Strange cult makes a comeback in Isan school

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Early this month I came across an interesting news story about a school in Ubon Ratchathani that was accused of forcing its students to join the activities of a Chinese religious sect presented under the guise of dhamma training.

According to the report, the school hosted a one-day camp to promote dhamma for its Matthayom 5 students. It turned out to have nothing to do with Buddha’s teachings but was more of a cult-like ritual.

The students were given a talk about death before they joined what the lecturer claimed to be a ceremony to eliminate their names from the list of the “angel of death”.

In the process, each of them had to write their name on a piece of paper said to be their passport to heaven, then it was burned to suggest that their names were taken from the death list and they would be protected by sacred spirits.

During the ceremony, curtains were pulled down on all windows and doors were locked. The students had to crouch on the floor, recite five sacred words and repeatedly prostrate to an altar in front of them.

The lecturer also told them not to reveal the mantra to anyone, saying it was a secret from heaven. Even though some students cried out of fear and wanted to leave, they were cajoled to stay.

The ceremony ended with an anointment on their foreheads, and then students had to give their home addresses to the lecturer who claimed it was meant to help protect their families.

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