New High Tech Communication Device Invented

Thai news outlets have reported that a new “high tech communication” device has been invented in Thailand that will revolutionize how we communicate. This breakthrough achievement was revealed to the world by prominent non-lunatic Dr. Mano Laohavanich.

According to Dr. Mano Laohavanich, Wat Phra Dhammakaya has created a new high tech device that allows easy mobile wireless communication. The new device resembles a cheap digital tally counter that can be purchased in thrift stores. In fact, the device is completely identical to the tally counter in every way, even down to the words.

This breakthrough in technology was revealed by Dr. Mano when some newspeople noticed some Dhammakaya followers holding the devices. Ironically, Dhammakaya also uses digital tally counters for mantra meditation, similar to how mala beads were used in earlier times. However, Laohavanich explains that although these devices look exactly the same and have clear labels for “tally” and “count” on them, they are actually high tech communication devices that can speak to followers. 

On June 16, 2016, ThairathTV's Jomquan interviewed Dr. Mano Laohavanich on her talk show "Tam Trong Trong" [Ask Directly], where Dr. Mano introduces the audience to a new high tech device.

 

 

Reporters at The Lemon decided to investigate this new breakthrough, so we inquired with some Dhammakaya followers about the new device. “Are you joking? I got this on Amazon for $1.50, it doesn't even have a speaker, how can it talk to me?” says one Dhammakaya follower in the US who had this new technology.  A 6th grader living in the US who'd acquired this device two months ago said, "Sure, it could be hi-tech…if you lived a freaking thousand years ago!" A Thai Dhammakaya follower who also had this new technology gave this statement to The Lemon about the breakthrough device, “You can't be serious?”

Dr. Mano Laohavanich is a renowned Dhammakaya critic and expert and is seen as being a highly credible source on all things Dhammakaya by those who do not believe in evidence. This breakthrough in technology is just the latest in new information about the mysterious temple from Dr. Mano. Dr. Mano had previously revealed to the world that Dhammakaya is actually a Nazi sympathizing temple bent on world domination. As usual, he provides absolutely no evidence of his claims but we figure as an extremely anti-Dhammakaya personality he wouldn’t be making something like that up.

Laohavanich has also revealed that the abbot of Wat Phra Dhammakaya had a lifetime visa to the United States, showing the world that even though the United States discontinued all lifetime visas over 15 years ago that you just can't trust the US Department of State about facts involving US visas. It is much better to believe in a self-proclaimed genius.

This new breakthrough in technology revealed by the brilliant and totally honest Mano Laohavanich just goes to show that proof isn’t needed to support facts. Mano has made similarly bizarre statements about Dhammakaya before without providing any proof whatsoever, so The Lemon has no reason to believe the Dhammakaya critic was simply making things up regarding this issue. This new breakthrough technology will assuredly make all of our lives easier, and is projected by analysts at The Lemon to replace mobile phones within a matter of 10 years based on the intricacy of the device described by Dr. Mano. Our engineers can’t seem to figure out how the device works however, as pushing one of the 2 buttons on the device seems only to either “count” or to “reset” the count.

DSI Presses Charges Against Bill Gates

Thailand’s Department of Special Investigations (DSI) has launched an investigation into United States Billionaire Bill Gates for charges of money laundering and receiving stolen money. From 2009-2011 a series of cheques were authorized by the former chairman of Real Thai Credit Union (RTCU) to purchase over 10 billion baht in goods from a variety of stores. The funds used to purchase the goods were later traced to the embezzlement scheme.

 

Allegations against Mr. Gates emerged when 1 billion baht in purchases to Microsoft over 2009-2011 were linked to the embezzlement case, Gates is the founder of Microsoft. Mr. Gates has admitted that Microsoft did indeed sell the electronics to the chairman but has stated he did not know where the money came from. Microsoft has stated Mr. Gates could not know about the origin of the funds as the sales were processed by Microsoft's accounting department just like every single other large organization in the world.  

 

Once it was found out the money from the purchases from Microsoft by the former chairman were embezzled, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation agreed to return all the money from the illicit purchases linked to Microsoft to the credit union out of their own pocket, with Real Thai Credit Union (RTCU) then issuing a letter of appreciation to the foundation and dropping all charges. Regardless, DSI is still pursuing Mr. Gates, stating that “...since there is evidence of wrongdoing, we cannot drop the case even though all the money was returned”, a DSI representative told The Lemon.

