Network of top Buddhists warns of uprising against NRC panel

Posted: February 27, 2015 at 9:47 am

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The warning came up after Prime Minister General Prayut Chan-ocha has yet to respond to the network's demand that the National Reform Council committee on the protection of Buddhism be abolished.

Led by NRC member Paiboon Nititawan, this committee has shifted the public spotlight to the controversy surrounding Dhammakaya Temple, its abbot Phra Dhammachayo, and the decision of the Sangha Supreme Council (SSC) to let him stay on as a monk.

Phra Dhammachayo was accused of many wrongdoings, including embezzlement of temple properties. Because he returned those properties, the SSC ruled in 2006 that he would not be defrocked.

"Why doesn't the government have a discussion with the NRC chairman over the problems this committee has caused?" Phra Methi Dhammajahn, an assistant abbot of Mahathat Yuwaratrangsarit Temple and a vice rector at Mahachulalongkornra-javidyalaya University, asked yesterday.

He was speaking in his capacity as an adviser to the Association of Academics for Buddhism. Earlier this week, he led his supporters in submitting a petition to Prayut via a government complaint-receiving centre. Phra Methi Dhammajahn felt Paiboon's recent activities constituted intimidation against the SSC.

Meanwhile, high-profile monk Phra Buddha Isara vowed to monitor today's SSC meeting closely in anticipation that the council might do something about Phra Dhammachayo's case.

"I will visit the SSC every day if it does not find Phra Dhammachayo guilty," he said.

Phra Buddha Isara, the abbot of Or Noi Temple, yesterday called on the Office of the Ombudsman to investigate public prosecutors' 2006 decision to drop the embezzlement case against Phra Dhammachayo. The same year, the SSC cited this decision in concluding that Phra Dhammachayo did not need to lose his status as a monk.

"An investigation should be launched to make it clear why the public prosecutors changed their minds," Phra Buddha Isara said.

He said he had heard that the first team of prosecutors handling this case in fact went ahead with the arraignment but the attorney-general at that time intervened, removed the first group and established a new team to handle the case.

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Network of top Buddhists warns of uprising against NRC panel

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February 27th, 2015 at 9:47 am

Posted in Buddhism