Yantra still exiled from monkhood

The Bangkok Post, 24 Apr 2014

Bangkok, Thailand -- Expelled monk Phra Yantra cannot re-enter the monkhood, National Office of Buddhism director-general Nopparat Benjawatananun said on Thursday, as the disgraced former cleric who was involved in a sex scandal 20 years ago continued to receive visitors on his return to Thailand.

He was referring to Winai La-ongsuwan, 60, better known as the former "Phra Yantra" who was at the centre of a defamation and sex scandal 20 years ago and who fled abroad to escape punishment.

Last week he returned to his hometown in Nakhon Si Thammarat after the statute of limitations on the criminal charge that he defamed the late Supreme Patriarch was reached.

In 1994, the Sangha Supreme Council of Thailand found Phra Yantra Ammaro Bhikkhu guilty of defaming the late Supreme Patriarch, a criminal charge under the Sangha Act, and having sex with female followers, a violation of the monkhood, with his nocturnal visits being captured on video.

The council resolved to expel him. He denied everything and insisted he was still a monk, but changed the colour of his robes.

Mr Nopparat said it was correct the statute of limitations had already expired in the defamation case, but the National Office of Buddhism will check if Mr Winai remained guilty of disobeying the Sangha council's order ejecting him from the monkhood.

"According to Buddhist doctrine, once a monk is defrocked he cannot be ordained again for the rest of his life. If another monk then ordains him again when aware that he was expelled that monk is also guilty," he said.

Mr Winai, better known as the former Phra Yantra, welcomes visitors at his sister's home in Nakhon Si Thammarat on Thursday, April 25, 2014. (Post Today photo)

On Thursday, Mr Winai, who is staying at his sister's home in Nakhon Si Thammarat’s Pak Phanang district, welcomed many visitors, including villagers, monks and nuns from different provinces, according to a Post Today report.

The report said many came to pay their respects to Mr Winai, whose monkhood earlier attracted a large following in the 1980s. They gave him food, flower garlands and money, while some asked him to step on their handkerchief as a blessing.

"Although Phra Yantra is no longer a monk, many people still respect and have faith in him because he still lives by the principles of Buddhism. We believe that the accusations against him in the past were false," one villager was cited as saying.

Now with long, grey hair and a beard, Mr Winai entered Thailand via Malaysia during the Songkran festival to pay respects to Phra Khru Suthammachan, the abbot of Wat Rattanaram in Pak Phanang. The monk ordained Mr Winai in 1974.

Mr Winai told his visitors that he planned to undergo dental treatment at a clinic in Phuket later this month, organise a merit-making ceremony and then return to the United States.

We Need Your Help to Train the
Buddhist AI Chat Bot
(Neural Omniscient Robotic-Being for Buddhist Understanding)

For Malaysians who wants to donate in MYR, please use the following account:

Account Name: Bodhi Vision
Account No:. 2122 00000 44661
Bank: RHB
Note: Please indicate your name in the payment slip. Thank you.

Dear Friends in the Dharma,

We seek your generous support to help us train NORBU, the word's first Buddhist AI Chat Bot.

Here are some ways you can contribute to this noble cause:

One-time Donation or Loan: A single contribution, regardless of its size, will go a long way in helping us reach our goal and make the Buddhist LLM a beacon of wisdom for all.

How will your donation / loan be used? Download the NORBU White Paper for details.

For Malaysians who wants to donate in MYR, please use the following account:

Account Name: Bodhi Vision
Account No:. 2122 00000 44661
Bank: RHB
Note: Please indicate your purpose of payment (loan or donation) in the payment slip. Thank you.

Once payment is banked in, please send the payment slip via email to: editor@buddhistchannel.tv. Your donation/loan will be published and publicly acknowledged on the Buddhist Channel.

Spread the Word: Share this initiative with your friends, family and fellow Dharma enthusiasts. Join "Friends of Norbu" at: https://www.facebook.com/groups/norbuchatbot. Together, we can build a stronger community and create a positive impact on a global scale.

Volunteer: If you possess expertise in AI, natural language processing, Dharma knowledge in terms of Buddhist sutras in various languages or related fields, and wish to lend your skills, please contact us. Your knowledge and passion could be invaluable to our project's success.

Your support is part of a collective effort to preserve and disseminate the profound teachings of Buddhism. By contributing to the NORBU, you become a "virtual Bodhisattva" to make Buddhist wisdom more accessible to seekers worldwide.

Thank you for helping to make NORBU a wise and compassionate Buddhist Chatbot!

May you be blessed with inner peace and wisdom,

With deepest gratitude,

Kooi F. Lim
On behalf of The Buddhist Channel Team

Note: To date, we have received the following contributions for NORBU:
US$ 75 from Gary Gach (Loan)
US$ 50 from Chong Sim Keong
MYR 300 from Wilson Tee
MYR 500 from Lim Yan Pok
MYR 50 from Oon Yeoh
MYR 200 from Ooi Poh Tin
MYR 300 from Lai Swee Pin
MYR 100 from Ong Hooi Sian
MYR 1,000 from Fam Sin Nin
MYR 500 from Oh teik Bin
MYR 300 from Yeoh Ai Guat
MYR 300 from Yong Lily
MYR 50 from Bandar Utama Buddhist Society
MYR 1,000 from Chiam Swee Ann
MYR 1,000 from Lye Veei Chiew
MYR 1,000 from Por Yong Tong
MYR 80 from Lee Wai Yee
MYR 500 from Pek Chee Hen
MYR 300 from Hor Tuck Loon
MYR 1,000 from Wise Payments Malaysia Sdn Bhd
MYR 200 from Teo Yen Hua
MYR 500 from Ng Wee Keat
MYR 10,000 from Chang Quai Hung, Jackie (Loan)
MYR 10,000 from K. C. Lim & Agnes (Loan)
MYR 10,000 from Juin & Jooky Tan (Loan)
MYR 100 from Poh Boon Fong (on behalf of SXI Buddhist Students Society)
MYR 10,000 from Fam Shan-Shan (Loan)
MYR 10,000 from John Fam (Loan)
MYR 500 from Phang Cheng Kar
MYR 100 from Lee Suat Yee
MYR 500 from Teo Chwee Hoon (on behalf of Lai Siow Kee)
MYR 200 from Mak Yuen Chau

We express our deep gratitude for the support and generosity.

If you have any enquiries, please write to: editor@buddhistchannel.tv