Supreme showdown

Somdet Chuang is a argumentative hopeful to spin autarchic patriarch. (Photo by Pattarapong Chatpattarasill)

As dual feuding camps strife over a assignment of a new autarchic patriarch, a supervision has been hold in a crossfire.

An nauseous scuffle pennyless out final month between monks and soldiers during Phutthamonthon Buddhist park when about 1,200 monks and their supporters, led by Phra Methee Dhammacharn in his ability as secretary-general of a Buddhism Protection Centre of Thailand, collected to direct a supervision assist a appointment.

LEADER IN WAITING: Somdet Chuang is a argumentative hopeful to spin autarchic patriarch.

Somdet Phra Maha Ratchamangalacharn, or Somdet Chuang, a priest of Wat Pak Nam Phasi Charoen, is a many comparison of a 8 possibilities for autarchic patriarch, arch of a ruling physique of a country’s 300,000 Buddhist monks. The 90 year aged is also now behaving autarchic primogenitor and management of a Sangha Supreme Council (SSC).

However, some groups have expel doubt on Somdet Chuang’s suitability, accusing him of carrying a tighten attribute with a argumentative priest of Wat Phra Dhammakaya, Phra Dhammachayo, whom he mentored when Phra Dhammachayo was consecrated in 1969. He is also seen as carrying tighten tighten ties to a Thaksin Shinawatra domestic network.

In a antithesis stay is Phra Buddha Isara, a priest of Wat O Noi, who was an romantic priest heading protesters to reject a Yingluck Shinawatra administration before a coup. He submitted a list to a primary apportion of 300,000 people who brawl a assignment of Somdet Chuang and urged a examine into Wat Pak Nam’s selected automobile collection.

Spectrum spoke to Phra Buddha Isara and Phra Methee about politics, solution a brawl over a new autarchic patriarch, and Somdet Chuang’s tighten connectors with Wat Dhammakaya.



Why are we insisting on a check of a assignment of Somdet Chuang as autarchic patriarch?

If we were to name a leader, would we name one who receives stolen property? It’s elementary logic. Somdet Chuang is not usually indicted of owning selected cars, though he is also indicted by a National Anti-Corruption Commission of misusing supports that were meant for a position of a autarchic patriarch. Somdet Chuang was not royally allocated as autarchic patriarch, and therefore can't use a money. However, he has used it for many years — given Somdet Phra Nyanasamvara [the former autarchic patriarch] fell ill. Somdet Chuang has never proven fake these allegations opposite him, and his poise does not make him a good purpose indication for his followers. If he is authorised to be a autarchic patriarch, there will really be disciplinary issues.

In what approach is Somdet Chuang closely connected with Wat Dhammakaya and given would this have a disastrous outcome on his nomination?

He is Phra Dhammachayo’s [abbot of Wat Dhammakaya] preceptor. It’s not wrong if Dhammachayo acts according to Buddhist discipline. But that is not a case. Recently, Wat Dhammakaya introduced nonetheless another “sculpture of heaven” — a hammers they sell for 100,000-200,000 baht. As SSC chairman, has Somdet Chuang ever mentioned that he would retaliate those who pennyless Buddhist discipline? No. That is a homogeneous of origination a rapist personality a priest leader. How can we accept that?

Why do we call him a rapist leader?

At this time, everybody in a universe knows that Dhammachayo is charged with a piracy of supports from a credit kinship mild and income laundering. If this is not a rapist leader, afterwards what is it? Has Somdet Chuang ever questioned his footman on this? Never. So if in a destiny there is piracy involving temples, will Somdet Chuang brave to use his management to doubt them? At a time when monks and students of Mahachulalongkornrajavidyalaya University are seeking temples to put adult banners to support a appointment of Somdet Chuang as autarchic patriarch, we also wish to ask Buddhists to put adult banners in front of their houses protesting opposite Somdet Chuang. We will not have a sinister chairman as autarchic patriarch.

If Somdet Chuang’s poise has been inapt as we suggest, given did a SSC commission him as a new autarchic primogenitor in Jan final year?

