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 Biggest Buddhist Cult in the World

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ddolmar

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Join date : 2010-08-26
Location : Redding, CA

PostSubject: Biggest Buddhist Cult in the World   Fri Jan 28, 2011 8:43 pm

Foreign Policy is one of my favorite online magazines.

Check out this photo essay on a 1,000,000 member cult in Thailand. 23 photos total.

http://www.foreignpolicy.com/articles/2011/01/20/close_encounters_of_the_buddhist_kind?page=0,0

Totally awesome photos, and a great story to go along with it in the captions.

Of particular interesting may be the counterpoint to the discussion at OBC Connect provided by the caption to Photo #20.

"Despite outlandish ceremonies and its own television coverage of these events, Dhammakaya has remained mainly under the world's radar. Yet, in Thailand, opinion is loud and extreme -- people either adore Dhammakaya or are caustically critical of what is widely feared to be a cult. Mano Mettanando Laohavanich, a renowned Buddhist scholar who was once among the top Dhammakaya leaders, heading its entire American operations, has become a rabid critic since leaving the temple. He called Dhammakaya's rapid growth and mass ceremonies "power trips" inspired by the head abbot's fascination with the Muslim hajj gatherings and Nazi parades."
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Howard

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PostSubject: Re: Biggest Buddhist Cult in the World   Fri Jan 28, 2011 10:20 pm

Thanks ddolmar
for the news feed on this.
I knew nothing about it. I find it brings up a strange combination of awe and disquiet.
Awe for the immensity of it all with the disquiet coming from way too many science fiction stories where everyone ends up doing the same thing and is the start of something really scary. Yah need something to sell SF books!. Still, I would of thought that my response would of been far more positive.
I think watching it's wake will be interesting.
Cheers
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IanPatton

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Age : 67
Location : Edmonton, Canada

PostSubject: Re: Biggest Buddhist Cult in the World   Sat Jan 29, 2011 2:23 am

I don't know, the more I see big organizations, the more I like Ryokan.
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Henry

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PostSubject: Re: Biggest Buddhist Cult in the World   Sat Jan 29, 2011 10:54 am

I feel so much better now being unenlightened.
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Laura

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PostSubject: Re: Biggest Buddhist Cult in the World   Sat Jan 29, 2011 2:12 pm

I wonder what the Buddha would have thought of the fireworks at the end of the mass ordination ceremonies. confused
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ddolmar

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PostSubject: Re: Biggest Buddhist Cult in the World   Sat Jan 29, 2011 8:03 pm

Howard--That's me, too. Get a bunch of people marching in lock-step, and what are the chances that you have the seeds for "Nineteen Eighty-Four" rather than a utopia?

Examples of dystopias are as readily available in history (Soviet or Khmer communism, for instance) as they are in great science fiction. I like Ursula K. Le Guin's "The Dispossessed" because it presents two opposing utopias, each with their own problems largely unacknowledged except by the opposing culture.


************

Laura--No doubt the fireworks can be defended as "skillful means." Give the folks watching at home a superficially beautiful pageant, and they may be prompted to look deeper. All religions seem to have such an escape clause for dispelling criticism, and they are made particularly frustrating by the fact that sometimes they might really be (in Buddhist terms) skillful and beneficial.
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