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Buddhism Assignment

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Buddhism – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

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Buddhism is a nontheistic religion[1][2] or dharma, "right way of living", that encompasses a variety of traditions, beliefs and practices largely based on teachings attributed to Siddhartha Gautama, commonly known as the Buddha ("the awakened one"). According to Buddhist tradition, the Buddha lived and taught in the eastern part of the Indian subcontinent sometime between the 6th and 4th centuries BCE.[1] He is recognized by Buddhists as an awakened or enlightened teacher who shared his insights to help sentient beings end their suffering through the elimination of ignorance and craving. Buddhists believe that this is accomplished through direct understanding and the perception of dependent origination and the Four Noble Truths. The ultimate goal of Buddhism is the attainment of the sublime state of Nirvana, by practicing the Noble Eightfold Path (also known as the Middle Way).[3]

Two major extant branches of Buddhism are generally recognized: Theravada ("The School of the Elders") and Mahayana ("The Great Vehicle"). Theravada has a widespread following in Sri Lanka and Southeast Asia (Cambodia, Laos, Thailand, Myanmar etc.). Mahayana is found throughout East Asia (China, Korea, Japan, Vietnam, Singapore, Taiwan etc.) and includes the traditions of Pure Land, Zen, Nichiren Buddhism, Tibetan Buddhism, Shingon, and Tiantai (Tendai). In some classifications, Vajrayanapracticed mainly in Tibet and Mongolia, and adjacent parts of China and Russiais recognized as a third branch, with a body of teachings attributed to Indian siddhas, while others classify it as a part of Mahayana.

Buddhist schools vary on the exact nature of the path to liberation, the importance and canonicity of various teachings and scriptures, and especially their respective practices.[4] One consistent belief held by all Buddhist schools is the lack of a Creator deity. The foundations of Buddhist tradition and practice are the Three Jewels: the Buddha, the Dharma (the teachings), and the Sangha (the community). Taking "refuge in the triple gem" has traditionally been a declaration and commitment to being on the Buddhist path, and in general distinguishes a Buddhist from a non-Buddhist.[5] Other practices may include following ethical precepts; support of the monastic community; renouncing conventional living and becoming a monastic; the development of mindfulness and practice of meditation; cultivation of higher wisdom and discernment; study of scriptures; devotional practices; ceremonies; and in the Mahayana tradition, invocation of buddhas and bodhisattvas.

This narrative draws on the Nidnakath biography of the Theravda sect in Sri Lanka, which is ascribed to Buddhaghoa in the 5th century CE.[6] Earlier biographies such as the Buddhacarita, the Lokottaravdin Mahvastu, and the Mahyna/ Sarvstivda Lalitavistara Stra, give different accounts. Scholars are hesitant to make unqualified claims about the historical facts of the Buddha's life. Most accept that he lived, taught and founded a monastic order, but do not consistently accept all of the details contained in his biographies.[7][8]

According to author Michael Carrithers, while there are good reasons to doubt the traditional account, "the outline of the life must be true: birth, maturity, renunciation, search, awakening and liberation, teaching, death."[9] In writing her biography of the Buddha, Karen Armstrong noted, "It is obviously difficult, therefore, to write a biography of the Buddha that meets modern criteria, because we have very little information that can be considered historically sound... [but] we can be reasonably confident Siddhatta Gotama did indeed exist and that his disciples preserved the memory of his life and teachings as well as they could."[10][dubious discuss]

The evidence of the early texts suggests that Siddhrtha Gautama was born in a community that was on the periphery, both geographically and culturally, of the northeastern Indian subcontinent in the 5th century BCE.[11] It was either a small republic, in which case his father was an elected chieftain, or an oligarchy, in which case his father was an oligarch.[11]

According to this narrative, shortly after the birth of young prince Gautama, an astrologer named Asita visited the young prince's fatherKing uddhodanaand prophesied that Siddhartha would either become a great king or renounce the material world to become a holy man, depending on whether he saw what life was like outside the palace walls.

uddhodana was determined to see his son become a king, so he prevented him from leaving the palace grounds. But at age 29, despite his father's efforts, Gautama ventured beyond the palace several times. In a series of encountersknown in Buddhist literature as the four sightshe learned of the suffering of ordinary people, encountering an old man, a sick man, a corpse and, finally, an ascetic holy man, apparently content and at peace with the world. These experiences prompted Gautama to abandon royal life and take up a spiritual quest.