The SSC is underneath a energy of Wat Dhammakaya and Somdet Chuang. There are usually a few SSC members who do not go to Dhammakaya temple. Therefore Wat Dhammakaya is Somdet Chuang, and Somdet Chuang is Wat Dhammakaya. Dhammakaya exists in each in. of Thai society. They squeeze land in districts with a high income per chairman in sequence to enhance their energy and kingdom, as good as to support domestic groups. Political groups that wish to come into energy can hit a Dhammakaya cult given they have a comprehensive hold over society.

Where does Wat Dhammakaya benefit a resources from?

If we demeanour during supervision expenditure, some of it is sent to Wat Dhammakaya. This has happened given a Thaksin administration and until Yingluck. Part of it is from donations, performed by rowdiness people. Their many new origination is a celestial sculptures. Since they browbeat society, a economy and politics, they are means to enhance their energy to crush Buddhist teachings. While a Buddha asks us to scapegoat in sequence to reduce selfishness, Dhammakaya tells us that a some-more we donate, a wealthier we get.

Is a SSC wakeful of this? SSC members nap and eat during a temple, so how can they not know? Over half a cabinet members are supporters of Dhammakaya and accept income from Dhammakaya. We therefore see shameless people all over a place given a SSC does not brave to do anything to Dhammakaya and those shameless people.

Does that meant Buddhism in Thailand has deteriorated?

Buddhism has not deteriorated. What has run-down is a individual. And it is given it is so bad that we have to protest. Somdet Phra Nyanasamvara met with me several times to plead these problems that he was not means to act on during a time due to a domestic powers ancillary Dhammakaya.

Which domestic organization are we referring to?

Everyone knows that Dhammakaya is Thaksin’s domestic tool. Everyone knows that Dhammakaya is a Shinawatra family’s domestic tool. Everyone knows that some monks are underneath a energy of a Shinawatra family. You contingency not forget that before Thaksin became primary minister, abbots perceived a monthly income of usually 500 baht. When Thaksin became primary minister, it rose to over 1,000 baht. SSC members were given some-more than 30,000 baht per month, adult from over 10,000 baht. If it were you, who would we choose? Thaksin has prolonged designed to buy a nation and religion. Society contingency realize this truth.

If not Somdet Chuang, who do we consider would be a suitable candidate?

Anyone who does not contaminate a Buddhist discipline.

Do we consider a brawl over a assignment of a autarchic primogenitor is politically motivated? 

The other side — either it is a United Front for Democracy Against Dictatorship (UDD) and a personality Jatuporn Prompan, a red shirts or Dr Weng Tojirakarn — is pulling brazen with this issue. Even [monk] Mahashow Tassaneeyo, [academic] Sathien Wipromha and Methee Dhammacharn — have they ever oral during UDD protests? Yes they have. So given are they pulling for Dhammakaya and Somdet Chuang to benefit authority? We are not meditative of regulating sacrament as a domestic apparatus given we have never upheld any domestic party. It’s usually their side regulating sacrament as a domestic apparatus given those people clearly seemed during protests display support for a domestic party.

But in a past we played a pivotal purpose in a People’s Democratic Reform Committee’s rallies opposite a Yingluck Shinawatra administration.

I also protested opposite Thaksin given he was corrupt. He shop-worn religion, multitude and a monarchy. And it’s not usually me — anyone in Thailand who feels beholden towards a nation has a right to critique [against Thaksin]. But we need to know that we did not expostulate him out given we wanted power, or for a energy to tumble into a hands of a sold organization of politicians. Whoever says that we am politically motivated, that is a misunderstanding. It’s a other side, not me.

What will start if Somdet Chuang is allocated new autarchic patriarch?

I consider there will be chaos. The polls contend 70% do not support Somdet Chuang as a autarchic patriarch. If a sum series of monks national is 300,000 as claimed, how many is that compared to 70% of Buddhists? But a series [of his supporters] competence be incomparable if we supplement members of a UDD.