 

The rest of the 9 billion baht was spent on numerous other goods traced to other organizations, such as Samsung, Apple, Boeing, and Tesla, the biggest expense was a private jet worth 3 billion baht from Boeing. Interestingly enough DSI has not bothered to pursue charges against any of the other recipients of the illicit cheques.

 

The Lemon inquired about this curious decision to DSI. DSI officials stated they are pursuing all cases legally and fairly, they are just focusing on the Gates case first even though most of the aforementioned recipients of funds received much more of the illicit funds than Microsoft.

 

The ongoing case has sparked much tension in the world, US presidential candidate Donald Trump affirms that American company Microsoft is innocent and has stated he has no plans to extradite Gates.

Prominent Microsoft critic Dr. Mano Laohavanich has also gone public about the case against Gates. Dr. Mano is a self-proclaimed Microsoft expert, acclaimed by a total of two people including himself for his expertise on all things Microsoft. Laohavanich had but this to say about the Microsoft:

 

Despite having no association with the victim credit union whatsoever, Dr. Mano has called himself “a champion for the members of RTCU” and “a hero for the downtrodden” for his aggressive pursuit of Mr. Gates in the case. The chairman of RTCU has stated that he and the board do not approve of his activities however.

 

The chairman of RTCU left The Lemon with this statement regarding the case against Gates: “Seriously?! Drop this case!!! They returned the money already!! What part of WE DROP THE CHARGES do you people not understand!?!? We are still out 9 billion frickin baht!! Stop focusing on the ONE group that returned our money and get the other 90% of our stolen money back!!! Our former chairman bought a lot of frickin things from lots of different companies!!”

 

Self-proclaimed Microsoft expert Dr. Mano has stated that DSI must pursue Gates swiftly, as extraditing Gates will be impossible as he plans to skip dimensions. Dr. Mano has stated that the Windows logo for Microsoft is really an interdimensional portal Gates can use to escape dimensions to flee prosecution. Mano’s claims against Microsoft is supported by exactly one other person, the aliens guy from Ancient Aliens. Mr. Aliens Guy made this statement regarding Mano’s claims that Gates will skip dimensions before trial in his windows portal:

 

 

The ongoing case against Gates has been highly publicized in the Thai media, with many outlets writing stories about the case without even bothering to send reporters. The Bangkok Post had this to say about their portrayal of the case, “the fact of the matter is, there is no evidence that sending reporters helps with reporting news, it is much better to just take random photographs we find on google of the most recent story, watermark it, and then write a story we think is accurate” says B. Sivarnavich, an employee of The Bangkok Post.

 

DISCLAIMER

This article is strictly satiricalBill Gates is not under investigation by DSI. This article may or may not use real names, and some parts may be presumed fiction or fake. Any resemblance to a real life situation may or may not be coincidental. Please use your common sense when reading this article. 

The Lemon section of Dhammakaya Uncovered is intended for a mature, sophisticated, and sensible audience.

 

A Short History Behind DSI's Dhammakaya Consultant

On May 28, 2016

Mr. Ong-art Thamnitta pleaded for Dr. Mano Laohavanich--Julaporn Medical Institution Professor, Thammasat University, a quondam disciple of Wat Phra Dhammakaya, and member of the National Reform Council of Thailand--to “cease his behaviour of defaming others with false information and in bad faith. Today more than ever, society needs harmony and unity. He [Dr. Laohavanich] has fabricated stories to defame his previous spiritual leader whom he had once respected and from whom he once accepted support to further his education abroad. He has defamed the abbot with many false statements, which the Most Ven. Dhammajayo has never come out to refute. Nevertheless, the supporters and followers of Wat Phra Dhammakaya are hurt and disappointed. If there are any statements still to be made, however, he [Dr. Laohavanich] can confirm their accuracy with me. I’m ready to give information from both sides, so we can see that between a former leading disciple like Dr. Mano Laohavanich and me, a current disciple, which one of us can give more accurate information [about the abbot and the temple].”

Translated from Thai

Mr. Ong-art Thamnitta is a spokesperson for the supporters and followers of Wat Phra Dhammakaya, who like many other supporters  is outraged by Dr. Laohavanich’s slander against the temple and its abbot--and now, his involvement in the special case over which DSI has tried to arrest the abbot.

