Buddhist Temple Wat Phra Dhammakaya is as controversial as it is huge.
The world’s largest Buddhist temple, Wat Phra Dhammakaya in Bangkok, Thailand is becoming just as controversial as it is huge. Big enough to fit over one million worshippers within its ground, the architectural design and the motives behind it have gained as many supporters as it has critics.
The Buddhist temple Wat Phra Dhammakaya was designed around the four virtues, as described by Lord Buddha, including pleasant location and pleasant people. The design seems to be based on a very modern concept, and many people have called it like a “spaceship.” On a Sunday, or during a major Buddhist religious festival, there can be around one hundred thousand people in the temple to worship. Around three thousand monks and novices are now living with Wat Phra Dhammakaya, and that not only makes it the biggest temple in terms of size but also population. Many believe that the temple has reached out to the middle class that would not ordinarily go to a temple.
On the other hand, there are some people that believe the temple Wat Phra Dhammakaya is too capitalistic, and against the teachings of Buddha. The Buddhist scholar Sulak Sivaraksa has stated that he believes the temple to be “distortion of the message of the Buddha, because they want to be successful, and to be successful in this day and age you have to go along with capitalism and consumerism.” The building of Wat Phra Dhammakaya cost over $1 billion much of which was from individual donations and there are concerns that the money could have been better spent on the poor and the needy. But Dutch Buddhist monk Phra Sandr defends the temple stating, “When people come here for a while they notice that there is a very important core where people are learning to practice character.”
It is hoped that the two groups will be able to come together, and be able to worship together comfortably, as the Lord Buddha would have wanted.