Buddhadasa disciples protest against charms rite

by SUPAPHONG CHAOLAN, Bangkok Post, Dec 16, 2006

Surat Thani, Thailand -- Disciples of revered monk Buddhadasa Bhikkhu have protested against the consecration of Buddha amulets at a temple in Chaiya district, complaining the idea of producing good luck charms is ''anti-Buddhist.''

<< The late Buddhadasa Bhikkhu, recognised as one of the most influential figures in Thai Buddhism, was the temple's abbot for 45 years.

About 200 laymen and students yesterday marched to Wat Phra Boromthatchaiya where they rallied against an amulet sanctification rite being organised at the temple. The ceremony will be held on Monday.

Prayoon Yamananthakul, chairman of a Buddhist association in Surat Thani, said followers of Buddhadasa Bhikkhu did not oppose the move to produce Buddha images to raise funds for construction of a hospital building at a military camp.

The disciples, however, disagreed with the use of the temple as the ceremonial venue. Performing the rite went against the teachings of Buddhadasa Bhikkhu, who said good luck charms had no place in Buddhism.

''We have no intention of obstructing the ceremony, but we want it to be performed elsewhere, not at Wat Phra Boromthatchaiya (where Buddhadasa Bhikkhu had been abbot),'' said Mr Prayoon.

His group asked the organisers and acting abbot of the temple, Phra Udomthampreecha, to move the rite elsewhere, but without success.

Surat Thani governor Niwat Sawatkaew said his assistant Theerayuth Iemtrakul would look into the group's demands