Esoteric Teaching of Wat Phra Dhammakaya by Mano Mettanando Laohavanich

Those interested to cultivate a deeper understanding of the Dhammakaya Movement, Wat Phra Dhammakaya (Thai: วัดพระธรรมกาย), can read the academic paper, “Esoteric Teaching of Wat Phra Dhammakaya” by Mano Mettanando Laohavanich published in the Journal of Buddhist Ethics, Volume 19, 2012. So far this blog had only one post regarding this movement, “Dhammakaya sect knows where Steve Jobs was reborn” (2012/09/16).

The abstract of the paper states:

Thailand’s controversial Wat Phra Dhammakaya has grown exponentially. In just three decades, it has come to have millions of followers in and outside of Thailand and over forty branches overseas. The esoteric teaching of meditation taught by the leaders of the community has inspired thousands of young men and women from various universities to sacrifice their lives to serve their Master, something that has never been seen before in Thailand or elsewhere in the Theravada world. What is the nature of this esoteric teaching? Why is it so appealing to these young minds? These questions are discussed and analyzed by the author, who was one of Wat Phra Dhammakaya’s founding members.

Read the full paper: “Esoteric Teaching of Wat Phra Dhammakaya” by Mano Mettanando Laohavanich


Update June 2016

Update August 2016

There is also an academic book Nirvana for Sale?: Buddhism, Wealth, and the Dhammakaya Temple in Contemporary Thailand by Rachelle M. Scott, published by State University of New York Press, 2009.

The synopsis reads:

Explores the relationship between material prosperity and spirituality in contemporary Thai Buddhism.

What is the proper relationship between religion and prosperity? Rachelle M. Scott looks at this issue in a Thai Buddhist context, asking when the relationship between Buddhist piety and wealth is viewed in favorable terms and when it is viewed in terms of conflict and tension. Scott focuses on the Dhammakaya Temple, an organization that has placed traditional Theravada practices, such as meditation and merit-making, within a modernist framework that encourages personal and social prosperity. The Temple’s construction of a massive religious monument in the late 1990s embodied this message, but also sparked criticism of the Temple’s wealth and fund-raising techniques and engendered debates over authentic Buddhism and religious authority. Scott situates this controversy within the context of postmodern Thailand and the Asian economic crisis when reevaluations of wealth, global capitalism, and “Asian values” occupied a preeminent place in Thai public discourse.

Update September 2016

Update February 2017

Update March 2017

Lama Gangchen Tulku Rinpoche at Dhammakaya

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