Fawning Buddhist Patriarch highlights case for religious reform

Giles Ji Ungpakorn

The acting Supreme Patriarch, head of the Buddhist order of monks, has praised Generalissimo Prayut and his junta. Somdet Pramaha Rachamungkalajarn (to call this reactionary monk by his full title) not only gave his religious support to the military junta, but he also quoted Prayut with approval when Prayut said that peace and reconciliation can be “restored” by using the “five moral precepts of Buddhism”.

The “five moral precepts of Buddhism” are as follows:

1. Refrain from killing.

2. Refrain from taking what is not given.

3. Refrain from sexual misconduct.

4. Refrain from lying.

5. Refrain from alcoholic drinks.

Somdet Pramaha Rachamungkalajarn must have been so busy licking Prayut’s back-side that he has forgotten these “five moral precepts of Buddhism”. Generalissimo Prayut has broken at least 3 of these moral precepts by killing 90 unarmed red shirt protesters in 2010, by stealing the democratic rights of Thai citizens and by lying to the public that he staged a coup to restore peace. The actions of Prayut and his military friends are one of the main causes of disorder in Thailand and in the first 5 months of 2014 they allowed Sutep’s anti-democratic mobs to create chaos in order to have an excuse to take power.

Ever since the Sarit military dictatorship in the late 1950s the Buddhist hierarchy has been controlled and used by the military or the state. The actions of the acting Supreme Patriarch show that there is an urgent need to abolish this backward Buddhist hierarchy and make a complete separation between religion and the state. All religions in Thailand should be confined to a matter of private personal belief.