Dr. Laohavanich has been vigorously involved in DSI’s case against Ven. Dhammajayo. He has submitted a letter  encouraging and rooting  DSI to continue their investigation against the abbot. The latest news reported that DSI has even invited him to join their meeting in strategizing on how to extract the abbot from the temple. He had also openly said in an interview that he has been an advisor for DSI, pushing this case from the very start.

It is an extreme conflict of interest to have Dr. Laohavanich, an openly anti-Dhammakaya movement individual, work alongside DSI, a governmental office that is required by law to be impartial. Let us get to know who Dr. Laohavanich really is.

Formerly Ven. Mettanando Bhikkhu, with allegedly 19 years of experience as a top leader of the Dhammakaya movement, Dr. Laohavanich is definitely an astonishingly intelligent man. He is decorated with several degrees from Chulalongkorn, Oxford, Harvard, and Hamburg Universities, giving him a long alphabet soup of titles behind his name.

Dr. Laohavanich ordained at Wat Phra Dhammakaya in 1982 with another MD graduate in the same year--now Phrakrupaladsuwattanabodhikhun (Phramaha Dr. Somchai Thanavuddho)--and was given the name Ven. Mettanando.

As a monk, he was given a temple scholarship to study abroad. From several sources inside Wat Phra Dhammakaya, numerous temple supporters donated money to fund this scholarship. One woman said she was scraping pennies just to get by, so she could donate a portion of her earnings to support the education of this very intelligent monk in hopes that one day he would return to do great work for Buddhism.

Phra Mettanando came back and did not stay long at Wat Phra Dhammakaya. A source said that he could not embrace the temple’s culture, and would order younger monks to do chores he thought were too low for him to do. One of these chores was cleaning toilets.

Phra Mettanando was known by  Master Nun Chand, the temple’s founder, as “the monk who doesn't even know how to clean a toilet.” At the temple, cleaning toilets is not just a chore. The founder has trained many of the followers and monks about the importance of humility and cleanliness (DMC TV, March 13th 2014). If a man has too much pride, he should clean the toilet with his hands until he develops humility. Then, he can properly interact with others around him with kindness and respect.

Eventually, Phra Mettanando left Wat Phra Dhammakaya and went to stay at two other temples, Wat Ratcha Orasaram and Wat Nak Prok, but also had to leave after getting into disputes with other monks at those temples. It was also because he wrote a very controversial book. The book was condemned by Prayudh Payutto, known by his current monastic title, Phra Bhramagunabhorn. Phra Bhramagunabhorn is a well-known Thai Buddhist monk, an intellectual, and an outstanding writer. He is regarded as one of the most brilliant Buddhist scholars on Thai Buddhist history.

Phra Bhramagunabhorn commented that “Phra Mano’s writing has no references or meaningfulness, making it damaging [to Buddhism]” and “If this is what he considers [Buddhist] academia, he is not suited to be a monk.” (From the book Wake Up Already, ตื่นกันเสียที, pg. 185 & 124) 

When he was no longer welcome at other temples, he asked to return to Wat Phra Dhammakaya. The abbot, Ven. Dhammajayo welcomed him back but on the condition that he, Phra Mettanando, apologized to the whole temple for his past actions. Phra Mettanando refused to do so.

Phra Mettanando disrobed in 2007, 9 years ago, back when the temple was a much different place than now. Though, he has been self-exiled from the temple years before he disrobed, he has spent all of that time conducting interviews and releasing publications with false information, defaming the abbot.

His claims were many, but without any evidence. As Phra Bhramagunabhorn would say, no source or meaningfulness. They were all anecdotes with no supporting evidence. However, using his credentials that the scholarship from Wat Phra Dhammakaya helped him obtain, he was able to convince even the most elite of politicians that his words were true. 

 

The Esoteric Teachings of Mano “Lemon” Laohavanich: A Layperson's Comments

If you read through Dr. Mano “Lemon” Laohavanich’s supposedly tell-all exposé on Dhammakaya, you would assume the famous Dhammakaya critic belonged in a mental institution, despite the paper being so well-written. Dr. Mano starts by describing Dhammakaya as a classic cult, with a wacko doctrine, claims of political ties, allegations of being money hungry, and continues beyond that to even accuse Dhammakaya as being led by Nazi sympathizers.  Totally believable since the Thai temple and its Thai leaders are very well known for their piercing blue eyes and obviously blonde hair.