Does a primary apportion seem demure to act?

He doesn’t wish this emanate to spin into something abnormal. we consider he is vouchsafing it take a healthy march according to authorised procedures. But it’s not healthy in terms of fortify given a resource and those who make a fortify are disabled. This includes a SSC, a National Office of Buddhism and comparison monks.

How do we consider this problem should be solved?

Lay down a tripitaka right in front, open it page by page, and defrock any priest who acts opposite a teachings. But don’t forget that Dhammakaya has a possess tripitaka, that they twice attempted to get authorized by a SSC.

I have listened that Dhammakaya is even unctuous a possess people into a National Reform Council to approve a check on reforming a clergy. This includes a National Office of Buddhism, that has always attempted to strengthen Dhammakaya.



Why are we propelling a prompt publicity of a 20th autarchic patriarch?

The preaching is governed underneath a 1962 Sangha Act. During a time when Thailand was still an comprehensive monarchy, a king’s duties enclosed ruling both a people and ancillary Buddhism. But after a 1932 revolution, in that Thailand altered to a democracy, Buddhism was neglected. In a past, a state and sacrament reputable one another. Although monks were underneath a law, they had a right to oversee themselves. Now we have a conditions in that a SSC, a ruling physique of a country’s monks, nominated Somdet Chuang as a new autarchic patriarch, though a state has not nonetheless acted on a resolution.

According to Section 7 of a Sangha Act, a SSC has a avocation to name a autarchic patriarch, while a King has a energy to designate a autarchic patriarch. The supervision acts as a follower by forwarding a name to a Royal Household Bureau. In a same way, a preaching has never meddled with state affairs. For instance, we accept all governments regardless of either they came into energy by approved means or a troops coup. According to a law, monks do not have a right to opinion underneath any circumstance, due to a subdivision of sacrament and state. If a supervision currently is this tighten [to interference], it means a preaching has totally unsuccessful in self-governance given they have mislaid that power.

Somdet Chuang is seen as carrying tighten ties to a argumentative Dhammakaya temple. If this is true, would it have a disastrous outcome on his purpose as autarchic patriarch, given that many see Dhammakaya as a cult that has twisted a Buddha’s teachings to boost a wealth?

I admire Somdet Chuang’s virtuousness in being a teacher of a priest of Wat Dhammakaya. At this time, people demeanour during a enlargement of a church and bond it to politics rather than looking during it as violating Buddhist discipline. Many people are fearful that a church will control both a state and religion. They perspective a autarchic primogenitor as being a teacher of a clergy, while [Dhammakaya] has many followers. They are fearful that this will impact choosing outcomes.

I have never had anything to do with this temple. we have never entered it and we have never seen this church before. we do not have a attribute with them and we do not have to strengthen them. But a censure per disciplinary transformation [against Phra Dhammachayo] was cold in 1999 before a conference could begin. If any emanate arises per a temple, it is probable to ensue with disciplinary and authorised actions. Somdet Chuang has never stable a temple. The emanate of ethics is used as a justification to forestall a appointment of a autarchic patriarch.

Somdet Chuang has faced critique for owning a selected Mercedes-Benz that a Department of Special Investigation says was illegally alien and registered. Would it be right to support someone who is underneath rapist investigation?

The supervision needs to realize that what is function to Somdet Chuang is not a conflict. There is a tiny organization of people who attempted to set adult a conditions in sequence to emanate disharmony and conflict, heading to a impediment of a appointment of a autarchic patriarch. The emanate with a cars is a domestic issue. Up until now, a DSI has usually publicly settled that a automobile was performed in a prejudicial manner, and they left people to come adult with their possess end that given a automobile is wrong, a automobile owners is also wrong. The DSI has not nonetheless supposing a full design of a case; they usually discuss a beginning. Monks national compensate honour to Somdet Chuang given we have been together for such a prolonged time. If Somdet Chuang is wakeful that this emanate is wrong, given would he risk losing his honour usually for one car? we would like a DSI to fast transparent adult this issue.

