On 11th of February early morning, together with a group of other volunteers we went to offer food to the Monks (so called alms giving) on Magha Puja day (one of the most important Buddhist celebrations) in Dhammakaya Temple in Pathum Thani, Thailand. Though we had to wake up at 5, I was happy to do so – after two years of learning meditation and life lessons from the Dhammakaya Teaching Monks, I considered this as a tiny gesture of saying “thank you”.
Few days later, our team left for a meditation retreat in Northern part of Thailand to deepen the meditation experiences. That’s when the terrible news reached us: the Dhammakaya Temple where we had been enjoying the food offering to the monks, and the peaceful Candle Light ceremony on the Magha Puja Day was attacked by hundreds of Thai soldiers who wanted to seize the Temple. As the events proceeded, this has led to even more consequences: monks are lacking food supplies, medicine, mobile communication, right to assembly and right to expression; this all having led to the death of two innocent people.
I may not have a full understanding of the situation with the Abbot and the Article 44 (dictatorship law) that enables the Thai army to do so. What I observe though is injustice and violation of the human rights by attacking a sacred place and making thousands of innocent monks suffer.
It was exactly two years ago when I got the opportunity to come to Thailand and learn meditation with Teaching Monks from Dhammakaya Temple. That time, I did not understand anything about the Temple or how monks in general manage their lives. All I could imagine was that the Temple was a sacred place, where people come to meditate. As time went by, I learnt that the Dhammakaya Temple was more than that; it is a home to around 30 thousand monks, who are a true embodiment of peace as all that they do is chant, meditate, share loving kindness and teach those good virtues to people from all over the world (not asking anyone to turn to Buddhism).
This is what they kept on doing in our retreat in Northern Thailand despite the disastrous situation in the Temple. They kept on coming to our meditation sessions calm and peaceful, they kept on teaching us and sharing their wisdom and loving kindness while back in the Temple the situation got only worse.
The least we can do to return their good intentions, is to offer them the food (by giving alms) since they are not allowed to get it themselves. That way, we show gratitude and respect for their teachings. However, seeing the current situation in the Temple, it is sad to know that we have come to the days when even the food supplies to Dhammakaya monks are restricted due to the dictatorship government laws. The alms that they receive each morning have been taken by police, not to mention the other rights that have been violated.
What is needed to change the situation is to revoke the Article 44 (Dictator’s law) that enables this injustice and violation of the human rights. Therefore, if you are representing a Human Rights organization or willing to help, please share this information in your networks and let’s hope that together we can help Dhammakaya Monks receive the generosity and respect that they deserve and that they have taught to me and many other people from all around the world.