The meditation technique of ‘Dhammakaya ’ became very popular not only among Thai citizen but also among the people over the world. It works successfully and brings peace and tranquility in mind. It is as easy to practise as full of distinctive qualities. ‘The Dhammakaya Foundation’ founded several meditation centres in home and abroad. As per the claim of this foundation (DMC) is the biggest and up to date in the world, situated at Pathumthani . This claim is just because no meditation centre in the world could meet up the wants as the DMC could. Their proper planning, philanthropic motives as well as intellectual techniques made those acceptable to all classes of people. If we look around us, we could see many meditation centres which teach the people how to perform meditation. Especially we can see that so many people are eager to know about meditation because they probably knew that this (meditation) is the only way which can relieve them from acute pain, inconstancy of mind and the real pathfinder in the earthly and eternal life. Thinking this they have been very curious on the meditation. In addition, this is the age of globalization. The people are more sincere than before and they don’t easily trust whatever is imposed upon them. They seek for the reasons behind any occurring. They have learnt to pick out the right one and of course about meditation. Particularly when they find that there is a close relationship between science and meditation, their belief gets firm. Moreover they could understand that the meditation techniques are nothing but some scientific procedures. For this reason, they came forward and at this stage DMC became a ‘bottle of cool water’ to the people in the burning sun.
In spite of having so many meditation centres in the world, the DMC is an exceptional because of its attractive style and specific policy of application in the field of teaching meditation. That is why it became popular to all types of people of the East and the West , and every year many foreigners come to attend in meditation courses supported and arranged by DMC. Simultaneously they get the opportunity of ‘Dhamma Tour’ ‘Research’ and some other religious activities.
In my composition I will try to analyze the ‘Background of DMC’, ‘Development of DMC’, ‘Impact of DMC on Thai society’ and ‘Criticism on (DMT) .
History says that in the 21st century, Burma (present Myanmar) and Thailand are well known and famous on account of their meditation techniques. Side by side of the Asians, Western people became interested in meditation as a result of which they visit Thailand and gather new experiences on landscape, culture, tradition, lifestyle and meditation.
This is, indeed, a matter of joy that the western people get themselves involved in meditation, the one and only way to the right path of ‘Ever Relief’. The books and booklets on meditation techniques written in many languages inspired them to know about the East published by Taiwan, Srilanka and Thai government in association with many devotees. In this case the role of some monks and devotees of Taiwan, Thailand and Srilanka are praiseworthy. Free distribution of those books on Buddhism and Meditation techniques supplied from Thailand played a prolific role, where the contribution of DMC is mention worthy. So it must not be exaggerated something, if DMC is considered as the representative of meditation techniques.
Though forest tradition is still in vogue and well known in the world, on account of being a little complicated it is not attractive anymore. For an instance, forest tradition is difficult, unpolished and based on ancient strategies. On the other hand, Dhammakaya Meditation Techniques are easier, attractive, up to date and acceptable. These are actually the outcome of long research.
Again being a Buddhist dominated country, generally the Americans or the Europeans think of Thailand first of all, as they think of Israel for the Jews, Saudi Arabia for the Muslims and India for pilgrimage. Indeed while the people come to visit Thailand, they do not have any transparent idea. But when they start roaming, gradually they come to know about the visiting places. Thus they come in touch with DMC. Then they have two options before them-either DMC or Forest Tradition. They easily receive the offerings of DMC for it is simple, easy, attractive and up-to-date. And eventually when they depart from Thailand, they carry a lot of surprising but realistic experiences with them. Later they propagate it to others. Thus DMC sends the message of Buddha and meditation from the East to the West, from the North to the south; to the people of different caste or creed. It is optimistic that DMC reached in Israel, the land of Jews.