Gautama first went to study with famous religious teachers of the day, and mastered the meditative attainments they taught. But he found that they did not provide a permanent end to suffering, so he continued his quest. He next attempted an extreme asceticism, which was a religious pursuit common among the Shramanas, a religious culture distinct from the Vedic one. Gautama underwent prolonged fasting, breath-holding, and exposure to pain. He almost starved himself to death in the process. He realized that he had taken this kind of practice to its limit, and had not put an end to suffering. So in a pivotal moment he accepted milk and rice from a village girl and changed his approach. He devoted himself to anapanasati meditation, through which he discovered what Buddhists call the Middle Way (Skt. madhyam-pratipad[12]): a path of moderation between the extremes of self-indulgence and self-mortification.[13][14]

Gautama was now determined to complete his spiritual quest. At the age of 35, he famously sat in meditation under a sacred fig tree known as the Bodhi tree in the town of Bodh Gaya, India, and vowed not to rise before achieving enlightenment. After many days, he finally destroyed the fetters of his mind, thereby liberating himself from the cycle of suffering and rebirth, and arose as a fully enlightened being (Skt. samyaksabuddha). Soon thereafter, he attracted a band of followers and instituted a monastic order. Now, as the Buddha, he spent the rest of his life teaching the path of awakening he had discovered, traveling throughout the northeastern part of the Indian subcontinent,[15][16] and died at the age of 80 (483 BCE) in Kushinagar, India. The south branch of the original fig tree available only in Anuradhapura Sri Lanka is known as Jaya Sri Maha Bodhi.

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The religion of Buddhism – Religious tolerance — all …

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Religions of the world Menu

"Do not believe in anything simply because you have heard it. Do not believe in anything simply because it is spoken and rumored by many. Do not believe in anything simply because it is found written in your religious books. Do not believe in anything merely on the authority of your teachers and elders. Do not believe in traditions simply because they have been handed down for many generations. But after observation and analysis, when you find that anything agrees with reason and is conducive to the good and benefit of one and all, then accept it and live up to it."

Buddhism currently has about 376 million followers and is generally listed as the world's fourth largest religion after Christianity, Islam and Hinduism. It was founded in Northern India by Siddhartha Gautama (circa 563 to 460 BCE) and has spread into much of the far East. It is making major inroads into North America

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God in Buddhism – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

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Gautama Buddha rejected the existence of a creator deity,[1][2] refused to endorse many views on creation[3] and stated that questions on the origin of the world are not ultimately useful for ending suffering.[4][5]

Buddhism, instead, emphasizes the system of causal relationships underlying the universe (prattyasamutpda or Dependent Origination) which constitute the natural order (dhamma) and source of enlightenment. No dependence of phenomena on a supernatural reality is asserted in order to explain the behaviour of matter. According to the doctrine of the Buddha, a human being must study nature (dhamma vicaya) in order to attain personal wisdom (prajna) regarding the nature of things (dharma). In Buddhism, the sole aim of spiritual practice is the complete alleviation of stress in samsara,[6][7] which is called nirvana.

Some teachers tell students beginning Buddhist meditation that the notion of divinity is not incompatible with Buddhism,[8] and at least one Buddhist scholar has indicated that describing Buddhism as nontheistic may be overly simplistic;[9] but many traditional theist beliefs are considered to pose a hindrance to the attainment of nirvana,[10] the highest goal of Buddhist practice.[11]

Despite this apparent nontheism, Buddhists consider veneration of the worthy ones[12] very important,[13] although the two main traditions of Buddhism differ mildly in their reverential attitudes. While Theravada Buddhists view the Buddha as a human being who attained nirvana or Buddhahood, through human efforts,[14] some Mahayana Buddhists consider him an embodiment of the cosmic Dharmakaya, born for the benefit of others.[15] In addition, some Mahayana Buddhists worship their chief Bodhisattva, Avalokiteshvara,[16] and hope to embody him.[17]

Some Buddhists accept the existence of beings in higher realms (see Buddhist cosmology), known as devas, but they, like humans, are said to be suffering in samsara,[18] and are not necessarily wiser than us. In fact, the Buddha is often portrayed as a teacher of the gods,[19] and superior to them.[20] Despite this there are believed to be enlightened devas.[21]

Some variations of Buddhism express a philosophical belief in an eternal Buddha: a representation of omnipresent enlightenment and a symbol of the true nature of the universe. The primordial aspect that interconnects every part of the universe is the clear light of the eternal Buddha, where everything timelessly arises and dissolves.[22][23][24]

As scholar Surian Yee describes, "the attitude of the Buddha as portrayed in the Nikayas is more anti-speculative than specifically atheistic", although Gautama did regard the belief in a creator deity to be unhealthy.[25] However, the Samaaphala Sutta placed materialism and amoralism together with eternalism as forms of wrong view.[25]

