Global Buddhist Network
|Type||Satellite network, Cable network (formerly);
|Availability||worldwide via website and social media|
|Slogan||The only one;
Channel for the path to the cessation of suffering and attainment of Dhamma
|9 May 2002|
|Dissolved||26 December 2016|
|Dhammakaya Media Channel|
|Replaced by||Global Buddhist Network|
The Global Buddhist Network (GBN), previously known as the Dhammakaya Media Channel (DMC) is a Thai television channel concerned with Buddhism. In Thai language, it was also known by the pun 'the Dhamma satellite' (Thai: จานดาวธรรม). The channel's taglines were "The secrets of life revealed" and "The only one". DMC started on 9 May 2002. The channel was owned by the Dhamma Research for Environment Foundation, part of Wat Phra Dhammakaya. The channel is managed by Phra Maha Nopon Puññajayo, who supervises a team of thirty volunteers. The channel was one of the first widely spread satellite channels in Thailand, described as a form of 'positive television' (Thai: สื่อสีขาว, literally: 'white media'). On 26 December 2016, Thai authorities withdrew the permit for the satellite channel permanently, during the legal investigations into the temple by the Thai junta. In April 2017, it was reported, however, that the channel's programming had continued, but broadcast through Internet only. The channel has been renamed Global Buddhist Network.
The channel was founded to provide an alternative to the many distractions that surround people in modern life, which lure "people into doing immoral things", as stated by Phra Somsak Piyasilo, spokesperson of the organization. The channel originated from an initiative in 2001, when people living in the far provinces of Thailand wanted to listen in to the teachings of the temple. The temple therefore provided live teaching through a thousand public telephone lines, through which people could follow the activities. The telephone lines had many restrictions in use, and the temple started to broadcast through a television channel instead. Later, in 2005, the temple developed an online counterpart to the channel.
Programming and availability
The main focus of the channel, as described by the temple, is moral education. It has programs for people of different ages. It broadcasts guided meditations, talks, preaching, songs, documentaries, dramas, live events and cartoons twenty-four hours a day. The most popular program is a broadcast of a teaching called Fan Nai Fan, which also includes a guided meditation. Before the 2016 crackdown of the Thai junta, the channel could be watched or listened to for free through satellite television, Internet, cable and radio. In 2005, DMC had a hundred thousand viewers. In 2016, the satellite channel could be received in all continents in the world, excepting South-America. The channel has programs in Thai, English, Chinese and Japanese language.
The channel was also broadcast in public places like temples, hotels and prisons. It sought cooperation with other Buddhist countries as well: the temple assisted in establishing a television channel with Buddhist content in Sri Lanka, and discussion took place considering teaching Abhidhamma teachings from Burmese teachers through the channel.
Teaching about Steve Jobs
In 2012, the temple broadcast a talk of Luang Por Dhammajayo about what happened to Steve Jobs after his death. The talk came as a response to a software engineer of Apple who had sent a letter with questions to the abbot. Luang Por Dhammajayo described how Steve Jobs looked like in heaven. He said that Jobs had been reborn as a deva (heavenly being) living close to his former offices, as a result of the karma of having given knowledge to people. He was a deva with a creative, but angry temperament. The talk was much criticized, and the abbot was accused of pretending to have attained an advanced meditative state and of attempting to outshine other temples. The temple answered the critics, saying that the talk was meant to illustrate the law of karma, not to defame Jobs, nor to fake an advanced state.
In 2016, the channel was ordered to shut down for thirty days during the Klongchan controversy, authorities citing that the channel was used to mobilize people to resist a possible arrest of the former abbot, as had happened during a previous attempt at arrest. The temple appealed to a higher court, denying the accusations and stating that insufficient evidence had been provided. The temple further described the shut down as an infringement of human rights. The channel's broadcast permit was permanently withdrawn the same month, on 26 December. Critics compared the shut down with the military crackdown during the 1992 Black May protest, news outlet Bangkok Post criticizing the junta's broadcasting commission for "operating outside the courts and justice system". DMC's radio station had not been withdrawn yet, pending an investigation of the police, and the online channel was also still available. Despite the channel being shut down, Thai Rath and other main media outlets have continued to broadcast the temple's ceremonies. The temple has stated that the number of people joining ceremonies has increased since the shut down, people showing sympathy with the temple and the satellite channel.