Types of Buddhist Meditation in Thailand: Excluding the period of Lord Buddha, the name which comes very first in teaching meditation is Thailand. The availability of Pagodas as well as Meditation Centres has turned it into a sacred land. Some of the well-known meditation centres are Dhammakaya Meditation Centre, International Buddhist Meditation Centre, Dhamma Vicaya Hall, Wat Phra Dhatu Sri Chomthong, Northern Insight Meditation Centre, Wat Rampoeg(Tapotharam), Suan Mokkha Forest Monastery, House of Dhamma(Vipassana) Insight Meditation Centre, Sorn Thawee Meditation Centre, Wat Pah Nanachart(International Forest Moneastery), Wat Maha That, Wat Bovornives, Wat Pak Nam, Wat Phra Dhammakaya, Wat Asokaram, Wiwek Asom Vipassana Meditation Center, Sorn-Thawee Meditation Center, Boonkanjanaram Meditation Center, Wat Sai Ngam, Sunnataram Forest Monastery, Dhamma Kamala, Wat Luang Phro Sodh Dhammakaram, Wat Wah Poo Kaew, Wat Pah Nanachat, Wat Nong Pah Pong, Wat Pah Wana Potiyahn, Wat Doi Dhamma Chedi, Wat Pah Ban That, Wat Hin Makk Peng, Wat Umong, Wat Ram Poeng, Wat Phradhatu Doi Suthep, Tham Tong Meditation Center, World Fellowship of Buddhist Youth), Wat Ampawan., Wat Kow Tham International Meditation Center. In fact, my paper summarizes Thai meditation and practice according to the techniques of DMC .
Background of Dhammakaya Meditation Centre: Pak Nam (Phra Monkolthepmuni) was a great Monk in Thailand. He is a legend in the history of Thailand on account of discovering meditation techniques and many auspicious activities. He dedicated his whole of the life for introducing new easy but prolific techniques of meditation to all classes of people. He knew that it would not be easy to teach meditation to the common people for they were far from the light of education and deprived of perfect guidelines. Again they were too much worried about their earnings and livelihood. When he found a pitiful condition among the common people, he felt mercy for them and came forward to direct a right way. He offered his invaluable discovery, short packages of meditation course to them. He became too much pleased when he saw the positive outcome of the techniques applied by him. It is believed that this great abbot had spiritual power by the help of which he could convince the people easily. Some of his super natural actions, reality of his prophecies and some miracles made him famous. For this reason millions of Thai Buddhist would come to him to have proper guidelines and they prayed to him for being the owner of huge property. Nun Khun Yai Ubasika Chandra Khonnokyoong was one of the disciples among many of his followers. When the great abbot departed from earthly life, she came forward and continued teaching as per the commands of her great master with a strong leadership. Then she founded Wat Phra Dhammakaya in the year of 1970. The story behind this is interesting more.
Once, Ven. Dhammajayo sat in meditation and after a while he saw a vast, expanded paddy field in front of him. He thought something and decided to go to the owner of that field. This field was owned by an old lady. While he reached at her home, this was the eve of her birthday. He proposed her to sell twenty acres of that land where he wanted to build a Buddhist Temple. The gentle lady refused his proposal. Finding no other way, that monk went to Khun Yai and discussed with her about future plan. However, after some days the old lady agreed at their proposal. She agreed to sell twenty acres of land at hundred million. No frustration touched her. She started a new journey. She begged money from door to door but once she noticed that she collected only 3,200 Baht that was insufficient for buying that land. Then she again continued her job. She was very well known to the teen aged girls. She used to help and inspire them to be involved in meditation as well as she used to train them how to maintain eight precepts. While the teen aged girls would think of their corporal beauty and while they would think that how they could be more attractive, she took them into the path of meditation. It is amazing but true that some of them were engaged in longtime meditation.
In course of time, everything appeared positive. The land was brought eventually and the history after that is more joyful and surprising. In the 20th February of 1970, the building was established and came into light by the ‘Ground-breaking Ceremony’ of Magha Puja day. Then the development of the Dhammakaya Temple was increasing with the support of lay people, teen-agers and generous businessmen .
However, by the way of time the wants of men and their thoughts have been developed and they learnt to be modern. The practice of meditation is so sensible matter that the application and the objectives of it may be ruined at any moment if the proper arrangement cannot be done. Considering all these factors, the DMT was built by dint of tireless efforts and hard work of two great persons. Though they are no more, their contribution in the history of DMC is ever-memorable.
Development of Dhammakaya Meditation Centre:
After the departure of Great master, Khun Yai found her dwelling place at Wat Pak Nam in Bangkok which was very small space for the rapidly increasing followers. Khun Yai and her students were led by Ven. Dhammajayo Bhikkhu and Ven. Dattajivo Bhikkhu started work for the establishment of a temple. KhunYai was determined to make her master’s dream true. While she was thinking so, she was empty handed. So, it is still the matter of surprise that how the temple was established. It is once again proved that nothing is impossible here and men can reach too high with the power of will.