On a more serious note, Mano is known to have been a former senior member of Dhammakaya and his experience implies some interesting inside insight into the mysterious temple. So I think it would definitely be worthwhile to break down a few points on his almost insane looking paper.

Dr. Mano starts his writing by going through the history of the controversial temple, claiming that the temple’s other controversies are nothing compared to the controversial teachings that nobody knows about except for select members like Mr. Lemon himself. He continues by mentioning that although he is a famous Dhammakaya critic, his paper is strictly academic, and he pats himself on the back for his sacrifice by stating that he “realized the burden of impartiality that I [Mano] should take as a scholar, and the necessity to move away from prejudice and bias, pros and cons, in the issue which have deeply affected the course of my life” (pg 2) in revealing all of these secrets that most Dhammakaya members don’t even know about.  Poor guy, before we continue let’s all give him a round of applause for his heavy burden and the incredible sacrifice he is making in writing this.

All sarcasm aside I realize the burden of impartiality that I should take as a blogger and the necessity to move away from prejudice and bias, pros and cons, in the issue which have deeply affected the course of my life. So for the several next points of his paper I would like to critique, I will try to shy away from snide remarks about the infamous Mr. Lemon unless the situation called for some proper sarcasm. And for ease in finding Dr. Mano’s crackpot quotes within the paper, I will provide page numbers so that they are easy to find.

Dhammadayada

A minor point I would like to make about Dr. Mano’s treatise is that he accuses Dhammakaya of holding Dhammadayada meditation retreats in order to attract possible permanent members. I would just like to point out that such things are not exactly a Dhammakaya only practice, and it is actually generally agreed that temporary immersions in the monastic lifestyle are quite common in Thailand. Thailand is actually known for having a culture which encourages all able men to take on monkhood for a short time at least once in their lives.

It’s not a huge hole in his story, but I thought it was noteworthy to point out. Using Mano’s logic you could accuse almost any temple in Thailand of aggressive expansion for hosting temporary monastic programs.

Nirvana and Dhammakaya

The next major point Dr. Mano makes about Dhammakaya is that the temple has a secret doctrine that it considers above Buddhism. He claims that “The strength of Wat Phra Dhammakaya is not, as most outsiders perceived, i.e. its massive land and financial assets or its highly organized mass of followers. It is the sophisticated layers of myths and anecdotes, told and retold among members of the community to newcomers.” (pg. 3). One of the inner layers of myth Mano claims is a part of this is that Dhammakaya secretly teaches that “Nirvana is not the final destiny of life” (pg 3) and that “there is another higher abode and bliss that is superior to Nirvana” (pg 3). He also claims that Dhammakaya teaches “Nirvana is habited only by Dhammakayas of the Buddhas of the past, present and future” (pg 4).

Having attended Dhammakaya for a good 15 years or so, I can say this is definitely at odds with what they teach to most of their followers. In fact, Dhammakaya ceremonies will frequently say “by the power of the perfections of all of the Buddhas, Pacceka Buddhas, and Arahants who have attained Nirvana”, and “until our final attainment of complete Nirvana” in them.

Who’s to say Mr. Lemon is wrong though? After all, he does claim that he used to be a “very” important executive at Dhammakaya, and he does claim that this is only taught to the really important people such as himself. So who knows? It could be true. Interestingly enough however, Dr. Mano never actually says what exactly is the abode and bliss superior to Nirvana anywhere in the paper. Darn, I was looking forward to finding out what it was.

Mara

Another point I would like to cover in Dr. Mano’s writing is the concept of Mara. While I honestly don’t think I can properly challenge the Cosmic War claim from a Harvard-Oxford man who claims to have used to have been such a super important person in Dhammakaya, I do want to make a comment on his claims that Dhammakaya has a concept of Mara that is “not the same as the Maras in the biography of the Buddha understood in the Buddhist tradition” (pg 5).

Other than the obvious metaphorical uses of Mara in the Pali Canon, there is a concept of Mara that is generally considered to have some type of manifestation. This Mara is known as the Devapudra-Mara (lit. Mara the son of a deva or god). It should be known that it is generally unclear as to what exactly this Mara is. The Buddha has never flat out defined in detail what exactly these Maras trying to thwart him were. John S. Strong, a Buddhist studies professor from Bates College appears to define it as a type of god that the universe naturally has as a kind of balancing act, a being that had done a lot of good as a human and was reborn as the Mara god later. Others define Mara as regular devas (gods) who were once good humans but became rogue at one point in their lives in heaven. I have even heard some explain the manifestation of Mara as nothing more than a psychological concept within us. (min 34 in the video).