As Hayes describes it, "In the Nikaya literature, the question of the existence of God is treated primarily from either an epistemological point of view or a moral point of view. As a problem of epistemology, the question of God's existence amounts to a discussion of whether or not a religious seeker can be certain that there is a greatest good and that therefore his efforts to realize a greatest good will not be a pointless struggle towards an unrealistic goal. And as a problem in morality, the question amounts to a discussion of whether man himself is ultimately responsible for all the displeasure that he feels or whether there exists a superior being who inflicts displeasure upon man whether he deserves it or not... the Buddha Gotama is portrayed not as an atheist who claims to be able to prove God's nonexistence, but rather as a skeptic with respect to other teachers' claims to be able to lead their disciples to the highest good."[26]

Citing the Devadaha Sutta ('Majjhima Nikaya 101), Hayes remarks that "while the reader is left to conclude that it is attachment rather than God, actions in past lives, fate, type of birth or efforts in this life that is responsible for our experiences of sorrow, no systematic argument is given in an attempt to disprove the existence of God."[27]

In the Pli Canon the Buddha tells Vasettha that the Tathgata (the Buddha) was Dharmakya, the 'Truth-body' or the 'Embodiment of Truth', as well as Dharmabhuta, 'Truth-become', 'One who has become Truth.'[28][29]

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Buddhist Symbols – View on Buddhism

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GENERAL BUDDHIST SYMBOLS

Many Buddhist symbols need to be considered within the culture of the people who follow it. Therefore, many of the early symbols relate to ancient India and can be found in Hinduism as well, although possibly with a somewhat different meaning.

The historical Buddha lived around the sixth century BCE, but no Buddhist artifacts are known from before the third century BCE. In the scriptures, it is mentioned that the Buddha did occasionally use images like the 'Wheel of Life' to illustrate the teachings. The first archaeological evidence, mainly of ornamental stone carvings, comes from the time of the Emperor Asoka (273 - 232 BCE), who converted to Buddhism and made it a popular religion in India and beyond .

In the second century BCE, people started to excavate Buddhist monasteries in rock, creating a large amount of artwork to withstand the ages. Probably the earliest typical Buddhist monument is the stupa, which was often specially decorated. The first actual Buddha images appeared around the first century BCE, so until then the artwork was largely symbolic in nature.

With the appearance of Buddhist Tantra around the 6th century, a wealth of new artwork and symbolism appeared, as imagination and visualization form a major technique in meditation practices. From this moment on, a pantheon of deities and protectors appeared, together with a vast collection of symbolic items, such as the vajra and bell, mandalas etc.; see the page on Tantric Symbols. This tradition was mainly preserved in so-called 'Tibetan Buddhism', and partially in the Japanese Shingon tradition.

It is said that the Buddha was reluctant to accept images of himself, as he did not like to be venerated as a person. To symbolise the Buddha in the very early art, one used mainly the Eight Spoked Wheel and the Bodhi Tree, but also the Buddha's Footprints, an Empty Throne, a Begging Bowl and a Lion are used to represent him.

The Eight-Spoked Dharma Wheel or 'Dharmachakra' (Sanskrit) symbolises the Buddha's turning the Wheel of Truth or Law (dharma = truth/law, chakra = wheel).

The wheel (on the left and right) refers to the story that shortly after the Buddha achieved enlightenment, Brahma came down from heaven and requested the Buddha to teach by offering him a Dharmachakra. The Buddha is known as the Wheel-Turner: he who sets a new cycle of teachings in motion and in consequence changes the course of destiny.

The Dharmachakra has eight spokes, symbolising the Eight-fold Noble Path. The 3 swirling segments in centre represent the Buddha, Dharma (the teachings) and Sangha (the spiritual community). The wheel can also be divided into three parts, each representing an aspect of Buddhist practice; the hub (discipline), the spokes (wisdom), and the rim (concentration).

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Major Religions Ranked by Size – World Religions Religion …

