Who is Behind the Klongchan Controversy?

Thailand's Department of Special Investigations (DSI), an agency that makes J. Edgar Hoover and the American FBI look like a squeaky clean human rights org, currently has over 350 completely random and unrelated charges laid against Wat Phra Dhammakaya. The first and most severe of which is a so called money laundering charge linked to the Klongchan Credit Union Cooperative (KCUC). 

The KCUC has been having some financial troubles since the embezzlement scandal that crippled its balance sheet, but contrary to what DSI has been reporting, it is not because of the "money laundering" scheme DSI is accusing Wat Phra Dhammakaya's honorary abbot, Luang Por Dhammajayo, of that the credit union is in trouble. Less than 10% of the total money allegedly embezzled was traced to the temple, which were received via donations made publicly to Luang Por Dhammajayo in front of thousands of people. On top of that, the temple raised money to return the sum of the donations back to the credit union once they were made aware of its origin.

As you will see in the following clip, the chairman of the KCUC explains that the people responsible for the credit union's impending failure is not Wat Phra Dhammakaya, but in fact, DSI and Thai Law enforcement, the people who are going after Wat Phra Dhammakaya.

The above excerpt conveys the point we want to make, but to prove that there was no shady editing or taking out of context, here are the full episodes of Facetime as they aired on Feb. 23rd and Feb. 24, 2017 below. 

Facetime Episodes Feb. 23 & 24, 2017 Interview with Mr. Prakit, Chairman of the Klongchan Credit Union Cooperative (KCUC)

Does DSI even know what Money Laundering is?

For over a year, the Thai Department of Special investigation (DSI) has pursued the Honorary abbot of Wat Phra Dhammakaya on numerous charges, the most severe of which being alleged “money laundering”. The source of the allegedly illicit money came from Klongchan Credit Union Cooperative (KCUC), in the form of a public donation. DSI issued a summons for the abbot to report to hear the charges. After he missed the summons, DSI issued an arrest warrant, despite the fact that the temple requested charges be given at the temple due to the abbot's health, something completely legal.

In order to arrest the honorary abbot for missing the summons DSI deployed a massive scale force to raid Wat Phra Dhammakaya, on authority of article 44 of the interim constitution, leading to a 23 day siege of the temple after DSI tried forcing all non-residents out of the temple. The siege ended when a deal was struck to allow the search to continue on the condition that witnesses followed officers, but it did not merit anything for the authorities.

Not long after DSI called off the search on the temple for the honorary abbot, some new charges popped up, this time on the vice abbot of the temple for allegedly using the KCUC money to buy stocks and illegal land. This contradicts an earlier statement by the Thai Anti-Money Laundering Office specifying what the money actually was used for. And of course, DSI refuses to specify which stocks he allegedly invested in. While the alleged purchases of stocks in itself, even if true, is not even illegal, the illegal land purchases are. So these new accusations raise a question.

Does DSI even know what money laundering is?

 An example of actual money laundering via a legal casino.   Cleaning illegal money through illegal land purchases or monks trading stock would not be money laundering- or at the very least be an incredibly poor attempt at money laundering.

An example of actual money laundering via a legal casino. 

Cleaning illegal money through illegal land purchases or monks trading stock would not be money laundering- or at the very least be an incredibly poor attempt at money laundering.


Money Laundering, by definition, is the act of making illicit funds appear legal. This is often done by taking illegal funds, concealing the money trail, and transferring the money into something legitimate. So for the honorary abbot to be charged with money laundering, DSI had to have evidence of an attempt to make the funds appear legal. But after over a year of investigating this “money laundering” case, DSI officials are now saying the KCUC money was used in buying unnamed stocks and illegal land on part of the vice abbot. If this was the case, the temple would be making illicit funds appear, at best, even more illicit.

So what's going on here?