I honestly don’t know how accurate Mano’s description of the Dhammakaya concept of Mara is. And based on how insane his word choice is I would say his explanation is far from “impartial” as he claims. But the point I would like to make is that criticizing a tradition based on its interpretation of the concept of Mara isn’t exactly a legitimate criticism since there are so many interpretations. Just because Dhammakaya’s interpretation of the concept is different from Mr. Mano’s, doesn’t mean it is un-Buddhist.

Leadership and Authority

Another claim Dr. Mano makes about Dhammakaya is that it has an extremely authoritarian system of worship toward its leaders. Of course, I can’t challenge Professor Lemon directly on his knowledge of the Tipitaka, as he is certainly a well-versed scholar. But I do want to make some points.

First off, while Mano’s statements are quite exaggerated, the temple does have a deep respect for the masters who laid the foundations for the temple, and saying members are encouraged to “eliminate any negative thinking of the Master as soon as the thought arises” (pg 7) doesn’t seem that inaccurate to me. However this isn’t exactly something completely irrelevant to Buddhism in general. In the Mangala Sutta, 38 blessings, the Buddha describes the 3rd blessing as “Expressing respect to those worthy of respect”. The Buddha taught people to be good and skillful in both body, speech and mind, and that includes eliminating negative thoughts in general, especially toward those deemed as pure and virtuous. So considering it is not advised for Buddhists to have negative thoughts of the Buddha himself or any members of the Sangha, it would make sense that Dhammakaya discourage members from having negative thoughts about its masters since they are held to such high regard.

Dr. Mano also claims that the temple follows a strictly authoritarian military structure, demanding complete obedience to one’s superiors. This of course is also an exaggeration but still somewhat accurate. The temple does have a listen to your superiors’ culture, but it is far from as rigid as Mano describes, maybe it’s only as strict as he says for the super important inner people like him. Not to mention, the Buddha himself discussed the benefits of following a system of seniority for his monks, in the Bhikkhu-aparihaniya Sutta the Buddha says, "As long as the monks honor, respect, venerate, and do homage to the elder monks — those with seniority who have long been ordained, the fathers of the Sangha, leaders of the Sangha — regarding them as worth listening to, their growth can be expected, not their decline”. In order to keep the harmony of the Sangha, the monks are to show a reasonable amount of obedience and respect to monks who have seniority. A reference to this respect for seniority system can even be seen in one of the early Buddhist Jataka Tales.

So in my amateur understanding of the scriptures I would say Mano’s claim that “there is no concept of obedience in the teaching of the Buddha in Theravada tradition” (pg. 10) isn’t totally accurate. While other temples may not take the system to heart as much as Dhammakaya, keep in mind most temples are smaller and have a much more manageable number of monks and staff. With the thousands of monks and staff Dhammakaya has, adherence to some system of order is needed to get things done.

Renunciation

Dr. Mano also claims that Dhammakaya tears families apart, claiming that the temple creates “a strong incentive for young graduates, men and women to renounce their families to be members of the wat” (pg. 6) and that “thousands of families have sacrificed their children, young boys and girls, in selfless dedication to the Master” (pg 10). I just want to make a quick remark about this part of the writing.

I just want to praise Dr. Mano for his incredible insight; this is definitely a real “gotcha” point against Dhammakaya, which is known to encourage people to take up the monastic life. Professor Lemon should be given praise and fame for pointing out this horrible truth behind Dhammakaya, encouraging people to tragically sacrifice their families for the Dhamma and whatnot. So this I will concede to Dr. Mano, that this Dhammakaya practice is indeed very un-Buddhist. I mean really, what would renouncing one's family for the spiritual life have anything to do with a religion founded by a prince who renounced his family for the spiritual life?

Politics

Dr. Mano also makes several claims about Dhammakaya’s political influence. Claiming Dhammakaya conspires to control both the Thai Sangha’s governing council and the Thai government. I am actually American and don’t know much about Thai politics, so I don’t feel qualified to discuss much of this topic. However Dr. Mano’s claims that Dhammakaya has a particular political affiliation with the TRT and Puea Thai Party doesn’t seem to hold up if you actually visit the temple. The temple is large and both has and encourages members from all backgrounds to attend. I have seen Yellow shirt supporters and I’ve seen Red Shirt supporters attend, and anything political not directly affecting the temple seems to be well-avoided at their sermons. In my own experience, Dhammakaya seems to focus more on expanding and being accessible to anybody than on picking a side in politics that would alienate potential or current members.