The temple was established on a land of eighty acres donated by Lady Prayat Phaetayapongsa- Visudhathibodi, on the eve of Magha Puja Day, in the 20th February, 1970. It was built in so natural way that the people could feel comfort. The foundation stone for the main chapel was laid by H, R.H Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn on behalf of H.M. the king in December, and 1977marked by the official foundation of the centre as a temple-‘Wat Phra Dhammakaya’. The main Chapel was completed in the year of 1982. Devotees from home and abroad gather here all the time. It is not only the home of religious practices but also the home of scriptural education, research, youth training, orientations, social services and environmental conversation. The number of DMC is seventeen in Thailand (sixty domestic groups) and eleven in abroad. So it is an International Organization which has been serving the devotees since its establishment. It is obvious and transparent to all that the DMC have been popular and acceptable on account of its perfect planning, attractive thoughts, and teamwork and after all dedication. In near future the DMC is going to set up its branches over the all continents. The Dhammakaya International Society of Hong Kong Lid , Dhammakaya International Meditation Centre of Osaka, Dhammakaya International Meditation Center of Tokyo, Dhammakaya International Meditation Centre of Kualalumpur, Dhammakaya International Meditation Centre of Penang, Dhammakaya International Meditation Centre of Taipei, Dhammakaya International Meditation Centre of Taoyuan, Dhammakaya International Meditation Centre of Belgium, Dhammakaya Center De La Meditation of France, Wat Phra Dhammakaya London, Dhammakaya International Meditation Centre of U.S.A. Dhammakaya International Meditation Centre of New Jersey, Wat Phra Dhammakaya Sydney, Dhammakaya International Meditation Centre of Sydney, Dhammakaya International Meditation Centre of Melbourne, Dhammakaya International Meditation Centre of Perth, Dhammakaya International Meditation Centre of New Zealand are mention worthy .
Dhammakaya Meditation Techniques:
This is meditation which dispels all the dirt from mind. This is only the way by which controlling over a mind is absolutely possible. Those who like to practise meditation; they generally like to eradicate the inconstancy of mind. Those who got the benefits and found extreme happiness in meditation, no earthly commodities can satisfy them. But this is more difficult to build a suitable place for meditation than to convince to practise meditation. In this field the name which comes first in the history of modern meditation is nothing but DMC. DMC is the pioneer institution that came forward to scatter the sweet essence of meditation over all classes of people. Their easy, simple and attractive strategy of meditation is as acceptable to all as interesting.
Daily Schedule of Beginners Course
05.00 Wake up
05.30 Meditation Practice
06.15 Morning Exercise
09.00 Meditation Instruction
10.00 Meditation Practice
12.30 Personal Time
13.45 Stretching Exercise
14.00 Meditation Practice
15.00 Lectures on “Meditation and self-development”
16.00 Personal Time/Group Sharing
19.00 Meditation Practice
20.00 Lectures on “Inspirational Leaders of Dhammakaya Meditation
21.00 Personal Time
21. 30 Sleep in Peace
Paying homage to the Triple Gems:
First of all one should pay respect to the Triple Gems. This softens one’s mind. Then he is to undertake the Five Precepts (Abstaining from killing animals, stealing, committing sexual intercourse, telling lies and taking intoxicants).
Recollection of goodness:
In this step one should recollect his good deeds whatever he did in the past. This helps to bring tranquility over his mind. Then he is to think what good work is to be done in the future. Everyone should remember the true proverb-“As you sow so you reap” i.e. any good deed brings good outcome and bad deed brings bad outcome
Taking seat for meditation; relaxing body and mind:
In this step one is to sit in a relaxed half-lotus position by placing his right leg over his left leg, and keeping right hand over the left hand. Head is to be kept upright and straight. One should be adjusted himself as long as he feels comfort absolutely. Sofa or chair or any other suitable places can be selected, if someone feels uneasy. Breathing should be natural. One is to close eyes at ease and it must be remembered that eyelids must not be shut forcibly. Sitting with a smile brings a benign influence over meditation.
