We all misbehave at times, but we think of monks as being above all that, since they are supposedly more ascetic than the ordinary man. However, secret video footage shows monks from a Buddhist temple in South Korea drinking, smoking and playing high-stakes poker at luxury lakeside hotel, where they had gathered for a fellow monk’s memorial service, days before the holiest day of the religion’s calendar.
The order has 10 million followers (about a fifth of the Korean population). Seongho, one of the senior monks, got the video clip from a camera that had been hidden in the hotel (but he won’t say who hid it).
One of the monks gambled for 13 hours and won more than half a million dollars.
In the Guardian, Justin McCurry quotes Chung Yoon-sun, the secretary general of the Buddhist Solidarity for Reform, as saying that the scandal highlighted the need to monitor how Buddhist orders spend their large, and untaxed, donations from the public.