Wat Paknam Bhasicharoen

Bangkok, Thailand

Wat Paknam Bhasicharoen


Wat Paknam Bhasicharoen (Thai: วัดปากน้ำภาษีเจริญ, RTGS: Wat Paknam Phasi Charoen) is a royal wat ('temple') located in Phasi Charoen district, Bangkok, at the Chao Phraya River. It is part of the Maha Nikaya fraternity and is the origin of the Dhammakaya tradition. It is a large and popular temple, supported by prosperous community members.

Wat Paknam was established in 1610, during the Ayutthaya period, and received support from Thai kings until the late nineteenth century. By the beginning of the twentieth century, the temple had become nearly abandoned and had fallen into disrepair. The temple underwent a major revival and became widely known under the leadership of the meditation master Luang Pu Sodh Candasaro, who was abbot there in the first half of the twentieth century. Seven years after Luang Pu's death, Somdet Chuang Varapuñño became the new abbot. Somdet Chuang made international headlines from 2015 onward, when his appointment as Supreme Patriarch (acting head of the Thai monastic community) was stalled and finally withdrawn, due to reasons generally interpreted as political. This has led to heated debate and protests in Thailand. As part of this process, Somdet Chuang and his assistant were accused of tax fraud. It turned out that there was not sufficient reason to charge Somdet Chuang, however. As for the charges remaining against his assistant, the latter was later acquitted due to lack of evidence, two days after Somdet Chuang's nomination as Patriarch was withdrawn.

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