Saturday, August 17, 2013

Holy Monkster

Asceticism? No, krap!

Holy men sometimes do the most unholy things. Bad examples abound: there is the money-grubbing American televangelist, the pedophilic Catholic priest and the intolerant war-mongering Muslim cleric. Thailand’s version is Luang Pu Neckham, a buddhist monk who has scammed poor and rich donors alike to amass a small fortune and lead a decidedly un-ascetic life. Private jets, Louis Vuitton leather goods, gold-tinted sunglasses, eighty three automobiles and ownership of multiple properties are part of the trappings that have been associated with this holy man, who claims to be the reincarnation of a respected monk from decades earlier. Even more sadly, the muck has not just been limited to a distasteful penchant for materialism. He has been accused of raping a minor. To escape prosecution from Thai authorities, he has run off to foreign lands, most probably the US. As one might expect, at least US$10 million in various bank accounts under the monk’s name has gone missing.
If he retains any belief in the concept of Buddhist reincarnation, he should pray to be reborn as a dog. It would certainly be an improvement over his standing in this life.

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