DSI is now giving two contradictory charges to the two main figures of Wat Phra Dhammakaya. One to the honorary abbot for “money laundering” (taking illicit funds and making them appear legal), and then after DSI couldn't find him, they charge the vice abbot for using that exact same money to do illegal activities (putting illicit money into illicit things) just days after the failed search.

So, if DSI is going to come up with trumped up charges, they should at least make them feasible. Either the honorary abbot is a suspect of money laundering, or the vice abbot a suspect in illicit land deals, but these two accusations cannot both be true at the same time.

For the KCUC money to have been “laundered”, it could not have been put to illegal land or any illegal activity for that matter. For the money to have been used on any illegal activity, it would by definition not have been money laundering. DSI’s charges against the honorary abbot of Wat Phra Dhammakaya and now the vice abbot of Wat Phra Dhammakaya contradict each other.

Either one charge is true or the other charge is true. That, or neither of them are.

How a Forced Disrobe Scheme Works

The Thai Sangha considers being forced to disrobe akin to execution for monks who have taken a vow of lifelong ordination.

However, in Thailand the Thai secular government can disrobe any monk they want using loopholes in the Thai legal code. All they have to do is follow a simple "Forced Disrobe Scheme" to get rid of any influential monk they may see as a threat. Here's how it works. 

Post Today: A Simple Matter Made Complicated

This past week, news of plans to arrest the Abbot of Wat Phra Dhammakaya drew great interest from the media and people throughout the country. Within the intrigue are people who perceive it as a political division of camps. Many are convinced that the Abbot is guilty and a swift and definitive prosecution is needed. Opinions are pouring from people of various backgrounds--some possessing Right View while others holding the opposite. The faces of this latter group are familiar ones, where names are not necessary to guess who they are.

Peace TV Interviews Lawyer: Legal Code Supports Venerable Dhammajayo's Innocence

Peace TV’s “Discussing the News and Talking about Dhamma” host,  Assistant Professor Dr. Silp Rasri interviews a representative from the legal world, Lawyer Arkom Rattanapojanaroj, and an expert on the Monastic Code of Discipline, Dr. Jamnong Kantika.

In the interview, the lawyer, Mr. Arkom, refers to Section 39(2) in the Criminal Procedure Code to challenge DSI and affirm Venerable Dhammajayo’s innocence - there is no need for him to surrender.

VoiceTV21's "Daily Dose": Potential Amendment to the Sangha Act

On a recent Daily Dose, the host, M.L. Natthakorn, takes on the topic of amending the Sangha Act. This potential modification centers specifically on Section 7 of the Sangha Act of 1962 - the nomination and assignment of the Supreme Patriarch. The modification will essentially transfer the power to nominate and select the Supreme Patriarch from the hands of the Supreme Sangha Council to that of the Prime Minister. The long term impact this alteration will have, in the eyes of Phra Meteedhammajarn, is colossal and irreparable.      

Buddhism, Money, and the Modern World

What images come to mind when you hear the word Buddhism? For many, they are images popularized by Hollywood as a mystical world, quaint and rustic; a temple of photogenically peeling paint, romantically overgrown courtyard, and a picaresque Buddha image suitably ancient and ornate. If we add a saffron-robed monk with an inscrutable expression who speaks in riddles and proverbs, then the picture is nearly perfect. Lights, camera, action! Into this scene enters a protagonist who is obsessed with wealth or status but whose soul, despite himself, longs for something “more”; and by seeing the simplicity of the monk’s life, a life of no wealth, property, or even modern appliances, the protagonist learns about the important things in life. Does this all sound familiar and even cliché? That’s because it is.

Police General teaches DSI about handling Venerable Dhammajayo's Case

In a recent interview [approx. June 2016], former Commissioner-General of the Royal Thai Police, Police General Sereepisuth Temiyaves, offers his two cents and suggestions to DSI regarding an alternative way to conduct their case against Phrathepyanmahamuni, Abbot of Wat Phra Dhammakaya. He also questions why they’re rushing this case. Pol. Gen. Sareepisuth is a well known national figure who is respected for his tenacious stance on crime and has an impeccable track record.

