The High Life
Jet-Setting Video of Thai Buddhist Monks Causes Scandal
A Youtube video of some jet-setting Buddhist monks has Thailand scrambling to crack down on materialism in the monastic ranks.
Following the release of a YouTube video of a group of jet-setting Buddhist monks living it up on a private jet, Thailand's national Buddhism body is now investigating monks across the globe for similarly inappropriate behavior. The monks featured in the video, outfitted with Louis Vuitton luggage and clad in trendy aviators and headphones, look like they're straight out of a P. Diddy music video rather than an ascetic monastery.
Reportedly based out of the Khantitham Temple in Sisaket province of Thailand, the monks’ video has caused a frenzy, with criticism that the holy men are neither complying with nor respecting the Buddha's 2,600-year-old teachings, which emphasize that "the true core of those who preach Buddha's teachings is not to own any objects at all."
The Office of National Buddhism director-general Nopparat Benjawatananun said the extravagant eremites were acting "inappropriately, not composed and not adhering to Buddha's teachings of simplicity and self-restraint. When Lord Buddha was alive, there wasn't anything like this. There were no cars, smartphones or cameras, so the rules were much simpler."
So while the monks may not have been dancing on tables or popping bottles of Cristal, the private jet and designer totes are apparently violations enough of their sacred vows.
Thailand, home to the world's largest Buddhist population, has experienced similar monk scandals in the past. In 2012, 300 out of 61,416 Buddhist monks and novices in Thailand were admonished for their misconduct—ranging from alcohol consumption to engaging in sexual activities.