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Documentary gives Thais rare glimpse into controversial sect

Censors unexpectedly lift ban on film about Buddhist leader and followers

Monks participate in a mass-ordination ceremony at Wat Dhammakaya temple in Pathum Thani Province, north of Bangkok. The temple is home to the controversial Dhammakaya Buddhist sect, the subject of a gripping documentary by filmmaker Nottapon Boonprakob. (Photo by Ron Gluckman)

BANGKOK -- For the last year, Bangkok residents have been preoccupied with COVID-19 pandemic precautions and pro-democracy demonstrations. Four years ago, however, they were focused on a very different controversy -- an enormous circular temple looking eerily like a gigantic golden spaceship.

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