Judgement day for Phra Dhammachayo

Judgement day for Phra Dhammachayo
Controversial monk Phra Dhammachayo
PHOTO: Reuters

Today could be judgement day for controversial monk Phra Dhammachayo, with the Sangha Supreme Council (SSC) expected to issue a resolution in its meeting.

More than three weeks since authorities began besieging the temple, the ex-abbot has still not been located. The Department of Special Investigation, police and military have faced resistance at the temple from Dhammakaya followers.

The former abbot is wanted on charges of money laundering and accepting stolen items, and has refused to turn himself in for more than a year despite repeated summons and a warrant issued for his arrest.

The situation reached a peak yesterday when three state agencies and one independence agency - the Anti-Money Laundering Office, Royal Thai Police, DSI and the Office of the Ombudsman - submitted a complaint concerning Phra Dhammachayo to the National Buddhism Office (NBO), urging it to take action against the embattled monk.

Read also: Thai king strips wanted monk of his rank

The NBO, via its newly appointed director Pol Lt-Colonel Pongporn Pramsaneh, who is SSC secretary-general, is expected to submit the complaints to an SSC meeting today at 2pm. The meeting will be the first attended by the new Supreme Patriarch.

The complaints are that:

  • DSI is pursuing a money-laundering case against Phra Dhammachayo.
  • Police have filed more than 300 cases against Dhammakaya Temple.
  • The Anti-Money Laundering Office plans asset seizures related to the money-laundering case.
  • The Office of the Ombudsman accuses Phra Dhammachayo of spuriously claiming to have attained a high level of dharma, a serious offence that if confirmed could lead to his defrocking.

The NBO is set to ask the Sangha Supreme Council to decide on Phra Dhammachayo's case, though that decision might not come tomorrow.

The meeting could deliver one of two scenarios:

The council could accept the case for consideration but then issue a decision at its next meeting, or it could go ahead and deliver its resolution today.

There are two possible resolutions.

First, the council could decide to defrock Phra Dhammchayo. Second, the council could decide to set up a Sangha committee to probe the accusation, using the findings to decide on Phra Dhammachayo's status as a monk.

Read also: Thai cops find tunnel in manhunt for elderly monk

 

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