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Inner Peace Roots

Inner Peace, or what is known officially as the Dhammakaya meditation technique, is an approach to Buddhist meditation revived in the early 1900s and practiced by several million people all over the world.  Dhammakaya meditation was re-discovered by Luang Pu Wat Paknam (Phra Monkolthepmuni) on the full-moon night of September 1914 at Wat Bangkuvieng, Nonthaburi, Thailand.  It is said that Phra Monkolthepmuni was the rediscoverer of Dhammakaya meditation, because it is believed that the Buddha became enlightened by attaining Dhammakaya through Dhammakaya meditation, and that knowledge of this was lost 500 years after the Buddha entered Nibbana (Nirvana).  Meditation, previously considered nothing more than a mental exercise or spiritual austerity, became popular through this master’s dedication to teaching and research in the Dhammakaya method he had rediscovered.  While the Dhammakaya method of meditation does have it's origin as being the original method of meditation used by the Buddha, the methodology itself is totally non-religious and can be practiced by anyone.  Following the Great Abbot’s death, the Foundation's work was continued by his most gifted disciple, the nun Khun Yay Ubasika Chandra Khonnokyoong.


Wat Phra Dhammakaya temple was founded by Khun Yay in 1970 after Luang Pu Wat Paknam’s death when her own dwelling at Wat Paknam in Bangkok became too small to accommodate all those coming to study meditation there. Khun Yay and her students led by Ven. Dhammajayo Bhikkhu and Ven. Dattajivo Bhikkhu wanted to see the continual growth of the Dhammakaya Tradition. They established the temple to be a center for international meditation study with the vision of it becoming a sanctuary for peaceful spiritual practice and a refuge in the midst of a turbulent world.

The temple was established on Magha Puja Day, 20 February 1970, on an eighty-acre plot of land donated by lady Prayat Phaetayapongsa – Visudhathibodi.  With the expansion of the temple to one thousand acres in 1985, Wat Phra Dhammakaya stands on the threshold of the development of the World Dhammakaya Center as a resource to serve the needs of the international community.  Although recognizing the importance of constructing buildings, the temple has always placed special emphasis upon training devotes.  Thus, in the more than forty years since the foundation of the temple, activities at Wat Phra Dhammakaya have attracted devotees not just from Bangkok, but from all over Thailand and countries abroad.


While the temple was under construction, the Dhammadayada ordination scheme program gave training to hundreds of university students, a steadily increasing number of whom swelled the number of residents in the temple community to 1,470 monks and 443 novices, 161 laymen and 650 laywomen. At the same time congregations on Sundays and major religious festivals attained 100,000 necessitating the construction of the Sapha Dhammakaya Hall, planned as the center for ceremonies. Currently, congregations have reached over 500,000 and the newly constructed Meditation Stadium surrounding the Dhammakaya Cetiya will accommodate up to a million people.  As can be seen below, the overall Dhammakaya Temple complex is larger than the Disneyland/California theme park in Los Angeles, California.




The Dhammakaya Foundation makes use of modern technology to present traditional teachings in a way that responds to the needs of those in a contemporary society.  Since the outset of the Dhammakaya tradition, the inner peace of mediation has reflected an aspiration to cultivate peace in the world at large.  It has been obvious that the work involved requires more than just a temple organized by monks.  For this reason the temple has grown together with its supporting organization, the Dhammakaya Foundation, to facilitate a broader base of activities for the public and participation by lay members of the congregation.  Activities are organized at Wat Phra Dhammakaya by the Dhammakaya Foundation.  Activities in the present time include mediation teaching and retreats, scriptural education and research, youth training, school orientations, social services, and environmental conservation.  Activities for devotees always emphasize working upon oneself through the practices of charity, self discipline and meditation.

Currently, under the leadership of president Phrarajbhavanavisudh (Luang Phaw Dhammajayo, b.1944), the Dhammakaya Foundation in 2004-5 has received further recognition for its contribution to world peace from organizations such as the World Health Organization, the Thai Senate, and several peoples' associations in the South of Thailand.  The Dhammakaya Movement continues to influence millions of people in Thailand and worldwide to practice Dhammakaya meditation.  The Foundation has set up the Dhammakaya Open University in Azusa, California in 2003 to offer degree courses in Buddhist studies.  It has also encouraged Thais to quit drinking and smoking through the activities of Anti-Drinking and Anti-Smoking programs.  World Health Organization (WHO) presented the 2004 World No Tobacco Day Award for this work on 31 May 2004.

The movement has expanded branches to over eighteen countries worldwide. There are seventeen Dhammakaya Centers with sixty domestic groups and eleven Centers abroad.  The movement is promoted via a Buddhist satellite network or Dhamma Media Channel (DMC.TV) with a 24 hour-a-day Dhamma and meditation teachings broadcast to the audience worldwide.  The world wide web is also used to promote the activities of the Dhammakaya Foundation.

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