Revival in online format
24 April 2017, a Spring News reporter noticed a revival of the Dhammakaya Media Channel through a new digital format, called GBN, short for Global Buddhist Network. The channel could be received through Internet only, and featured very similar contents as before, although the temple's spokesperson assured there would be not further attempts at mobilizing people.
- Ekmahasawat, Danai; Mahitthiruk, Amonrat (24 April 2017). กลับมาแล้วทีวีธรรมกาย ถ่ายสดวันเกิดธัมมชโย [Dhammakaya's television has returned: live broadcast of Dhammajayo's birthday]. Spring News (in Thai). Retrieved 14 June 2017.
- ปิดทีวีธรรมกาย กสท.มติเอกฉันท์ถอนใบอนุญาต [Dhammakaya's TV closed down, NBTC unanimously withdraws license]. NOW (in Thai). 26 December 2016. Retrieved 15 February 2017.
- ธรรมกายปฏิเสธนำเงินวัดไปเล่นหุ้น เตรียมยื่นคัดค้านปิดช่อง DMC [Dhammakaya denies using money temple to invest in stocks, prepares to appeal to court about closing down DMC]. Post Today (in Thai). Post Publishing. 7 December 2016. Retrieved 10 December 2016.
- แนะนำตัวช่อง DMC [Introducing the DMC]. Dhammakaya Media Channel (in Thai). Dhamma Research for Environment Foundation. 2 January 2006. Retrieved 25 June 2016.
- Scott, Rachelle M. (2009), Nirvana for Sale? Buddhism, Wealth, and the Dhammakāya Temple in Contemporary Thailand, Albany: State University of New York Press, ISBN 978-1-4416-2410-9
- Nacharoen, Nithit (20 November 2016). เปิดโครงสร้างทีมสื่อวัดพระธรรมกาย [Revealing the organization structure of Wat Phra Dhammakaya's media team]. Kom Chad Luek (in Thai). The Nation Group. Retrieved 10 November 2016.
- สั่งปิดช่อง DMC ทีวีธรรมกาย [Dhammakaya's DMC Channel closed down]. The Nation (in Thai). 7 December 2016.
- กสท.สั่งปิดทีวีธรรมกายภัยความมั่นคง [NBTC orders closing down Dhammakaya TV, [citing it is] threat to [national] security]. Voice TV (in Thai). Digital TV Network. 27 December 2016. Retrieved 15 February 2017 – via SHTV.
- Buaban, Jesada (August 2016). (pdf). The science of remembering and the art of forgetting 2nd conference (in Thai). Songkhla-Nakharin University, Songkhla: Southeast Asian Studies Program, Walailak University. p. 3. [Memory in Crystal: Changing Memory on Dhammakaya Movement under the Umbrella of Military Junta 2014–2016]
- Kongkrut, Anchalee; Na Ranong, Jetjaras (20 February 2008). Bangkok Post. The Post Publishing. p. 18. Retrieved 29 November 2016 – via Matichon E-library..
- Thaitrakulpanich, Asaree (7 December 2016). "Dhammakaya Defies Order to Halt Broadcasts". Khao Sod. Matichon Publishing. Retrieved 11 December 2016.
- ธรรมกายเตรียมอุทธรณ์คำสั่ง "จอดำ" DMC [Dhammakaya prepares to appeal closing down DMC]. Amarin TV (in Thai). 7 December 2016. Retrieved 15 February 2017.
- "สำนักสื่อสารธรรมกาย" เปิดแนวรบสื่อเต็มรูปแบบ [Dhammakaya's Department of Communication starts a fully equipped media battle center]. NOW (in Thai). 31 May 2016. Retrieved 20 November 2016.
- . Retrieved 29 November 2016 – via Matichon E-library. [Many people came to join the Visakha week, Dhammakaya set up stall to sell to members]. Matichon (in Thai). 18 May 2005. p. 13
- "Major Countries Under DMC Channel Coverage". Dhammakaya Media Channel. Dhamma Research for Environment Foundation. 2006-01-01. Retrieved 2016-06-25.
