I did not know that Ma Ba Tha had won an award in Thailand. This news from the Bangkok Post is really very problematic and highlights what is so rotten inside Buddhism today. Truly, the religion of Siddhartha Gautam Buddha has been hijacked by racists and bigots who have no respect for human rights of others. It is shameful and inexcusable.
In February, Ma Ba Tha received an award in Thailand for being an "outstanding Buddhist peace" organisation. The terrorist monk Wirathu attended the ceremony.
The questionable award first became public last week when a Facebook post by academic Somrit Luechai showed Ashin Wirathu at the award ceremony which was presided over by an elder from the Supreme Sangha.
Mr Somrit strongly condemned the award being given to a militant monk whose campaigns of hate have triggered mass killings of Rohingya Muslims. He also named Dhammakaya and Maha Chula as collaborators in the ceremony which he described as an abuse of Buddhism and an endorsement of hatred and violence.
Maha Chula is at the centre of the clergy's campaigns to make Buddhism the state religion and another supporting Somdet Phra Maha Ratchamangalacharn, also known as Somdet Chuang, to become the next supreme patriarch.
What is also very rotten with the award ceremony is that the award was actually organised by a group called World Buddhist Leaders Organisation, chaired by Dr Pornchai Pinyapong who is also president of the World Fellowship of Buddhist Youth (WFBY). Last year, it reportedly donated over one million baht for the organisation to build two radio stations with the aim of spreading its message to a wider audience. Wirathu was reportedly present to thank the Thai delegation personally for the donation.
If this be the attitude of WBLO and WFBY, what can one expect from ordinary Buddhists that are willing to do the most evil acts directed and scripted by their monks?
As Sanitsuda Ekachai, former editorial pages editor, Bangkok Post, rightly puts it, they only have themselves to blame. Temple corruption, monk misconduct, luxurious lifestyles and the total inefficiency of the Sangha Council have resulted in declining public faith in the clergy in Thailand, which is aggravated further by their meddling in divisive politics.