Dr. Mano even claims that Dhammakaya was “behind the landslide victory of the Puea Thai Party in the General Election of 2011” (pg 9). I am from America so I couldn’t care less about Thai elections, but I did do some digging up on Dr. Mano’s claims. Apparently Mano is claiming that a temple with 3 million members, many of which are too young to vote or are overseas members, was somehow behind the victory of a party that got 15 million votes in the 2011 Thai General Election, 4 million votes more than the next largest party. I’m no political scientist, and being American I have no real opinion or knowledge about what any of these Thai political parties actually stand for, but I do know how to count. I think it’s pretty suspect to claim that an organization of 3 million people was somehow behind the victory of a party that won by a margin greater than the membership of the whole organization. Especially considering Mano himself claims that Dhammakaya has split people into two groups “those who love it and those who hate it” (pg 3).

Dhammakaya’s Ex-members

Another claim Dr. Mano makes is that Dhammakaya has a serious policy of once you are in, you can never go out. Mr. Lemon claims that “any monk or lay member of the community who criticizes the abbot on any account is to be expelled immediately even when the accusation is supported by only one witness” (pg. 5), and that members who leave are “regarded as a disgrace to the community, like soldiers in the line of duty defecting to the enemy side” (pg. 7) and that those who do leave are “closely monitored so that they always remain low profile and cause no further harm to the wat” (pg. 7).

For this claim, I’m going to ignore Dr. Mano’s high class credentials and his super important former status at the temple and call BS. This claim is just outrageous, and this is in reference to a guy who accuses his “cofounder” of worshiping Hitler.

While I may not have been “one of the founding members” like Professor Lemon claims he was. I have been attending Dhammakaya regularly enough to see this is completely false. Not only have I seen some members (usually younger members) make negative remarks about the abbot and be completely fine, Dhammakaya “expelling” anyone defies all common sense. It is impossible for ANY organization of any kind of that size and structure to expel anyone. If you actually go to Dhammakaya you would see that the doors are very open for anyone of any background to simply walk in, any “expelled” people could easily walk in at any time without a single person noticing. I myself have known Dhammakaya members who have been attending regularly for decades and half of the staff still doesn’t know who they are simply due to the sheer numbers of people that attend. Not to mention, I have known members who left due to personal issues or conflicts with other members, not only were they not shunned, many members talked about ways to try to get them to come back. At Dhammakaya, people come and go for various reasons just as much as any other religious organization, and there’s no evidence whatsoever of the temple ever “expelling” members in any case, such an accusation is pure slander and is completely illogical considering there is no reasonable way to even enforce such a policy.

As for the monitoring of ex members, I think it’s a strange accusation since Dr. Mano himself claims to have been one of Dhammakaya’s top leaders. And I have yet to hear him talk about any problems he has been receiving from Dhammakaya after he left in the several years he’s been spewing his crackpot accusations against the temple. I also think it’s strange that very few people have come forward to substantiate Dr. Mano’s claims.  Take Scientology for example, an organization known for intimidation tactics against ex-members. Despite their police verified suppression tactics, many people still come out publicly about Scientology and all independently support the same claims. If Dhammakaya really is this crazy, why haven’t there been other notable ex-members coming forward to substantiate Dr. Mano’s claims? With crazy dogma, and supposedly pro-Nazi sentiment that nobody’s ever heard of except the super important chosen ones like Dr. Mano, I doubt he is the only person to have left Dhammakaya. And it seems strange that an organization with 30 times as many members as Scientology, which again has numerous verified defectors supporting the accusations against it, would only have one prominent defector coming out with these allegations.  

I would like to see Professor Lemon explain these anomalies, especially with so few other ex-members coming forward to substantiate his “inner-circle” claims. And even if Dhammakaya’s strategy to silence ex-members is just that good, why exactly has Dr. Mano been able to slip through the cracks? Was it just that Dr. Mano is just so brilliant and everybody else is just not smart enough to evade Dhammakaya’s unheard of network of ninja-assassins? Or maybe he is being hunted down by them, and just keeps silent about it to avoid retaliation, because you know, nothing else he says about Dhammakaya would cause resentment from the members. These are legitimate questions I would like to ask Dr. Mano, and I sure hope he comes up with a better answer than saying that this one post from an amateur blogger is proof Dhammakaya goes around hunting people down.

