Was Phra Kru Opas misquoted?

by Dheerayupa Sukonthapanthu, Bangkok, Thailand, The Buddhist Channel, Jan 5, 2009

May I present my response to the latest article reportedly issued by the Administrative Committee of Wat Nong Pah Pong, Source: Dhammalight.com, Jan 2, 2009.

Dhammalight says:

“On 28th December 2009, a representative delegation of senior monks from the Wat Nong Pah Pong Sangha held a press conference in response to various articles in the major Thai newspapers released earlier between the 20th to 24th December. These articles effectively stated that the Council of Elders and the Office of National Buddhism had done everything in their power in regards to Ajahn Brahmavamso and the bhikkhuni ordinations and that the future status of Ajahn Brahmavamso as abbot of Bodhinyana Monastery and the ownership of that monastery was left up to Wat Nong Pah Pong’s decision. The articles effectively left the responsibility of this issue back on Wat Nong Pah Pong to proceed with. In order to make clear Wat Nong Pah Pong’s stance, it was decided by Luang Por Liem and other governing committee members to make a statement to the Thai media. A very unprecendented move in Wat Nong Pah Pong’s history.

Although this matter has been cleared up within the Thai press, it seems that the article in English has stirred up and agitated Western readers. This has been caused by some misrepresentations of the events of the press conference and the editorial language used in the article. Wat Nong Pah Pong feels that it is best to clear up these misunderstandings.

The article says that the Thai Sangha “want the properties of Thai temples in the West to come under the ownership of the Thai Sangha to ensure complete control.” In reality, Wat Nong Pah Pong stated in the press conference that it had no power in which to retake ownership of Bodhinyana Monastery, even if the land on which it was built on was initially offered to Ajahn Chah (Bodhinyana Thera) and Wat Nong Pah Pong.”

By accusing the English article (written by Khun Sanitsuda on the Bangkok Post) of misrepresenting the events at the press conference, Dhammalight was obviously trying really hard to appease English-speaking communities without respecting the truth. I’m saying this because it’s not only the English-language newspaper The Bangkok Post but also the Thai-language newspapers which reported that Phra Kru Opas said:

“(I or the WPP sangha -> the subject was omitted as very common of the Thai language) want the Council of Elders and the Office of National Buddhism to find ways to bring the land of the Bodhiyana monastery to come under the ownership of Wat Nong Pah Pong because the said land was donated to Luang Phu Chah by Buddhists in Australia while he was visiting Perth.”

So, if readers were to believe that what Dhammalight claimed was true, they had to presume that ‘all’ reporters at the Press Conference misunderstood and misquoted Phra Kru Opas.

1. Thai Rath - Page 1 and 11 on the hard copy dated December 29 (http://www.thairath.co.th/today/view/55702)
2. Daily News - Page 14 on the hard copy dated December 29 (http://www.dailynews.co.th/newstartpage/printmode.cfm?categoryid=38&contentid=39984).

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