Sunday, March 19, 2017

When Success seems Strangely Problematic

Aerial Photo of Wat Phra Dhammakaya, shared by user Paul012 on Wiki released under a Creative Commons license on Wikimedia Commons

As previously described in my plea for help in Thailand, there has been trouble stirred up against Wat Phra Dhammakaya in strange circumstances. After Article 44 was invoked by the Thai government in mid-February, more than 4,000 police and military were involved in an operation under the direction of the Department of Special Investigation to try and seize Ven. Dhammajayo, the Honorary Abbot. They raided the temple in large numbers and were also looking for material treasures, but at the end of this oppressive and costly operation they came away empty-handed. According to one analyst, who sees a much more sweeping goal it was like "surrounding the forest to catch a mouse".

Some media reports have claimed that life proceeds as normal. But how can it be ‘normal’ if your home has been trampled on by intruders, family members starved, medical treatment curtailed and the head of the household under a barrage of allegations you regard as false? Furthermore, authorities have charged several more senior monks, including Ven. Dattajeevo, the Vice Abbot, for claims of financial inpropriety that seem absurd. All I have ever known them to do is teach the way to inner peace, day in, day out.

It's as though the temple is being attacked for being successful in three areas, which are easy to recognise... :-)

I. Generosity

These are manifest materially in offerings of food and requisites to monks, donations for buildings and facilities to sustain the monastic community and for the development and maintenance of facilities. Fruits: anyone can go to the monastery and participate with or without donating. What was a highly inhospitable land has been transformed over many years into an environment amenable for many people to practise (the key was just to keep planting good seeds).

In Good Question, Good Answer on DMC.TV, Ven. Dattajeevo explains in particular the value of making merit. (YouTube video in Thai with English subtitles — sorry if there are adverts displayed, but they shouldn’t last that long.)

II. Moral virtue

This is training of conduct in body, speech and mind; for lay people it means observing Five Precepts in everyday life and Eight Precepts at the monastery and on observance days. Fruits: Path of Progress quiz, V-Star and many other programmes for the public that have spread globally, as in World PEC.

For monks the training is far more rigorous with the observance of the Vinaya; and very many thousands have been ordained.

III. Meditation

Millions around the world have been introduced to the path of inner peace, whose practice leads to brightness and clarity of mind, helpful to people of all walks of life. The Dhammakaya method is particularly successful at bringing the mind to a standstill, making it perfectly clear like a limpid pool of water.

 In the following YouTube video, Ven. Dhammajayo leads meditation in English.

Those who attack the temple bring cloudiness by trying to drag the temple and its practitioners into murky socio-political spheres and the use of sophisticated language designed to deceive.

But truth is pure and simple, felt in the heart. It will be clearly seen.

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