanted monk

Post by gavesako » Sat Mar 11, 2017 6:52 am

DSI DECLARES END TO DHAMMAKAYA SEARCH
The Department of Special Investigation now believes the fugitive leader of Wat Dhammakaya has fled his temple and will soon lift its blockade, a spokesman for the said Saturday.
Three weeks of siege operations culminated Friday with the search of an unfinished hospital where the 72-year-old Dhammajayo was thought to be hiding. But the monk was nowhere to be found, and authorities now say they’ve run out of places to search inside the sprawling temple complex.
“The temple insisted that Phra Dhammajayo was ill, and he could not leave his bed inside the temple,” DSI spokesman Woranan Srilam said by telephone. “So we had to search the temple to clear any doubt. Now that we have searched it and he was not found, it proved the temple’s claim was false.”

http://www.khaosodenglish.com/news/crim ... maya-over/

http://www.bangkokpost.com/news/general ... dhammajayo


Sangha poised to act

http://www.nationmultimedia.com/news/national/30308486


Sangha ‘can’t disrobe monk’
Search of temple called off while fugitive ex-abbot remains at large.
THE SANGHA Supreme Council (SSC) has no power to disrobe controversial former abbot Phra Dhammachayo as that authority belongs to his direct monastic supervisors, it was concluded at the council’s meeting yesterday.
The NOB then requested the SSC deal with Dhammachayo through its rule No 21 that empowers monastic supervisors to defrock any monk who regularly violates the Vinaya (monastic rules) or does not reside in a temple, the office’s newly appointed director Pongpon Pramsaneh told a press conference after the meeting.
Pongpon, who is the SSC secretary-general ex-officio, said his agency had requested in writing that the monastic chief of the central region, which had jurisdiction over Wat Dhammakaya, should investigate the complaint against Dhammachayo.
“The disrobing process is not easy. The Sangha Supreme Council has no power to do so,” he told the media briefing at the Buddha Monthon Religious Complex in Nakhon Pathom province.
Pongpon said that by filing a complaint with the monastic body, his agency just started the monastic action against Dhammachayo.
He said the process called for the monastic chief of the central region to refer Dhammachayo’s case to the abbot of his temple through the line of command. The abbot needs to consider the complaint against Dhammachayo and allow him to explain himself, he added.
According to SSC rule No 21, Dhammachayo will be deemed to waive his right if he fails to explain himself in relation to the complaint. Then disciplinary action can be taken against him, the official said.
However, he declined to speculate as to when the monastic disciplinary process would be completed as that was a matter for the monks dealing with it.
“This is the same way that you cannot ask a judge when he or she will make a verdict,” he told the press conference. Respected monk Phra Paisal Visalo, a temple abbot in Chaiyaphum, expressed concern over the possible intervention in the monastic disciplinary process against Dhammachayo.
‘How do you stop intervention?’
“We know well that Dhammachayo has a lot of influence, in the Sangha Supreme Council and in the Central monastic region. What should be done to prevent intervention into the monastic court?” he told Thai PBS.
The monk said the monastic disciplinary procedures against Dhammachayo in the past “went nowhere” due to intervention and legal tactics.
“I suspect this new case in 2017 may end in the same way,” he added.

http://www.nationmultimedia.com/news/national/30308631
Bhikkhu Gavesako
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Re: Thai police raid Dhammakaya temple in hunt for wanted monk

Post by gavesako » Sun Mar 12, 2017 6:58 am

Monk ‘may have fled in early days of siege’
THE HUNT for wanted former abbot Phra Dhammachayo will continue after authorities admitted that he may have fled during the three-week siege of Dhammakaya Temple, officials responsible for the operation said yesterday.
Police and the Department of Special Investigation (DSI) are attempting to verify tip-offs about the fugitive monk’s possible whereabouts, DSI director-general Paisit Wongmuang said yesterday. He added that those places were inside temples affiliated with Dhammakaya.
“We have got tip-offs that Phra Dhammachayo may be in hiding at one of those places. The DSI is verifying the information and collecting evidence to apply for a search warrant as soon as possible,” he said.
Paisit also admitted that the charismatic monk, wanted for alleged money laundering and accepting stolen assets, may have left the temple in the early days of the siege of the vast complex in Pathum Thani, which started on February 16.
“I believe he escaped sometime between February 16 and 18,” he told reporters. “We found the temple wall had been destroyed ... it was possible someone helped him escape.”

http://www.nationmultimedia.com/news/national/30308725


The failings of absolute power
http://m.bangkokpost.com/opinion/opinio ... lute-power
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Kiṃkusalagavesī anuttaraṃ santivarapadaṃ pariyesamāno... (MN 26)

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Re: Thai police raid Dhammakaya temple in hunt for wanted monk

Post by gavesako » Mon Mar 13, 2017 7:59 am

Search for fugitive monk switches to border
Cops raid suspected former hideout

http://m.bangkokpost.com/news/general/1 ... -to-border


Was the temple mission a success?

http://m.bangkokpost.com/opinion/opinio ... a-success-
Last edited by gavesako on Tue Mar 14, 2017 6:53 am, edited 1 time in total.
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