Project Reason is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit foundation devoted to spreading scientific knowledge and secular values in society. The foundation draws on the talents of prominent and creative thinkers in a wide range of disciplines to encourage critical thinking and erode the influence of dogmatism, superstition, and bigotry in our world.

Donate to Project Reason

Join the Mailing List

Sign up to receive email updates from Project Reason.

Log in

not a member? Join here.
Forgot your password?

The Scripture Project

Browse the Bible, Qur’an or Book of Mormon for scriptural criticism, insights and careful annotation.

Most Recently Updated Passages

Close Encounters of the Buddhist Kind

Posted: January 26, 2011.

Foreign Policy


Picture this: millions of followers gathering around a central shrine that looks like a giant UFO in elaborately choreographed Nuremberg-style rallies; missionary outposts in 31 countries from Germany to the Democratic Republic of the Congo; an evangelist vision that seeks to promote a “world morality restoration project”; and a V-Star program that encourages hundreds of thousands of children to improve “positive moral behavior.” Although the Bangkok-based Dhammakaya movement dons saffron robes, not brown shirts, its flamboyant ceremonies have become increasingly bold displays of power for this cult-like Buddhist group that was founded in the 1970s, ironically, as a reform movement opposed to the excesses of organized religion in Thailand.

Yet, despite the pageantry, the inner workings of this fast-growing movement are little known to Thailand’s general public, and certainly to the rest of the world, though its teachings loom large among the legions of devotees. The veil of secrecy parted briefly in late 1999, when two top Dhammakaya leaders were charged with embezzlement in what many considered a political ploy to suppress the temple’s growing power.

Read the full article | Print this article

Comments (3)

My wife is Thai and is not a fan of this group. That being said, i felt some of the nazi comparisons were unwarranted. No real evidence was supplied to support those claims.

posted on January 26, 2011
report this as inappropriate

You don't have permission to flag this entry.

2. bananapeel

But this is clearly a mutation of the Buddhist memeplex, which traditionally has not been evangelical or aggressive.

posted on January 27, 2011
report this as inappropriate

You don't have permission to flag this entry.

Buddha wept.

posted on February 16, 2011
report this as inappropriate

You don't have permission to flag this entry.