A spooky and interesting place...
We may have all seen pictures of thousands of children meditating for world peace, but what is Wat Phra Dhammakaya? Inna and I hailed a cab from Bangkok and turned up, not knowing what to expect. It's a Buddhist temple to the north of Bangkok, near the airport that has loads of members. It's come under fire over the years for the "unusual" activity of monks, it's cultishness and its riches.
We were struck by the sheer size of the place and the organisation, having studied Leni Riefenstahl movies at university, I was struck by the Nuremburgesque nature of it all. We walked about trying not to be spotted taking photos and trying to fit in. To be honest, no-one seemed too bothered by us and we walked up to the Golden dome that is the focus of the place and checked it out. We could see preparations being made for the night's meditation, people practicing a march and lanterns being prepared; we tried to get right up to the dome but we were told we couldn't go past the steps that led up to it.
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We turned and walked to the big structures that are another key feature of the site, where 1000s and 1000 of people shelter from the sun, between meditations, listening to monks talk and chant, meditating themselves, or eating or sleeping. We found a spot to sit down and we were soon taking part in some sort of mass meditation. There was a wierd computer generated image on the screen that freaked us out a little as it was very hypnotic.
After a while we left, feeling very calm and tranquil and happier for our adventure, it had something about it. It's worth a visit. Overall, we were struck by the numbers of people (on the way out we walked past fleets of buses that had brought them all here), the size of the place and the strange cultish vibe that it emanated. Have a look at our photos, there must have been tens of thousands or people! The place was HUGE! And a little creepy!
Check out our photos below:
Wat Phra Dhammakaya photos: Click on the arrows to scroll, or on the image for a larger version (in a pop-up)
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