The Dhammakāya Movement is a Buddhist movement founded in Thailand in the 1970s, with roots stretching back much earlier. It is said to be the fastest-growing Buddhist movement in present-day Thailand. It teaches of the reality of a True Self (the Dhammakaya) in all beings, which it equates with Nirvana.
It was founded by the Thai Phramongkolthepmuni (1885–1959) - a celebrated meditation master and the late abbot of Wat Paknam Bhasicharoen, Thonburi. The movement is primarily represented today by its non-profit foundation, the Dhammakaya Foundation, and the Wat Phra Dhammakaya temple in Pathum Thani Province, Thailand.
Identifying features 
This meditation school formally belongs to the ancient Maha Nikaya tradition of Thai Theravada Buddhism., being correctly regarded as revivalist rather than a new movement or a fundamentalist movement. It supposedly has many doctrinal elements to distinguish it from conventional Theravāda Buddhism and in some respects resembles the tathagatagarbha (Buddha Nature) doctrines of Mahāyāna Buddhism; some of the Thai meditation masters who teach of a true Self (Dhammakaya), of which they claim meditative experience, are highly revered and even worshipped as arhats and Bodhisattvas by members of the Thai Buddhist populace. The Dhammakāya school of meditation is marked by its literal interpretation of Buddhist technical terms, (including the term dhammakāya) in their physical meaning, as described by Phramongkolthepmuni. Many sermons of Phramongkolthepmuni himself can be traced back to some schools of meditation in Southeast Asia preserved only in ancient meditation manuals. According to the Dhammakaya Movement, the Buddha made the discovery that nirvana is nothing less than the atta [the true Self]'.
One factor which catalyzes this Foundation is the personality of Phramongkolthepmuni (1884–1959) . The account of his attaining dhammakāya in 1916 through his willingness to lay down his life evoked the image of 'self-sacrifice' in the minds of his disciples.
Dhammakaya Foundation 
The Dhammakāya Foundation was founded in 1916 in Thailand by Phramongkolthepmuni, the abbot of Wat Paknam Bhasicharoen. Following the death of Phra Monkolthepmuni, the Foundation's work was continued by his disciple, Khun Yay Mahā Ratana Upāsikā Chandra Khonnokyoong, a Buddhist mae chi. In 1970, a temple, called Wat Phra Dhammakaya, was constructed as a home for the movement. Located in Khlong Luang, Pathum Thani Province, the temple was intended to become an international center for the study of meditation.
Wat Phra Dhammakaya 
Wat Phra Dhammakaya is a Buddhist temple (wat) in Khlong Luang District, Pathum Thani Province north of Bangkok, Thailand. It was established on Magha Puja Day, 20 February 1970, on an eighty-acre (320,000 m²) plot of land donated by Lady Prayat Phaetayapongsa-visudhathibodi. The site, sixteen kilometres north of Bangkok International Airport, was originally called 'Soon Buddacakk-patipatthamm'. From acidic paddy fields, a woodland was created: a parkland for meditators. The foundation stone for the main chapel laid by H.R.H. Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn on behalf of H.M. the King in December 1977 marked the official foundation of the centre as a temple—Wat Phra Dhammakaya. The movement produced a CDROM of the Pali Buddhist Scriptures in cooperation with the Pali Text Society in 1995 and by the year 2000 its monastic students were the most successful Pali students in Thailand.
Public accusations of 1999–2002 
The Dhammakāya Foundation has been subject to its share of controversy. In 1999 and again in 2002, leaders of the organization were accused of charges ranging from fraud and embezzlement to corruption. At that time social critic Sulak Sivaraksa criticized the Dhammakaya Movement for promoting greed by emphasizing donations to the temple as a way to make merit. Widespread negative media coverage a this time was symptomatic of the movement being made the scapegoat for commercial malpractice in the Thai Buddhist temple community in the wake of the 1997 Asian Financial Crisis.
In 2006 The Thai National Office for Buddhism cleared the Dhammakaya Foundation and Phrathepyanmahamuni of all accusations when Phrarajbhavanavisudh agreed to return all the allegedly embezzled funds to name of his temple. Phrarajbhavanavisudh was subsequently restored to the position of abbot of Wat Phra Dhammakaya.
Under the leadership of president Phrathepyanmahamuni (Luang Phaw Dhammajayo, b.1944), the image of the Dhammakāya Foundation has made a recovery, and in 2004-5 had received further recognition for its contribution to world peace from organizations such as the World Health Organization, the Thai Senate, and several peoples' associations in the South of Thailand. The Dhammakaya Movement continues to influence millions of people in Thailand and worldwide to practice Dhammakaya meditation. The movement has set up Dhammakaya Open University in Azusa, California in 2003 to offer degree courses in Buddhist studies. It has also encouraged Thais to quit drinking and smoking through the activities of Anti-Drinking and Anti-Smoking program. World Health Organization (WHO) presented the 2004 World No Tobacco Day Award for this work on 31 May 2004 
The movement has expanded branches to over eighteen countries worldwide and is promoted via a Buddhist satellite network or Dhamma Media Channel (DMC.TV) with a 24 hour-a-day Dharma and meditation teachings broadcast to the audience worldwide.
