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Ecclesiastical boss forms committees to manage Dhammakaya Temple

Mar 31. 2017
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By The Nation

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The ecclesiastical chief superintendent of the Central region has assigned two committees to manage the Pathum Thani-based Dhammakaya Temple to maintain peace.

The move came as the Department of Special Investigation (DSI) is set to withdraw from the temple, according to Booncherd Kittitharangkoon, director of the Office of the Secretary-General of the Sangha Supreme Council (SSC).

Following the SSC's meeting on Thursday, Booncherd said Wat Phichaiyat abbot Somdet Phra Buddhashinnawong, in his capacity as ecclesiastical chief superintendent of the Central region, signed an order to set up the two panels to manage Dhammakaya Temple.

The panels will be headed by Ecclesiastical Region 1 chief Phra Thepsuthee and Pathum Thani monk chief Phra Theprattanasuthee. 

The panels will oversee and provide guidance and instruction to Dhammakaya’s acting abbot so as to maintain the daily operations of the temple as well as maintain law and order.

National Office of Buddhism (NOB) director-general Pongporn Parmsneh told the press that SSC had acknowledged the DSI's proposal to solve the Dhammakaya issue, which would be sent to Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha to consider. 

It includes the DSI's request for the junta leader to lift the special-control order over the temple that was implemented under the all-powerful Article 44 of the interim charter, so police can form teams to search for the temples fugitive former abbot Phra Dhammachayo, he said. 

A joint operation centre for peace and order would be set up at Dhammakaya Temple to ensure activities there are done in accordance with Dhammavinaya and the law as well as gather information about Phra Dhammachayo, he said. 

The Interior Ministry would be assigned to probe the Dhammakaya Temple Foundation's operations to determine if any illegalities were committed and the Finance Ministry would inspect its financial matters including tax payments, he said.

The NOB would establish a committee to check if Dhammakaya's teachings and propagation methods went against the Dhammavinaya, he added. 

Pongporn said the Ministry of Digital Economy and Society would be assigned to monitor messages of incitement online, while the National Broadcasting and Telecommunications Commission would block or cancel the satellite TV broadcasting operations of Dhammakaya Media Channel until concrete solutions were implemented. 

The military would provide security around the temple, he added.

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