Friday, January 11, 2019

Buddhist monks behaving badly (video)

Al Jazeera English, AJ reporting from Thailand on an episode of 101 East ("Tainted Robes," Dec. 18, 2014); Crystal Q., CC Liu, Seth Auberon (eds.), Wisdom Quarterly

Thailand's Tainted Robes: Misbehaving Monks (101 East)
As scandals involving misbehaving Buddhist monks rock the nation, 101 East examines if Thailand can save its "moral soul."
Playboy bad "monk" Ven. Nehn Kham (AJ)
Ven. Nehn Kham was once a hugely popular monk preaching in Thailand's poor northeast region of Isaan. Today, he is an international fugitive with a $32 million fortune that he amassed through fraud. Buddhists around the world were shocked when footage emerged of this monk looking like a playboy gangster on a private plane, in expensive sunglasses, clutching a Louis Vuitton bag, and fidgeting with high-end gadgets.
His vile extravagance put him atop a long list of misbehaving monks making headlines in devoutly Buddhist Thailand for sex, stealing ["defeat" offenses], fist fights, smuggling drugs, selling guns, hiding pornography, and more.
In response, Thailand's military junta [its new police state apparatus] has set up a 24-hour hotline for the public to report rule-violating monks. [Monks voluntarily take on 227 disciplinary rules called the vinaya, and temporary novices observe 10 of these rules.]
But the junta is also proposing new laws to criminalize breaking any monastic Buddhist rule -- a move some fear is an over reaction that would threaten religious freedom.
101 East exclusively reveals where Thailand's infamous jet-setting monk has been hiding (San Diego, California) and meets those on a mission to save the country's morality.

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