Double suicide puts Thailand’s secretive Johrei sect in the spotlight

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While so-called “Johrei” purification practices have existed in Thailand for more than five decades now, the public knew little about the cult until the bodies of a mother and her 12-year-old daughter were found after an apparent suicide pact.

The pair were discovered dead in an embrace, close to the corpses of their two pet birds and a container of cyanide, at their house in Rayong’s Ban Chang district on the morning of January 2. On the bedside table lay a note reading: “No funeral services. Just immediate cremation. Put us in the same coffin. May our deaths bless all universes with freedom.”

The authorities have since confirmed that the deaths were caused by consumption of cyanide.

Police investigators discovered that the woman was a 41-year-old veterinarian who had recently lost her bedridden mother and was battling depression. Though she and her husband had parted ways more than five years earlier, they still lived in the same house.

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