Next to it, one is to take a deep breath and exhale it. It should be done a few times. Then when someone feels that his body is filled with happiness and joyfulness, all worries, miseries, tensions will go away. He is to think that he is now free from all earthly affairs.
One is to relax every muscle in his body and this should be continued until his body gets completely relaxed. This is the stage of complete relaxation and mind gets emptied.
Then one is to focus to his centre of his body. For an instance, a bird’s feather is coming down towards the surface of water and eventually it touched the water surface smoothly. In the same way one’s mind should be focused at the center of the body with the same feeling. This feeling can be compared to the lightness of a feather while it touches the surface of water. While one can realize that his mind is full of freedom and tranquil as if it never had any attachment in life, never faced any problems and never knew anything or anyone before, he is well prepared for practising meditation. After that one is to imagine an object of his body and he requires knowing the method. A football, a car, a house or anything else can be imagined. But one must be careful that nothing can be done forcibly and this is too much important, and let not mind be wandered. Then reciting a short sentence or a phrase is required to maintain one’s stillness of mind. Then mind on the object and phrase in the center of the body is to be maintained continuously and of course softly until his mind is constant. After that the word phrase will be dropped by itself, once his mind is absolutely constant as if he were forgetting it. The picture of the mental object supposed to be appeared at the center of the body. If it is felt one does not need to go back to recite the phrase again. But one should not be excited while different experiences is seen or felt at the center of the body. At this stage one is to be neutral and is to be remembered that this moment is very important. One’s role at this time is of an observer. One does not need to think of anything. If this is done correctly, meditation will be felt easy and cozy
With a view to clarifying the sitting position, the steps of the techniques have been stated once again.
The late Phra Mongkolthepmuni, a celebrated meditation master
Position 1: The Nostril Aperture
Mind is to be concentrated with and visualized until a bright and clear sphere appears there. Then let the sphere be appeared at left nostril for the female and right nostril for the male. Attention should be fixed and mind is to be rested at the center of the sphere. This is as clear as a size of a grain of sand or sesame. Then the word ‘Samm± Arahang’ is to be repeated three times mentally to sustain the sphere at the nostril. Indeed this is the first position where meditative person’s mind is focused.
Position 2: The Eye Socket
Then he/she is to move to the crystal clear sphere slowly up to rest at the eye socket, as directed in the first position i.e. left eye for the females and right eye for the males. Then attention is to be fixed at the small clear center of the sphere while movement to the sphere is done mentally. In this position, the same word, Samm± Arahang is to be repeated three times. This is the position no. two.
Position 3: The Center of the Head
In this step the sphere is to be shifted to the head mentally. Mind should be kept constant and fixed at the center of the bright sphere. Then Samm± Arahang is to be repeated three times to keep that sphere bright. This is the third position.
Position 4: The Palate Terminus
Without lifting the head eye-balls should be rolled so that the vision gets turned back and inside. In the mean time, one should move the vivid and transparent sphere slowly and directly down towards the palate. The words, Samm± Arahang are to be recited three times to make the sphere brighter and clearer, and it is to be held there. This is the fourth position.
Position 5: The Throat Apertures
Next to it the similar movement is to be done slowly and directly downward to rest at the throat aperture. Here also the words Samm± Arahang are to be repeated three times to keep the sphere bright and is to be held steady. This is the fifth position.
Position 6: Centre of the Body
After that while keeping one’s attention focused on the bright nucleus at its center, he/she should move downwards directly. Then the sphere is to be brought to rest at the centre of the body where the breath ends. Here also the same words are to be recited as done in the previous position.
Position 7: Position of Sphere
The seventh position is the mind’s permanent resting place. In this step the sphere is to be shifted directly upward two middle finger joints above the navel. Indeed whenever a baby is born, dies, sleeps or awakens, the Dharma sphere that governs the body arises from this position. This Dharma Sphere is composed of four spheres- the Vision Sphere, the Memory Sphere, the Thought Sphere and the Cognition Sphere. From the sixth to seventh position the Dharma sphere appears to float at the time of meditation. The bright and clear sphere is to be kept resting in the seventh position that is considered to be the center of the body. Then the words Samm± Arahang are to be recited continuously to keep the sphere constant, and to make it clearer. One’s mind should be focused on the bright center of each successive sphere. No attention to any external sensation should be paid. One’s mind should be developed into deeper to deeper successive centers while the frequent recitation of Samm± Arahang is done.