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Christianity > Anglican | Catholic | Evangelical | Jehovah's Witnesses | Latter-day Saints | Orthodox | Pentecostal Islam | Hinduism | Buddhism | Sikhism | Judaism | Baha'i | Zoroastrianism | more links (Sizes shown are approximate estimates, and are here mainly for the purpose of ordering the groups, not providing a definitive number. This list is sociological/statistical in perspective.) Christianity: 2.1 billion Islam: 1.5 billion Secular/Nonreligious/Agnostic/Atheist: 1.1 billion Hinduism: 900 million Chinese traditional religion: 394 million Buddhism: 376 million primal-indigenous: 300 million African Traditional & Diasporic: 100 million Sikhism: 23 million Juche: 19 million Spiritism: 15 million Judaism: 14 million Baha'i: 7 million Jainism: 4.2 million Shinto: 4 million Cao Dai: 4 million Zoroastrianism: 2.6 million Tenrikyo: 2 million Neo-Paganism: 1 million Unitarian-Universalism: 800 thousand Rastafarianism: 600 thousand Scientology: 500 thousand Introduction The adherent counts presented in the list above are current estimates of the number of people who have at least a minimal level of self-identification as adherents of the religion. Levels of participation vary within all groups. These numbers tend toward the high end of reasonable worldwide estimates. Valid arguments can be made for different figures, but if the same criteria are used for all groups, the relative order should be the same. Further details and sources are available below and in the Adherents.com main database.

A major source for these estimates is the detailed country-by-country analysis done by David B. Barrett's religious statistics organization, whose data are published in the Encyclopedia Britannica (including annual updates and yearbooks) and also in the World Christian Encyclopedia (the latest edition of which - published in 2001 - has been consulted). Hundreds of additional sources providing more thorough and detailed research about individual religious groups have also been consulted.

This listing is not a comprehensive list of all religions, only the "major" ones (as defined below). There are distinct religions other than the ones listed above. But this list accounts for the religions of over 98% of the world's population. Below are listed some religions which are not in this listing (Mandeans, PL Kyodan, Ch'ondogyo, Vodoun, New Age, Seicho-No-Ie, Falun Dafa/Falun Gong, Taoism, Roma), along with explanations for why they do not qualify as "major world religions" on this list.

This world religions listing is derived from the statistics data in the Adherents.com database. The list was created by the same people who collected and organized this database, in consultation with university professors of comparative religions and scholars from different religions. We invite additional input. The Adherents.com collection of religious adherent statistics now has over 43,000 adherent statistic citations, for over 4,300 different faith groups, covering all countries of the world. This is not an absolutely exhaustive compilation of all such data, but it is by far the largest compilation available on the Internet. Various academic researchers and religious representatives regularly share documented adherent statistics with Adherents.com so that their information can be available in a centralized database.

Statistics and geography citations for religions not on this list, as well as subgroups within these religions (such as Catholics, Protestants, Karaites, Wiccans, Shiites, etc.) can be found in the main Adherents.com database.

This document is divided into the following sections:

After many centuries, with the increased Western awareness of Eastern history and philosophy, and the development of Islam, other religions were added to the list. Many Far Eastern ways of thought, in fact, were given the status of "world religion" while equally advanced religious cultures in technologically less developed or pre-literate societies (such as in Australia, Africa, South America, and Polynesia) were grouped together as pagans or "animists," regardless of their actual theology. It's true that by the standards applied at the time, the Far Eastern religions Westerners encountered were often in a different category altogether than the religions they classified as pagan. One can not directly compare, for example, the local beliefs of the Polynesian islands of Kiribati during the 1500s to the organizational, political, literary and philosophical sophistication of Chinese Taoism during the same period. But one could certainly question whether Japanese Shintoism, as an official "world religion", was theologically or spiritually more "advanced" than African Yoruba religion, which was classified simply as animism or paganism.

During the 1800s comparative religion scholars increasingly recognized Judaism, Christianity, Islam, Hinduism, and Buddhism as the most significant "world religions." Even today, these are considered the "Big Five" and are the religions most likely to be covered in world religion books.

Five smaller or more localized religions/philosophies brought the list of world religions to ten: Confucianism, Taoism, Jainism, Shinto and Zoroastrianism.

Beginning around 1900 comparative religion writers in England began to take note of the Sikhs which had begun to immigrate there from India (part of the British Empire at the time). Sikhs, if mentioned at all, had been classified as a sect of Hinduism during the first three hundred years of their history. But after the influential British writers began to classify Sikhism as a distinct, major world religion, the rest of the world soon followed their example.

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CTA holds seminar of four schools of Buddhism, Bon

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( Photo/ Jamyang Tsering/ DIIR)

PM Dr. Lobsang Sangay was speaking on Sunday to over 120 Tibetan monks and nuns at the inaugural ceremony of the first ever seminar of the four traditions of Tibetan Buddhism and Bon at Gyuto Monastery near here.

Also present at the gathering were Khenpo Sonam Tenphel, the Deputy Speaker of the Tibetan Parliament in exile, former PM Prof. Samdhong Rinpoche and Dhondup Dorjee, the Religion Secretary.

