The World’s largest Buddhist Temple, Wat Phra Dhammakaya Bangkok, Thailand and Devotees held special commemorate Ceremony of Dhammakaya Temple Great Founder Master Nun Chand Khonnokyoong on September 21, 2020 at Wat Phra Dhammakaya premises Bangkok, Thailand. Thousands of Most Venerable Monks and Bhikkhunis, Devotees also participated this grand ceremony.
Including the historical procession ceremony presented of Golden Statue of the Great Master Phramongkolthepmuni (Sodh Chandasaro) around Maha Dhammakaya Cetiya at the upper level of Maha Rattana Vihara, and to enshrine the Statue at the lower level of Maha Rattana Vihara. Specially, this ceremony included The 102 Anniversary of the Discovery of Vijja Dhammakaya.
In 2470 B.E.(1927), Chand heard that a meditation master in Thonburi was able to use meditation to communicate with beings in the afterlife. This was the Great Master Phramongkolthepmuni, also known as Luangpu Sodh Candasaro. To accomplish her wish to reconcile with her father, Chand left her family eight years later and travelled to Bangkok to find her way to Wat Paknam Bhasicharoen, where Luangpu Sodh was located at that time. At first, Chand lived with her aunt in Bangkok. Later on, to acquaint herself with Wat Paknam, Chand decided to work as a servant. She applied to work in a household which was regularly visited by a teacher from Wat Paknam. This was the household of Madam Liap Sikanchananand in Saphan Han, Bangkok, in which the master Tongsuk Samdaengpan came regularly to teach. After a while, the master Tongsuk started to teach Chand in private and Chand quickly made progress in Dhammakaya meditation. With her determinate heart, she practiced and meditated diligently to apply Vijja Dhammakaya to seek for her dead father. She willed to practice and then was very successful so that the Great Master Phramongkolthepmuni, the discoverer of Vijja Dhammakaya, praised her that “Second to None”.
After Luangpu Sodh died in 2502 B.E.(1959), Khun Yai Chand transmitted the Dhammakaya tradition to a new generation at Wat Paknam Bhasicharoen. The house in which Khun Yai lived quickly became too small to accommodate all her students, and funds were raised to build a new house, called the “Dhammaprasit House”. Khun Yai encouraged meditation practitioners who were still students to ordain after graduation. One of the first of these was Luang Por Dhammajayo, who ordained in 2512 B.E.(1969). The number of students increased quickly, and in 2518 B.E.(1975) exceeded the capacity of Wat Paknam. Continuing there became inappropriate. Plans were made for establishing a new meditation center. A 78.4 acres plot of paddy-field was donated for building the center by Lady Prayad Prattayaponsa-Visudhathipbodi, an aristocratic lady. Having only 3,200 Baht (US$160 in 2513 B.E.(1970)) to their name, a group of meditation practitioners headed by Khun Yai began establishing the temple. On the new land a meditation center was gradually built. It was first officially established on Magha Puja Day, February 20, 2513 B.E.(1970) and called “Buddhajak Meditation Center”. Luang Por Dhammajayo and Khun Yai Chand took responsibility for the finances of the establishment, and a lay-supporter, who later ordained as Luang Por Dattajeevo, took responsibility for building on the site. Every canal in the temple compound was dredged and excavated by the volunteers and the trees in the temple were planted by hand. In the beginning, the soil was very acidic. While working to plant the trees, Khun Yai became seriously under-nourished and at one time came dangerously close to death. She recovered under medical attention. In 2521 B.E.(1978), the meditation center became an official temple, and eventually was named “Wat Phra Dhammakaya”. Despite the initial difficulties, in the 1980s and 1990s the temple grew to be the largest in Thailand.
