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Date: 12/23/98

Publication: The Nation

Section: Headlines

High-cost centre draws worshippers

A Bt30 million Dhammakaya-affiliate building in the heart of Khon Kaen province provides 3,000 lay Buddhists with a venue for worship since it opened a year ago, residents said on Tuesday.

The posh, four-storey building, overlooking the northeastern city's main road, is built on one rai of prize downtown land and called the ''Kalayanamitra (Good Fellow) Centre''.

In the hall is a larger-than-life-size icon of Luang Pho Sod sitting cross-legged.

The plot of land was donated by a devout Dhammakaya follower known only as Pathamaan and is estimated to be worth Bt20 million. Other followers donated Bt10 million for the construction of the building.

Among its following, the temple boasts of retired and serving bureaucrats, students, physicians, nurses and members of the public.

The followers here as well as elsewhere are called on to contribute towards building personal Dhammakaya Buddhist icons that will be enshrined at the Dhammakaya pagoda in Pathum Thani. They will go on a pilgrimage to Dhammakaya temple on Dec 27.

At an enthusiastic solicitation of a Dhammakaya devout lecturer, medical and engineering students at Khon Kaen University complained about having a hectic time switching between classes and religious duties.

The Nation

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