The Nazis inspired Dhammakaya

While this is only a small and insignificant part of Mano’s exposé, I wanted to comment on it anyways considering the gravity of the claim. I find this claim to be a bit comical since nowadays, it seems like everybody is a secret Nazi. President Obama, George W. Bush, Hillary Clinton, the Dalai Lama, several Catholic Popes, and now Venerable Dhammajayo, the leader of Dhammakaya that Dr. Mano claims “took Adolf Hitler as one of his great man” (pg. 8). By the way, it took me less than 2 minutes to find all those links “proving” the other “Nazis” in the list. In fact, Google search virtually any famous name with the word Nazi next to it and you will undoubtedly find out that the entire world is apparently full of Nazi sympathizers!

Dr. Mano criticizing the temple he was a part of for 19 years.  

Dr. Mano criticizing the temple he was a part of for 19 years.  

Considering the level of craziness in Mano’s other claims against Dhammakaya I am not at all surprised Professor Lemon accuses his former master of being a secret Nazi bent on global domination, especially since it went out of fashion a few decades ago to call people you disagree with communists.

Dr. Mano even claims that despite the defeat of the Nazis, Dhammakaya still intends to bring meditation to the former Third Reich, claiming that “this is the reason behind the grandiose projects of Wat Phra Dhammakaya who sent teams of monks to start new missions in Germany and Europe” (pg 8). I didn’t take that quote out of context by the way, Dr. Mano actually does claim this. Totally logical, since you know, what other reason could a religious organization based in Asia possibly have for wanting to do missions in Europe other than bring glory to the former Nazi Empire? However I guess this also means since Dhammakaya also sent monks to America that Venerable Dhammajayo is both a Hitler and Roosevelt sympathizer.

Mano’s Trustworthiness

Dr. Mano Laohavanich’s paper covers many points about Dhammakaya that supposedly only a select few people within the temple know about. This response does not cover every point of his paper nor do I intend to make a response that covers every point of his paper. Believe it or not, I have a life and have better things to do than sit here and respond to every single point of somebody whom I believe to be a complete lunatic. Regardless I think I’ve gotten my point across.

Time and again, the esoteric and crackpot stories of the former “top leader” of Dhammakaya were contradicted in his writings. One good example comes at the conclusion of his writing in which Professor Lemon claims Venerable Dhammajayo of Wat Phra Dhammakaya “does not need to teach the esoteric teaching to each of his follower (sic). He needs only a sizable number of hardcore disciples who believe in it. Among millions of disciples of the wat, Phra Chaiboon Dhammajayo is seen as a bodhisattva of great power who has dedicated his life for the good of all sentient beings” (pg. 10). This claim is then curiously contradicted a few paragraphs later when Dr. Mano states that “although the esoteric teachings of Wat Phra Dhammakaya are against every grain of the conventional Buddhist doctrine of Theravada Buddhism, it has been deeply rooted implanted in the beliefs of millions of Buddhists who are faithful to the wat” (pg. 10). A confusing way to conclude a paper, by stating that these crazy esoteric teachings are taught only to a select few thousand members and then saying these same esoteric teachings are believed by millions of followers.

Anyways, the point of me writing this response is to question how trustworthy this former “top leader” of Dhammakaya is in making these claims. While some of the crazy stuff I “might have” believed to have been inside Dhammakaya secrets, I think Dr. Mano went a little overboard with the whole cliché Nazi accusations and the ridiculously ominous “once you’re in you can never leave” claims. This writing of insanity caused me to look more into Dr. Mano’s history and I find much of it suspect. You may not know this, or be able to easily find any supporting evidence elsewhere, but Dr. Mano is actually a great admirer of Lex Luthor, and has once said that he took Luthor as a brilliant and admirable man whose evil deeds are for good purposes. Mano even goes as far as trying to mimic his appearance and trying to play the part of taking down his real-life fantasy of Superman, Ven. Dhammajayo.

