Monk set up 201 centres 'illegally'

national June 26, 2013 00:00

By Pakamard Jaichalard,
Tanatpon

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A controversial Si Sa Ket monk appears to have set up a vast number of unauthorised centres around the country and overseas, the National Office of Buddhism chief Nopparat Benjawatt-ananan said yesterday.



The monk, who calls himself “Luang Pu Nenkham”, was originally called “Phra Wirapol Sukphol”, from a temple in Ubon Ratchathani – Wat Tai Phrachaoyai Ong Teu. His name appeared under a centre that supervises Buddhist monks travelling overseas (sortorpor.org). 
The agency’s probe found the monk had set up 201 “monasteries”without proper authority. So, the office plans to probe further and take legal action.
The monk came to public attention after a video was posted showing him in a private jet. Now, more YouTube clips have been found – and drawn further criticism, for claiming he has supernatural power. In a sermon at the laying of a foundation of a Vihara to enshrine a replica of the Emerald Buddha at Wat Pa Khantitham in April 2011, he claimed to have contact with supernatural beings. He also claimed to have received over eight tonnes of gold for the replica. 
Department of Fine Arts chief Sahawat Naenna said it had sent a letter urging the monk to apply for permission to build the replica, as the Emerald Buddha was first on a list of 61 key Buddha images and permission was required to do that.
Meanwhile, the Facebook “Net-work Against Acts that Destroy King-dom, Religion and Monarchy” urged the Anti Money Laundering Office to probe the assets of Luang Pu Nen-kham network. 
If the monk’s assets are thought to be suspect, the network’s chairman Songkran Atchariyasap urged an immediate freeze on all transactions. He said the group would also file a request to the Crime Suppression Police tomorrow for a similar probe.

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