Prof. Samdhong Rinpoche appealed to the custodians of Tibetan Buddhism to preserve the jewel, the Tibetan Buddhist tradition. Rinpoche said the true essence of Buddha Dharma is preserved in the form of Tibetan Buddhism and expressed through the Tibetan language only.

Prof. Samdhong Rinpoche, reminded the gathering of the efforts made by the great religious kings and Buddhist saints of Tibet in spreading Buddhism to Tibet and other parts of the world.

Through this seminar, the Tibetan exile administration aims to foster the preservation and progression of Tibetan Buddhism, and to affirm harmonious relations between the different schools of Tibetan Buddhism and Bon religion.

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Buddhist influence on local culture

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The third Buddhist council headed by Ven. Moggalipuththa Tissa was one of the most important events in the history of Buddhism. Its most significant out come was to bring Theravada Buddhism to Sri Lanka. This council was convened around 250 BCE by King Asoka, the greatest ruler of India. The third Buddhist council had a vital objective. This was to spread Buddhism beyond India by sending missionary monks to nine different countries. However the most important mission came to the island of Sri Lanka. This mission was led by none other than King Asoka's own son, Ven. Mahinda, who was to convert the King of Sri Lanka and all of his followers and subjects too. Ven. Mahinda before his passing away introduced not only the Buddha's teaching but also writing, new forms of art, architecture and literature to Sri Lankan society.

Ven. Mahinda performed a vital task to introduce a new writing tradition to Sri Lanka. He introduced a Brahmin alphabet to expand the writing methodology. So much evidence can be found out to prove that there was a writing tradition using Sinhala language (Hela Basa) after arrival of prince Vijaya in Sri Lanka. But it was developed well after Ven. Manhinda's arrival in Sri Lanka. He translated Pali commentaries in to Sinhala Commentaries. Ven. Mahinda with mission utilized Sinhalese Language to preach dhamma.

Some devotees who embraced Buddhism restored some caves and they were offered to Buddhist monks. These offerings were written on inscriptions in Sinhala Language. This Language and shape of letters had very close resemblances with the language in inscriptions of Ashoka. Accordingly Buddhism influenced to the Sinhalese Language from 3rd B.C.E. to present time not only for writing but also speaking. Sinhalese Language has borrowed so many Buddhist words to his word stock. The Buddhist influence on Sinhalese language can be seen in Orthography (letters), Etimology (words) and syntax (Sentences).

After establishment of Buddhism in the island Ven. Mahinda took various strategies to spread Dhamma with the help of king Devanampiyatissa. One was to introduce a new alphabet to expand the writing tradition and the other was to translate Pali Commentaries in to Sinhala language. This step caused to develop Sinhala language with its word stock. Buddhism was established in Sinhala as Helatuwa. This "Atuwa" influenced for the post literature. A.W. Adhikaron mentions a list of 'Helatuwa" in his book named Early History of Buddhism in Ceylon. They are:

Maha Attakata (Culattakata )

Maha pachchariya Attakata

Kurundi Attakatha.

Andhattakata.

Sankapattakata.

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Myanmar bar staff accused of religious insult to learn fate in 2 weeks

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YANGON: The New Zealand-born general manager of a bar in Myanmar and two local colleagues will hear in two weeks from a Myanmar court whether they are guilty of insulting Buddhism in an online promotion.

They were charged with insulting the religion because they used an image of Buddha in an online ad for a bar in Yangon. The men have been in jail for about two months.

The promotion for V Gastro Bar went viral on social media in Myanmar, where the majority of citizens have strong ties to the Buddhist faith.

Bar manager Tun Thurein and Htut Ko Ko Lwin both Myanmar nationals and New Zealander Philip Blackwood managed a short chat with family members before the hearing began.

Cameras were not allowed inside the courtroom where Blackwoods defence argued he did not intend to insult Buddhism. His counsel said the ad was misguided and once informed it could be seen as sacrilegious, he removed it and apologised.

Blackwood remained positive as he emerged after the hearing.

We've done what we can. It's now up to the court to decide," he told Channel NewsAsia.

For the other two accused, the defence said they did not know that Blackwood had posted the ad online. All three accused asked for all charges to be dropped.

He had no intention, no malicious assaulting of religious feelings, just for the promotion of the shop, put it up on the 9th and scrubbed it out on the 11th with good intention, said Mya Thway, Blackwoods lawyer. It was a good final argument, but what will happen, I dont know.

Each of the accused faces two charges related to causing religious offence and a third charge of operating the bar after hours, which together carry a maximum term of imprisonment of two years.

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Myanmar bar staff accused of religious insult to learn fate in 2 weeks

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Thailand reform council focused on monks and money

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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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