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Sangha must face up to sorry state of clergy – Scandals in Buddhism


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We have barely recovered from shock over the story of wayward billionaire monk Luang Pu Nen Kham Chattiko as the media digs deeper into details of his wealth and alleged crimes.

It would not be a mistake to say that it was by chance that our society found out about the wealth of Nen Kham, aka Phra Wirapol Sukphol, from Ubon Ratchathani, who ran his religious business in the northeastern province of Si Sa Ket.

As layers and layers of scandal and crime are unfolded while the runaway monk is reported to have left France for the US where he has a huge mansion, we have come to realise that one major actor is missing from the picture. Yes, it’s the Sangha Supreme Council _ the ruling body of monks.

We have not heard a word _ let alone seen a move _ from this top body of the clergy on the shameful Nen Kham since day one after the scandal was exposed by the media.

However, one may argue that the council does not see the necessity to make any move at all as the National Office of Buddhism, which serves as the council’s secretariat, has joined the investigation with the Department of Special Investigation.

Perhaps the 22-strong council may think its regional office has already pursued the case.

Is that enough? I don’t think so.

The Nen Kham scandal is a disgrace not only to the billionaire monk but sangha society as a whole. This disgraceful case reflects flaws in Thai Buddhism and also the weakness of the Sangha Supreme Council as a ruling body that fails to maintain itself as a knowledge-based institute and is gradually suffering a decline.

If the council has attempted to turn things around, we are not yet convinced.

Otherwise, commercialisation of Buddhism, the root of all evil, would not be so rampant.

Undeniably, one of the flaws is the screening (or lack of it) in the ordination process. It’s an open secret that the system is too antiquated to select quality people _ scholars or those who really want…

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via Sangha must face up to sorry state of clergy | Bangkok Post: opinion.

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