16 Mar 2017
While the junta thinks that Thai Buddhism will be purified by arresting the former abbot of Wat Dhammakaya, experts point out a lack of secularism and political tolerance is a real threat to the dominant religion. On 10 March 2016, Chiang Mai Univeristy’s Department of Sociology and Anthropology hosted a seminar “Dhammakaya Crisis, Social Crisis?” The panel discussed the ongoing harassment of Wat Dhammakaya and tried to propose a proper solution for society.
6 Mar 2017
Over the past three weeks, right-wing media have been demonising Wat Dhammakaya and justifying the junta’s crackdown by linking the sect to the red-shirt movement. An expert points out that the longer the process continues, the harder it will be to find a peaceful end. On 3 March 2016, True Vision, a local cable television provider, blocked the broadcast of an Al Jazeera report on the Thai junta’s harassment of the Dhammakaya sect.
27 Feb 2017
Mahidol University has censured its human rights institute for demanding the junta cease its use of Article 44. The demand came after a follower of the Dhammakaya sect committed suicide to protest the junta’s ongoing harassment of the temple.
23 Feb 2017
Human rights lawyers have called on the junta to cease the use of absolute powers during the ongoing clash between authorities and monks at Wat Dhammakaya. On 20 February 2017, Thai Lawyers for Human Rights (TLHR) released a statement calling on the military government to cease the use of special powers in its raid of Wat Dhammakaya.
22 Feb 2017
Monks and worshippers of the Dhammakaya sect have staged a protest against orders for the arrest of their spiritual leader, after the authorities blocked them from entering the temple. On 22 February 2017, Ai Petthong, a representative of Dhammakaya followers, told the media that the authorities have prohibited over a thousand worshippers from entering Dhammakaya temple.
21 Feb 2017
The appointment of a new supreme patriarch is an opportunity to better politics and Buddhism in Thailand. In what could be described as one of his earliest exercises of power, King Rama X has appointed Phra Somdej Maha Muneewong as Thailand’s newest Sangha Raja. After three years of vacancy, Thai Buddhists and the nation’s order of monks have got their long awaited Supreme Patriarch. But despite much celebration and fanfare, will the new Sangha Raja rescue Thai Buddhism? And what does the whole appointment process say about contemporary Thailand and its broken politics?
13 Dec 2016
Soldiers and police officers have stormed into a press conference on the crisis of Thai Buddhism to force its organisers to cancel the event.
2 Dec 2016
Within Thailand’s overwhelmingly Buddhist population, the Dhammakaya version of Buddhism has amassed a huge following but also created enormous controversy, Khemthong Tonsakulrungruang writes.