Buddhism Office probes monks over ‘Mind Connection’ cult claims

Photo courtesy of KhaoSod

A controversial spiritual practice in Thailand, dubbed the “Mind Connection” technique, has prompted an investigation by the National Office of Buddhism (NOB).

The director of the NOB, Intaporn Jantaeiam, recently announced a legal pathway to take action and initiated a probe into two monks whose images appeared at an event related to this practice.

The case came into the spotlight when Anantachai Chaiyadech, President of the Lawyer’s Association for the Morality Army Foundation, raised questions on social media about the legitimacy of the practice, which is not found in the Theravada Buddhist scriptures, the Pali Canon. Anantachai questioned whether it was the duty of the National Office of Buddhism to act against a child who claims to be the son of Buddha and teaches Dharma using this unorthodox method.

The eight year old child, referred to as Nice, claims to be an anagami (non-returner), a serpent king reborn and uses this “Mind Connection” technique to impart Dharma teachings. The practice has been labelled as a new religious movement or cult, and concerns have risen about the child’s well-being and potential exploitation for financial gain.

The Prime Minister’s Office Minister, Puangpet Chunla-ead, instructed the NOB and the Ministry of Social Development and Human Security (MSDHS) to investigate the matter following numerous public complaints. The investigation also extends to Nice’s parents, to determine if they have been feeding the child false information or if there are other individuals behind the scenes profiting from the situation.

Intaporn Jantaeiam, addressing a separate event, acknowledged Anantachai’s concerns and thanked him for his involvement. He assured that the government is coordinating with Surat Thani provincial authorities, the MSDHS, and the police to address the matter. Intaporn plans to visit the area to inspect the situation due to the large number of people involved and the potential deviation from Buddhist teachings.

NOB investigation

The NOB has been working on this issue from the beginning, consulting legal experts on how to proceed with actions against the child and his guardians. However, the legal framework does not cover defamation of religious sites or objects, nor does it address the impersonation of monks, as there have been no complaints from individuals who have suffered financial damage from the courses offered by Nice, reported KhaoSod.

The investigation has also revisited the involvement of two monks. The first monk claimed he was only invited to the hotel where the “Mind Connection” event took place to receive alms, and the second monk, seen paying respects to Nice in a clip, has been instructed by his superiors to leave his temple and meditate elsewhere.

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Nattapong Westwood

Nattapong Westwood is a Bangkok-born writer who is half Thai and half Aussie. He studied in an international school in Bangkok and then pursued journalism studies in Melbourne. Nattapong began his career as a freelance writer before joining Thaiger. His passion for news writing fuels his dedication to the craft, as he consistently strives to deliver engaging content to his audience.

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