- Scott, Rachelle M. (2016). "Contemporary Thai Buddhism". In Jerryson, Michael. The Oxford Handbook of Contemporary Buddhism. Oxford University Press. p. 203. ISBN 978-0-19-936238-7.
- Somarathna, Rasika (21 March 2007). "President meets Thai Bhikkus". Daily News (Sri Lanka). Lakehouse Newspapers. Retrieved 10 November 2016.
- Lwin, Ye (19 April 2010). "Thai TV to air Abhidhamma show". The Myanmar Times. Retrieved 16 November 2016.
- "The Crisis in Thai Buddhism". Asia Sentinel. 1 February 2013. Retrieved 16 November 2016.
- "'Steve Jobs now an angel living in parallel universe'". Sify. New Delhi. Asian News International. 24 August 2012. Retrieved 10 November 2016.
- ธรรมกายแจงปมภัยศาสนา [Dhammakaya responds to issues that threaten [Buddhist] religion]. Thai News Agency. 3 June 2016. Retrieved 15 November 2016.
- กระฉ่อนโลกออนไลน์ ธรรมกายเผย'สตีฟ จ็อบส์'ตายแล้วไปไหน [Circulating through the online world: Dhammakaya reveals where Steve Jobs went after his death]. Thai Rath (in Thai). Wacharapol. 20 July 2012. Retrieved 3 December 2016.
- Chantarasiri, Ruangyot (27 August 2012). . Retrieved 3 December 2016 – via Matichon E-library. [Society, beliefs and faith]. Lok Wannee (in Thai). p. 2
- Hookway, James (31 August 2012). "Thai Group Says Steve Jobs Reincarnated as Warrior-Philosopher". Wall Street Journal. Dow Jones & Company. Retrieved 10 November 2016.
- Bangkok Post. The Post Publishing. 8 December 2016. Retrieved 8 December 2016..
- "Thai authorities shut down controversial Wat Dhammakaya temple’s 24-hour TV channel amid scandal". South China Morning Post. Agence France-Presse. 8 December 2016. Retrieved 15 February 2017.
- Chotsiripornrit, Natchapan. ปิดทีวีธรรมกาย ชนวนเหตุระดมพล [Closing down channel Dhammakaya, reason used for mobilizing]. Voice TV (in Thai). Digital TV Network. Retrieved 7 December 2016.
- Bangkok Post. The Post Publishing. 3 January 2017. p. 9. Retrieved 15 February 2017 – via Matichon E-library..
- ปิดยาว DMC ทีวีธรรมกาย เกรงปลุกระดมมวลชน [DMC, Dhammakaya's TV, closed down permanently out of fear mobilizing people]. Thai PBS (in Thai). 26 December 2016. Retrieved 15 February 2017.
- ตั้ง ธัมมชโย เป็นเจ้าอาวาสกิตติมศักดิ์ ธรรมกายหันไลฟ์สดผ่าน FB-Youtube แทนหลังช่อง DMC ถูกปิด [Dhammajayao appointed as honorary abbot, after closing down Dhammakaya broadcasts live through Facebook and Youtube instead]. BEC-tero (in Thai). BEC World. 9 December 2016. Retrieved 11 December 2016.
- ศิษย์ธรรมกายแน่นสวดมนต์ข้ามปี [Dhammakaya's devotees chant in great numbers with New Year]. Thai Rath (in Thai). Wacharapol. 31 December 2016. Retrieved 15 February 2017.
- ธรรมกายโชว์คนเยอะแน่นวัด โวเมื่อรู้ว่า DMC ถูกปิดคนยิ่งมา [Dhammakaya shows great number of people, boasts that when DMC is shut down, people joining only increase]. Bangkok Biz News (in Thai). The Nation Group. 8 December 2016.
- วันคล้ายวันเกิดครบ 73 ปี พระธัมมชโย วัดพระธรรมกาย-ลูกศิษย์จัดงานทำบุญวันคุ้มครองโลก [Phra Dhammajayo's 73rd birthday: devotees organize Earth Day ceremony]. Thai PBS (in Thai). 22 April 2017. Retrieved 15 June 2017.