‘Only fake monks would ask people for money’

BUKIT MERTAJAM: Five bogus monks, including two women, who were asking for donations from the public with their alms bowls have been detained by the police.

They were taken to the Thailand Consulate-General’s office, where it was found that their passports showed that they were ordinary Thai laymen.

An actual Thai Buddhist monk’s passport will clearly state their monastic status.

Seberang Prai Tengah OCPD ACP Tan Cheng Shan said action would be taken against the five Thai citizens.

There were so many cases of clean-shaven men wrapped in the robes of monks in the Theravada tradition walking around soliciting money from the public.

As a result, state non-Islamic religious affairs committee chairman Chong Eng sent out an alert on Saturday that monks of the Buddhist Theravada tradition, in accordance to their strict monastic rules, could only accept their four requisites as alms – food, medicine, robes and shelter.

They cannot accept money as alms.

Money given for the upkeep of temples can only be received by temple trustees or management committee members, who are laymen.

Chong said if Theravada Buddhist monks asked for money, then they were not real monks.

She added that real Theravada Buddhist monks adhered to strict monastic regulations, one of which clearly stated that they must not accept money.

“If they take money, that means they violated one of their 227 precepts,” she said after launching an awareness campaign on the practice of Buddhist alms giving in Taman Seri Rambai market on Saturday.

Chong said Buddhist monks who observed the Theravada tradition abstained from all forms of livelihood and depended only on public alms for their most basic necessities.

As stipulated by Buddha via monastic discipline scriptures, the basic necessities exclude money, expressed as “gold and silver” in the scriptures dating back to around 2,500 years ago.

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