In her old age Khun Yai Chand was still active in the temple, though she had to be hospitalized from 2539 to 2540 B.E.(1996 to 1997) . She died peacefully on September 10, 2543 B.E.(2000) at Kasemrat Hospital, Bangkok, at the age of ninety-one. Her cremation was postponed for over a year in order to give time to everyone to pay their respects to her and make merit on her behalf. When her funeral was held, on February 3, 2545 B.E.(2002) it was claimed that over 250,000 monks from thirty thousand temples throughout Thailand attended to show their final respects, which is unusual, even more so for a female renunciant in Thailand. The heads of the monastic communities of several countries came to join. Khun Yai Chand’s remains were burnt in a grand ceremony, using glass to ignite the fire by sun light. Her ashes were kept in a small stupa.
In 2546 B.E.(2003), Wat Phra Dhammakaya built a monument in honor of Khun Yai Chand, called the “Mahavihara Khun Yai Ajan Mahā-ratana Upāsika Chand Khonnokyoong”. This is a hexagonal building with a meditation hall and a life-size golden image of Khun Yai Chand in it. The extension of the Wat Phra Dhammakaya, which is 791 acres, was acquired in the name of the Dhammakaya Foundation, using the funds from followers who donated to the temple to expand the temple’s public area. This new public area’s purpose was to provide a peaceful sanctuary to facilitate meditation teachings, Buddhist events, and monastic ceremonies. The extended land has been used for the propagation of Buddhism since the year 2528 B.E.(1985) By the year 2542 B.E.(1999), over 100,000 people came to attend each special Buddhist ceremonies. Today, the number is still growing rapidly, and the Sapa Dhammakaya, which once seemed large, often became even too small for many events.
The Dhammakaya Foundation has used the 791 acres for many public and peace events. For example, mass ordination programs, meditation retreats, youth moral festivals, Light of Peace ceremonies, and many more each year. The facilities can house up to 1,000,000 people each event, so it has been a very beneficial facility used for local gatherings, international gatherings, and peace advocacy events. Since August 2529 B.E.(1986) the Dhammakaya Foundation has become the United Nations-accredited Non-Governmental Organisation associated with the Departmen Public Information (DPI) and has since that date sent delegates to the Annual DPI/NGO Conference of the United Nations.In February 2542 B.E.(1999) the Dhammakaya Foundation has been participating in the Millennium People’s Assembly Network called for by the United Nations Secretary General. Kofi Annan.
On Earth day April 22, 2542 B.E.(1999) the Dhammakaya Foundation supported the promotion of 2000 International Year for the Culture of Peace which is proclaimed by the General Assembly of the United Nations. A hundred thousand Buddhist monks and novices have participated the ethic contest organised for support the culture of peace educational programme. On the same occasion, thousands of temple followers have signed the Commitment for Culture of Peace. The Commitment is drafted by a group of Nobel Peace Prize Laureates which UNESCO is the focal point, and in response to an appeal signed by all the Nobel Peace Laureates -the first decade of the next millennium -the years 2544-2553 B.E.(2001-2010) -as the “International Decade for a Culture of Peace and Non-Violence for the Children of the World”.
The Dhammakaya Foundation has also demonstrated an co-operative participation in the seventy-two hours Interfaith Peace Building Project of the United Religions initiative in order to play an important role as a living pledge to a new and more hopeful future for all people. The programme will be held on from December 31, 2542 B.E.(1999) to January 2, 2543 B.E.(2000).Hundred thousand of people will participate in meditation and illuminate the Light of Peace of the Millennium.
During May 11-15, 2542 B.E.(1999), the Dhammakaya Foundation has sent 13 representatives to participate the Hague Appeal for Peace Conference, which is the largest international peace conference in history. Over 9,000 activists, government representatives and community leaders from over 100 countries attended the conference workshops and round tables mechanisms for abolishing war and creating a culture of peace in the 21st century. The Dhammakaya Foundation also organized 3 sessions of Global Meetings on Meditation to provide interested participants in seeking the real peace from within.
After visit to Bangkok, Thailand
Official Photographs by Pongpan Ratithammakul (Zung D’voice) & Dhammakaya Temple Media Unit