Is the Thai Justice System Fair? The Mushroom Case

Is the Thai Justice System Fair? The Mushroom Case

Many people have questioned the actions of the abbot’s supporters who aren’t allowing him to be tried by the courts. These observers state that the courts should decide whether he is guilty or not - not his supporters - and if Abbot Dhammajayo is truly innocent, his supporters shouldn’t be afraid to let the courts decide.

A recent court case unearthed, however, clearly illustrates just how the Thai judicial system is not always fair and just, and in this case example, the justice system can be a heartless example of what happens when an opportunity presents itself before the “haves” and the “have-nots.”

VoiceTV21 "inherVIEW by Kampaka": Do Temples Have to Investigate the Source of Donations Received?

In Her View Host, Kampaka, brings up questions the public has been asking about regarding the Dhammakaya case: “The problem started with the donation of illicit money to Wat Phra Dhammakaya, entangling a monk and the temple in this very public lawsuit. What makes the case even more complex is Thai society is very divided politically. The lawsuit is a very sensitive one. Let’s take a peek into our society by delving into this issue with Kampaka on this program, In Her View.   

DSI Case Against the Dhammakaya Temple’s Abbot is Unnecessary and Unhelpful to Thailand

Strong and successful organizations bring pride to a nation’s citizenry. Such organizations become an integral part of the country, and often receive governmental support to make themselves competitive for international markets. In the United States and much of Europe, the support citizens have for one another have strengthened their nations socially and economically. This applies to spiritual and religious organizations as well. Although individuals may have varied opinions in regards to beliefs, they still respect each other and try to co-exist harmoniously.

TNN Interviews Deputy Prosecutor on DSI Providing Notification of Charges

On May 26, 2016, TNN news anchor conducted a phone interview with Mr. Paramet Intarachumnum, Deputy Director General of the Office of Criminal Prosecutor, whereby Mr. Intarachumnum provides his expert opinion on DSI notifying suspects regarding the hearing of charges.

Money Trail Illustrations

These graphics illustrate the transparent trail of funds as donated via cheques by Mr. Supachai Srisupa-aksorn to Most Ven. Dhammajayo of Wat Phra Dhammakaya, clearly challenging the grounds for the money laundering allegations brought forth by Thailand's Department of Special Investigation. 

Tam Trong Trong (Direct Questions) with Jomkwan

A Thai news anchor recently questioned a high-ranking DSI official on the Thairath TV show, "Tam Trong Trong (Direct Questions) with Jomkwan", which aired on May 18th, 2016, at 7pm UTC. This exchange was in regard to Wat Phra Dhammakaya's request for DSI to send a physician to examine and verify that the Abbot was truly ill and therefore unable to travel to DSI HQ to hear the charges against him. 

Buddhism in Thailand at a Crossroads: The Unjust Case Against Luang Por Dhammajayo

Thailand, a country where Buddhism has deep roots, has experienced recent political and social conflicts and upheaval in which Buddhism has played a major role. Buddhism, as both a religion and way of life, provides many Thais and an increasing number of foreigners with moral guideposts and a sense of stability when faced with the rapid pace of change in Thailand and the rest of the world. However, Buddhism is also highly interwoven into Thai politics. In Thailand’s current political climate where the government has been accused recently of numerous human rights violations, Buddhist religious leaders are not immune to such abuse.

Venerable Dhammajayo Deserves Admiration, Not Injustice

Thai newspapers have been reporting negative opinions about Venerable Dhammajayo, the Abbot of the Dhammakaya Temple (Wat Phra Dhammakaya). Whether the reader is new to Thailand, or just curious, it's good to listen to more than one view of the situation, so that we can develop a more accurate picture of what's going on. As a foreigner who has closely followed the workings of the temple for almost 10 years, I would like to share my opinion on some of these issues.