In the position of Parikamma-bh±van±, no attention should be paid even if ants or mosquitoes or any insects climb over the body. Even the feelings of breath are to be avoided. Mind is to be brought at the nucleus of the body envisioning the bright sphere, and mind in this step should be constant at the centre of the body. But it should bear in mind that force can not be applied on mind because it might shift the meditation into another way and thus mind will not be able to see.
Fig: Position in the meditation according to the way of DMC :
Two Inches above the Navel
To focus on the vision corporal eyes can not be used because it is the practice of mind. Mind should be trained gently to see the crystal clear sphere. In one word, one should concentrate on the center of each successive sphere. So wandering to the left, right, front, back, top or bottom is not allowed .
The Impact of Dhammakaya in Thai society:
Dhammakaya is one of the claimants among those who played role in the resurrection of Buddhism in Thailand. Bearing the prototype of Lord Buddha and taking the epoch-making steps, Dhammakaya proceeded towards a new horizon and changed many old conceptions. It will not be superfluity at all, if it is said that Dhammakaya introduced the teaching of Buddha to the Thai people newly. While the easy, simple and materialist Thai people were emerged in the darkness of illiteracy; while their feelings of ancient meditation and perception had been blunt; and while they became frustrated not finding the link between life and religion, Dhammakaya appeared to them with the lamp in hand. With its particular thoughts and methods Dhammakaya made them understand that Buddhism was not a religion only and it was nothing but a religion of wisdom which was completely based on science. The scientific procedures are based on four things and those are – theory, experiment, observation and decision. Similarly Buddhism is established on four things- There are sufferings, the causes of sufferings, the protection of sufferings and the way of protection of sufferings in the world. These are relating to the steps of scientific procedures. The “Four Noble Truth Paths ” is its superior instance. This is Dhammakaya which showed first to the Thai people that meditation, discovered by the Lord Buddha was established on the basis of science. Particularly when the ancient people used to think that meditation was the part and parcel of religion and this was a matter of hardship and complicacy, the new strategy of Dhammakaya in the field of meditation made them understand that meditation is indeed a physical based process where mind is the controller and after all it is a very infallible medicine for human life. Thus being attractive the children and teen agers of new generation came forward to grab it. Gradually they came to learn that meditation helps them in increasing the duration of memory, in dispelling corporal disorders and they started to believe that this is meditation which increases their rigidity and beauty as well. And that’s why Dhammakaya has been popular to them. One followed another one and thus the number of young followers increased rapidly. They became curious about those new techniques as a result of which mass waking rose, and Dhammakaya is successful here because while the entire nation was suffering from intricacy by the lack of proper direction and supervision, Dhammakaya appeared before them as the quinine of Malaria.
Next to it the subject which comes first is the sense and tendency of charity. But it is not that Thai people did not use to do charitable deeds. The inspiration of Dhammakaya fueled and enriched consciousness of charity in many ways. This is nothing but Dhammakaya that played a great role in awakening the sense of spontaneous participation of Thai people in charitable deeds. The arrangement of “Mass- Pindapatha” in different states of Thailand one after another is a vivid precedent of it. It is amazing but true that more than ten thousand monks and novices attend there where children, old persons and women of a specific region rush to perform charitable deeds. Thus the consciousness of Buddhism and the sense of brotherhood are created in their mind.
Controversy on DMC:
No doubt, the DMC is one of the biggest and well-known meditation centres in the present world. But some of the activities have been criticized. Though those are negligible, the DMC should be more alert sometimes because a single error may turn into a great problem. The DMC authority should bear in mind that they have well reputation over the world and this may be one of the reasons of envy of others.