Accusations that the Thai Government had financed activities at Wat Phra Dhammakaya were made in a letter by Sulak Sivalaksa on 10 May 2010 but the government issued a press release on 12 May to deny the accusations
Further reading 
- Mackenzie, Rory (2007), New Buddhist Movements in Thailand: Towards an Understanding of Wat Phra Dhammakāya and Santi Asoke, Oxon: Routledge.
- McCargo, Duncan (1999), ‘The politics of Buddhism in Southeast Asia’, in Jeff Haynes (ed.), Religion, globalization and the political culture in the Third World, Basingstoke: Macmillan, pp. 213–39.
- Rahonyi, Reka (1996), Wat Phra Dhammakaya: "A Refuge in the Midst of a Turbulent World" - Analysis of a Contemporary Thai Buddhist Movement, Senior Thesis, Harvard University.
- Scott, Rachelle M. (2009,) Nirvana for Sale?: Buddhism, Wealth, and the Dhammakāya Temple in Contemporary Thailand, Albany: State University of New York Press.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to: Dhammakaya Movement|
- Phra Dhammakaya Temple Controversy Bangkok Post/December 21, 1998
- "Thai monk defies arrest" BBC News, August 24, 1999
- "Trouble in Nirvana" by David Liebhold, Time Asia, June 28, 1999
- "Most Serene of Sects Creates Uproar in Buddhism" by Seth Mydans, Pathum Thani Journal, August 13, 1999
- Article on the Dismissal of the case against Dhammakaya
- Another Article on the Dismissal of the case against Dhammakaya
- "Close Encounters of the Buddhist Kind"
- Dhammakaya Foundation
- The Middle Way Meditation Retreat
- Dhammakaya's International Buddhist Monk Ordination Program
- DMC., Dhamma Media Channel
- Community and Media (Thai Language Only)
- Professor Paul Williams, Mahayana Buddhism: The Doctrinal Foundations, Second Edition, Routledge, Oxford, 2009, p. 327
- Swearer, D. K. (1991) Fundemantalistic Movements in Theravada Buddhism, in: M. E. Marty & R. S. Appleby (Eds) Fundamentalisms Observed (Chicago & London, University of Chicago Press), p.656
- Cousins, L. S. (1996) The Origins of Insight Meditation, in: T. Skorupski (Ed) The Buddhist Forum: Seminar Papers, 1994-1996 (London, University of London School of Oriental and African Studies), p.39.
- Heikkilä-Horn, M-J (1996) Two Paths to Revivalism in Thai Buddhism: The Dhammakaya and Santi Asoke Movements, Temenos 32, pp.93-111
- Paul Williams, Mahayana Buddhism: The Doctrinal Foundations, Routledge, Oxford, Second Edition, 2009, pp. 126-128
- Professor Paul Williams, Mahayana Buddhism: The Doctrinal Foundations, Second Edition, 2009, Routledge, Oxford, 2009, pp. 237 - 239
- Paul Williams, Mahayana Buddhism: The Doctrinal Foundations, Routledge, Oxford, Second Edition, 2009, p. 126
- Dhammakaya Foundation (1995) Palitext Version 1.0: CD-ROM Database of the Entire Buddhist Pali Canon (Bangkok, Darnsutha) ISBN 978-974-8235-87-5
- Trainor, Kevin (2004) Buddhism: The Illustrated Guide (London, Duncan Baird), p.216.
- "'I Will Never Be Disrobed' says Thai abbot of Dhammakaya Temple", and "Between Faith and Fund-Raising", Asiaweek 17 September 1999
- David Liebhold (1999) Trouble in Nirvana: Facing charges over his controversial methods, a Thai abbot sparks debate over Buddhism's future Time Asia 28 July 1999 
- Yasmin Lee Arpon (2002) Scandals Threaten Thai Monks' Future SEAPA 11 July 2002 
- Controversial monk faces fresh charges The Nation 26 April 2002
- Wiktorin, Pierre (2005) De Villkorligt Frigivna: Relationen mellan munkar och lekfolk i ett nutida Thailand (Stockholm: Almqvist & Wiksell International) p.137 ISSN 1653-6355
- Julian Gearing (1999) Buddhist Scapegoat?: One Thai abbot is taken to task, but the whole system is to blame Asiaweek 30 December 1999 <
- Bangkokbiznews 24 June 2001 p.11
- Matichon 19 July 2003
- Bangkok Post 23 August 2006
- Yuwa Song News Today 23 August 2006
- Tawandhamma Foundation (2007) The Sun of Peace (Bangkok: New Witek), p.180
- Chinnaworn halts moral conduct plan
- นายกฯ จี้ ศธ.เคลียร์ MOU สพฐ.-ธรรมกาย ให้กระจ่าง