The Magnificent Buddhist Temple of Wat Phra Dhammakaya

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Wat Phra Dhammakaya is a Buddhist temple of humongous size in Khlong Luang District, 16 kilometers north of Bangkok International Airport in Bangkok, Thailand. It is the center of the controversial Dhammakaya Movement, a Buddhist sect founded in the 1970s, that has been attacked for its unconventional religious teachings and commercialization of Buddhism. The unorthodox $1billion religious monument looks more like a spaceship, or a sports stadium or even a UFO rather than resembling a traditional Thai temple.

At the center of the structure is a huge dome (the Dhammakaya Cetiya) covered with 300,000 gold-coated bronze statues of Buddha -- another 700,000 are nestled inside the temple. The golden dome is the Memorial Hall of the sect’s founder, Phramonkolthepmuni. This is surrounded by a massive circular concrete platform which functions as the Meditation Amphitheatre. The entire complex is located on a thousand-acres piece of land.

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Mass rituals and meditations are held everyday, helped by thousands of volunteers. During Sundays and major religious festivals, nearly 100,000 worshippers congregate at the complex. Already a community of 3,000 monks, novices, laymen and laywomen live within Wat Phra Dhammakaya making it the largest temple in Thailand in terms of inhabitants.

Despite outlandish ceremonies and national coverage of these events through television channels, Dhammakaya has managed to keep under the world's radar. The four-decade old religious cult has only recently scaled up to a spectacle that it’s now, with a two-week nationwide retreat held on Dec. 25, 2010, where an estimated 200,000 people attended.

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Sources: Wikipedia, Wikitravel, Foreign Policy, Dhammakaya.net

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8 comments:

  1. I have been to Wat Phra temple. It was really so amazing experience. I love your all articles and images. . .

    ReplyDelete
  2. micknbennett@gmail.comJuly 8, 2014 at 3:29 PM

    I've just spent an afternoon at the Temple. I must say I disliked it immensely. The acres upon acres of cement, concrete and steel, much of it in a soulless Brutalistic style made my visit arduous in the extreme. I failed to see what any of it had to do with the idea's and true concepts of Buddhism. The blatant opulence of some aspects of the place was really upsetting and somewhat sinister reminding one of Fascist rallies and the like. I'd be interested to hear if anyone else had the same experience as I

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    Replies
    1. I visited the temple a couple of days ago and I was about to write about this experience in my blog. I am surprised to notice you have snatched the words out of me. I was going to use the words tons of cement but no soul...
      I think it is better to concentrate in their meditation and teachings. There I find an ineresting confrontation between the traditional Non-Self and the True-Self proposed by the Dhammakaya School.

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    2. Perhaps it is in your personal concept of what is and what should be. Maybe a more open mind to the realization that Budhism is many things and many conceptions to many people.

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    3. I just learned of this temple and plan to visit as soon as i can arrange to go there. I always hope i can find enlightened concepts when visiting any temple. I currently live in Bangkok so the trip should be easy to arrange.

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  3. hello, may i know are this temple is open for public ?
    any ticket fee to this temple or free ?
    thank you

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. yes it is free, and no fee or tickets. you may visit it yourself to see how you like it.

      Delete

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