Thailand reform council focused on monks and money

Posted: March 5, 2015 at 9:47 am


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THE CHAIRMAN of the reform committee on the protection of Buddhism has said the purpose of his committee is to seek an answer on whether monks can spend money, so the matter can be regulated with sincerity.

"We are focusing on the case of Phra Dhammachayo, the abbot of Dhammakaya Temple, because there was a report indicating he has been involved with money matters, including the source of the money, that has been handled without transparency," Paiboon Nititawan told The Nation.

Paiboon, whose committee was set up earlier by the National Reform Council, sparked uproar when he said at a recent meeting of the committee that according to a 1999 statement by the then-Supreme Patriarch, Phra Dhammachayo had been automatically defrocked.

This created tension between the NRC panel, the monk and Buddhist groups.

Dhammakaya Temple is believed to be the wealthiest temple in Thailand, but some Buddhists view it as a temple that has distorted Lord Buddha's teachings in relation to money matters.

"Our goal is to protect religion by scrutinising the temple's budget or financial status, with Dhammakaya Temple the main case study we have to look into," Paiboon said.

He said the study's findings could result in the public realising what the real problems were and how they could be regulated.

He said that along with investigating whether monks could spend money, his panel wanted to determine if monks can collect money if they are allowed to spend it.

If they were, it needed to be determined how much they could collect and whether they had to declare assets like non-monks had to.

"All these questions have been frequently asked by many people, and if the monks can use and collect money do they have to pay taxes too? This is one of the important questions we have to search for facts [to reach a conclusion]," he said.

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Thailand reform council focused on monks and money

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March 5th, 2015 at 9:47 am

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