Monks to rally if NRC panel is not scrapped

Posted: March 8, 2015 at 11:44 pm


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A LARGE number of monks have threatened to rally on March 12 in an attempt to have the National Reform Council panel on the protection of Buddhism disbanded due to its perceived hostility towards the order.

In a statement issued yesterday, Mahachulalongkornrajavidyalaya University deputy rector Phra Maythee Thammajarn said his call for the rally was not meant to favour any particular temple but to protect Buddhism overall.

The NRC panel is chaired by Paiboon Nititawan, who has labelled Dhammakaya Temple the source of ongoing disputes and has said its abbot Phra Dhammachayo should be defrocked as a result of a 1999 statement by the late supreme patriarch.

Phra Maythee Thammajarn last week submitted a petition to Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-o-cha and NRC president Thienchay Kiranandana demanding that the NRC panel be scrapped.

"If the call to disband the NRC panel is disregarded by the government or the NRC, I can confirm that there will be more activities by various Buddhist bodies, especially by a large number of monks, on March 12," he said. The deadline has been set by the Association of Academics for Buddhism, a lay body that is an ally of Mahachula-longkornrajavidyalaya University. The location of the march has not yet been determined.

A group of followers of late revered monk Luang Ta Maha Bua on Friday submitted an open letter to Prime Minister General Prayut Chan-o-cha and NRC president Thienchay Kiranandana that said an ongoing draft on religions in the new constitution must clearly stipulate that it was the King's sole authority to appoint the supreme patriarch. They also said the seniority of monks should be based on the number of years they had been monks and not by their ecclesiastical rank.

Led by Prof Rattana Siriphanich, they are also opposed to any future issuance of a monastic law that is against the Buddha's rules on the discipline of monks, which they said could lead to divisions among monks - a deadly sin. The group said giving the King the authority to appoint the supreme patriarch could minimise or prevent the "money-driven chase" for a higher ecclesiastical rank among senior monks.

The late supreme patriarch said the abbot's monk status was invalidated after he allegedly committed one of the five deadly sins as a Buddhist monk by embezzling money and land donated to the Pathum Thani-based temple. Public prosecutors dropped the case.

Meanwhile, a National Institute of Development Administration poll found that 52 per cent of respondents said that reform of Buddhism in Thailand was urgent and important, 24 per cent said it was important but not urgent and 19 per cent said it was not needed. Of 1,249 Buddhist respondents across the country, 10 per cent viewed the Supreme Sangha Council's performance as being highly effective, 25 per cent said rather effective, 33 per cent said lowly effective and 19 per cent found it completely ineffective.

Asked about frequency of monk walks in Bangkok, which has drawn criticism due to their impact on traffic, 77 per cent said they were inappropriate, 13 per cent said they were appropriate and 3 per cent had no problems.

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Monks to rally if NRC panel is not scrapped

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March 8th, 2015 at 11:44 pm

Posted in Buddhist Concepts