The Telegraph UK has a gallery of Wat Thamkrabok – the temple famous for more than 20 years for its controversial, but often effective drug rehabilitation scheme. This temple was founded by a Mae Chee, not a monk, though it was many years before it was given official ‘temple’ status.
While many temples have risen to fame, and faded from view since the ‘early’ days in the late sixties and early seventies, this temple has steadily been fullfilling its mission. There are questions in the Sangha about how much temples ‘should’ do social work for the community. Should goes in quotes, because there is no real resistance from the Sangha to stop temples with social help schemes, even though the majority feel temples should be about dhamma. Afterall, clinics and medical professionals should really supervise such schemes shouldn’t they?
Similar questions were raised over the last 50 years as Thailand’s schools shifted from being managed by the temples, to being run by qualified educational and teaching professionals. For the most part this shift in education has been a good thing – schools are better run by professionals than by monks and nuns, even if there are some downsides.
Click on the image below to link to the slides on the Telegraph.