Do we consider a brawl over a assignment of a autarchic primogenitor is politically motivated? 

I wish a supervision to honour a clergy, that has a right to self-govern. we am endangered that there will be disunity, given now many monks of a Maha Nikaya propagandize are seeking given it is so formidable for someone from their propagandize to be allocated as autarchic patriarch. Some groups are even proposing a apart ruling physique such as a complement used in Sri Lanka or Cambodia, where there are dual autarchic patriarchs for a dual opposite sects. That is not what we want.

As for a other side, there is a tiny organization of people who are environment adult a conditions in sequence to emanate chaos. These agenda-driven people are domestic and eremite hardcores who brew politics with a preaching in sequence to stir chaos.

Can we elaborate on accurately how they are regulating politics to means chaos?

Right now a nation is politically divided, and there is a perspective that many monks are on one side. So when a other side rises to power, they concur with those in energy to dispute their opponents. That is given we contend that a church during Pathum Thani [Wat Dhammakaya] does not simulate disciplinary issues though domestic issues. They fear that there will be a mastery of a state and clergy; that if a preaching has energy and a state has a vast network of supporters, afterwards they will remove in elections. This is something that no one is articulate about.

It is transparent that when a other side collected to form a domestic movement, they mentioned preaching remodel and a change in a Sangha Act during their “Bangkok shutdown” campaign. Today they are walking along a same roadmap. As for my side, we have to doubt Somdet Chuang’s laxity with red shirt supporters. Which red shirt believer is he informed with? No one.

But given are there many red shirt supporters who support Somdet Chuang as a new autarchic patriarch?

I am not utterly certain either or not a red shirts support him. What we can see is that many of a country’s race has not had a contend in this issue. But we can endorse that all a monks in this nation honour Somdet Chuang and courtesy him as their leader.

I do not have any seductiveness in this issue, though a preaching needs to exist and pierce forward. The preaching contingency have a right to self-govern according to a law.

So a perspective that Somdet Chuang has tighten ties with Wat Dhammakaya, and that Dhammakaya has a tighten attribute with Thaksin, a red shirts’ patron, is a sermon that was combined out of a blue?

It is transparent that Somdet Chuang was a teacher of Dhammakaya. His virtuousness towards his disciples is clear. As for Wat Dhammakaya and Thaksin, in what approach are they close? There are many yellow shirt phu yai [senior figures] who have tighten relations with Dhammakaya’s vast donators, though a media does not discuss this. But currently when there is a fear of elections, a tie is done between him and this side, and that if there are elections they will assistance one another. When that happens, it will lead to one domestic side losing a event to form government. That leads to restraint a preaching as well, in terms of how to forestall [Somdet Chuang] from being autarchic patriarch, out of regard of mastery of a state and religion.

What will start if Somdet Chuang is not done a new autarchic patriarch?

From now on, a preaching will be incompetent to exist as an organisation, due to a disaster to oversee themselves. There will be a vast uncover of discord within a preaching that has never happened before. The Maha Nikaya propagandize will be noticed as being prevented from receiving a top rank, notwithstanding entirely complying with a law.

Does a primary apportion seem demure to act?

Many people perspective him as fuelling conflict, origination a problem expand and unsolvable. The primary apportion is candid and ethical. He needs to be wilful and wakeful that a organization of people are handling underneath an agenda.

Is it bootleg for a supervision to not act in suitability with a SSC resolution?

They risk violating Section 157 of a Criminal Code [related to desertion of duty]. If during slightest half a monks in a nation titillate a supervision to be prosecuted underneath Section 157, what will happen? Chaos will occur.

How do we consider this problem should be solved?

Talks should be held, with a supervision behaving as a facilitator. The talks should be candid and formed on reason.

LOYAL ALLY: Phra Methee Dhammacharn was summoned by emissary PM Prawit Wongsuwon after a strife with soldiers during Phutthamonthon park. The altercation, next right, was a outcome of disappointment over a behind appointment of a new autarchic patriach.

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