A temple insider has also said that during his time at Dhammakaya as a monk Dr. Mano has also once said,“I would never disrobe [from monkhood]. To disrobe is the same as to bow down and suck up your own spit from the ground” yet interestingly enough he decided not just to leave Dhammakaya but disrobe from monkhood overall shortly after leaving, sucking up his own spit and probably a bunch of other stuff with it. But wait, there’s more, Dr. Mano has also used his brilliant mind to discover and make claims that the Buddha actually died of a blood infection rather than what was described clearly in the scriptures and that he was actually born in Thailand rather than the unanimous consensus among everybody who knows what Buddhism is - that he was born in present day Nepal!

Now, you might be thinking, these claims sound completely insane and it sounds like you are just making them up. This is because Dr. Mano’s credibility is not, as most outsiders perceived, derived from his Harvard-Oxford credentials or the fact that he claims to be this super important ex-leader of Dhammakaya. It comes from sophisticated layers of myths and anecdotes, told and retold among members of his club of tin-foil hat wearing wack jobs. Sure the claims I’m making about Mano idolizing a comic book villain aren’t substantiated by very many other credible people, but that’s only because he tells this only to super important people in his inner circle once they have gained sufficient faith in his other claims bordering on insanity.

So for those who cite Dr. Mano Laohavanich on Dhammakaya when he makes appearances on various talk shows and interviews, I would like to ask that you guys approach his crackpot accusations with a reasonable amount of skepticism. As a longtime former member of Dhammakaya, Dr. Mano is bound to know the temple’s inner secrets, but considering he left the temple to eventually become famous for attacking it, even going as far as publicly calling for the prosecution of the abbot in a case that was completely irrelevant to him. I would say Mano has a reasonable incentive to stretch the truth at the very least. And considering there are virtually no other ex-senior members of Dhammakaya coming out to substantiate his crazy accusations, I’m not sure how much truth there is in it.

I rarely hear people liken people they are fond of to Hitler, and the fact that Dr. Mano accuses his former master of being a Nazi should raise some questions as to why he left Dhammakaya in the first place. Everyone is entitled to their own opinion, and in my opinion, it is much more probable that the brilliant Dr. Mano’s “insider” claims about Dhammakaya come more from some petty grudge against his former “cofounder” from his Dhammakaya years than in the “academic value” he claims it provides. Whether it be Harvard, or a high school dropout, people are still people, and unless you are a Buddha, people are not perfect.

Nonetheless, regardless of how ridiculous the paper sounds it is definitely very well written and displays Dr. Mano Laohavanich’s intelligence and skill as a scholar, despite a few small typos I managed to catch. Although I found the Nazi accusations to be a little uncreative and I found it a little funny that if you look at the references he cites at the bottom of the paper, that two of the eight references were under his former monastic name Ven. Mettanando Bhikkhu, so he literally cites himself as proof of some of these claims (and maybe that’s okay, again, I am just a lay observer and blogger, I’m not a scholar). Regardless, his paper does show that Dr. Mano is indeed a very brilliant person worthy of his Harvard-Oxford credentials. I just hope not too many people mistake intelligence for honesty (or sanity).

Final Questions for Dr. Mano

Regardless of Dr. Mano’s intentions when it comes to discussing Dhammakaya, I think his writing on Dhammakaya raises several questions. For these questions, let’s make a few assumptions first. Let’s assume that Mano really was one of the super important “top leaders” of Dhammakaya he claims to be. Let’s assume that all of his accusations are completely true without any influence from any type of petty conflict he might’ve had with his apparently Hitler loving co-founder and former master Venerable Dhammajayo. Let’s assume Dhammakaya is somehow able to expel members they don’t like from attending their extremely open and public events. Let’s assume the reason Dr. Mano is virtually the only one making these claims is because Dhammakaya has a network of Buddhist assassins that silence all ex-members from revealing their secrets except for Dr. Mano since his giant lemon brain makes him too smart to get caught. Let’s assume all of Dr. Mano’s claims are true.

Why exactly, Dr. Mano Laohavanich, did you not only stick with Dhammakaya for so long, but help lead it into the giant organization it is today? As a “top leader” and “one of the founding members” (pg. 1) who “successfully reformed the structure of the organization in 1989-90” (pg. 2) you should have known these wack job esoteric teachings and ties to the Nazis for a long time. Not only did you follow it, you supported and helped propagate it. Perhaps the unorthodox Buddhist teachings you can be more patient with, but I don’t know about you Dr. Mano, but I sure as hell wouldn’t wait 19 years to leave an organization of Thai Nazis bent on global domination.