It is seen that most of the leaders of the DMC lead a luxurious life and deal with huge amount of money, and Lord Abbot of DMC has been seen to use expensive saffron robe. Again the leaders provide different facilities for the different classes of people i.e. rich people are highly honored there where the poor do not get the same. Sometimes the poor can not receive the offerings of the DMC due to being expensive. A meditation centre is a sacred place where all classes of people should get the benefits equally. Meditation is done with a view to gaining supreme happiness and it should be performed by all participants through similar way. Buddhism tells about the equalization among all classes of people. The Prince Siddhartha, who took the path of salvation leaving all earthly happiness, is a splendid precedent of equalization. It is said that some of them try to solve the people’s personal problem. They prophesize the people’s fortune, and they predict on the winning number of lottery. They sell magical amulets in order to pass their probable accident away. In Buddhism it is obviously mentioned that everyone must get result of his good or bad actions. So no one can deny his destiny by containing magical amulets in his body. Again no one should show his supernatural power for it may create conflict among the devotees. These are indeed anti Buddhism affairs .
Phra Dhammachayo was primarily a very popular monk in the DMC. However, in course of time, once thousands of the people brought complain against him. Despite being accused of money scandal, he was able to overcome this problem with the help of some of his obedient followers.
A meditation centre is generally free from all other din and bustles of a society. But the internal competitions among the monks created chaos that has been criticized greatly. It is said that those who can provide more funds for the temple are highly appreciated there in the DMC. Money is collected by “The Suan Pa Himmawan” Retreat Centre and various kinds of Meditation rate, such as 5500 Thai Baht as the standard rate is published whereas the rate of 3500 Baht is for those people who are financially weak. The categories of people who qualify for a reduced registration rate of 3500 Baht are, Normal rate: 5500 Thai Baht, Special rate: 3500 Thai Baht Group 1, Special rate: 3500 Thai Baht Group 2 . Going to do this, chaos created among them. Disciplines should be maintained so that this kind of stuff matter might not occur .
Over and above, it is painful to hear that funeral ceremony is sometimes postponed as long as the demanded amount is not paid. Those who fail to meet the wanted money, they are instantly refused.
Excluding these negligible phenomena, the DMC is successful in all respects. It is previously said that nothing in this universe is out of controversies. The contribution of DMC in the history of teaching meditation and some other auspicious activities is ever memorable. In fine it is strongly believed that the DMC must reach to its goal ultimately, no doubt.
Though attaining Dhammakaya, the highest level of attainment of supreme happiness is not difficult, simultaneously it is not an easy task. It is not troublesome for the person who can attain it, while it is hard for one who can not. Indeed the success of meditation mostly depends on mindfulness, temperament, patience and firm determination. These are the pre-requisites of attaining primary path (Pathama Magga). These are the updated, easier and examined ways of following the techniques of meditation. In fact, the benefits of meditation in our life are endless and its outcome is filled up with extreme happiness. It is matter of pleasure that without making deformed of meditation technique taught by Lord Buddha DMC offered it to the participants successfully. In both methods of Samatha and Vipāssanā their involvement is as up to date as praiseworthy. Actually the DMC tries to follow the techniques of both of the ways which are related to the fundamental teaching of Buddha i.e. Visuddhimagga and Satipattanā Suttā. According to me this way will be more fruitful and obviously be the successful one in the field of Theravada Practices. If this attempts remains continued in future, a procession of success will go ahead as if it is a lifebuoy with light in hand. It is genuinely true that this will place the DMC in the golden page of history of the world. These all will be well appreciated by the people of all caste and creed from the every corner of the world. With the mingling of the then Buddha’s rule and well experimented updated theory of the DMC has made the meditation techniques easier and interesting. It can be firmly believed that in near future all the meditation techniques discovered and taught by DMC will highly evaluated no doubt.
►Visuddhivācā, by Morradok Dhamma, 2006, Australia,
►Journey to Joy by Luang Phaw Dhammajayo, (2008) Bangkok, Thailand
►SECOND TO NONE, The Biography of Khun Yay Maharatana Upasika Chandra Khon-nok-yoong, (2000)
►E-book, The Heart of Dhammakaya, By Dr. Phra Rajyanvisith, Published by Wat Luang Phor Sodh Dhammakāyārām Damnoen Saduak District, Rajburi Province, 70130, Thailand, 3rd Edition May 2009,
►Nirvana for Sale: Associated Press, July 24, 1999, By Robert Horn
►Buddhist Sunday School Lessons, By Ven. Sumangalo, Malaysia (2008)
►Tomorrow the World will Change (A Practice for all Humanity), by Luang Phaw Dhammajayo, (2007) Bangkok, Thailand