Buddhist abbots expelled from monkhood after drinking binge

By Kyle Lawrence Mullin, Asian Correspondent, Mar 23, 2015

Bangkok, Thailand -- Buddhist monks may have a reputation for being meek, mild mannered, and nothing less than well behaved. But two abbots defied that stereotype in Sikhiu district in Thailand on Sunday, after a bout of drunk driving led to a car accident and the pair’s subsequent expulsion from their monasteries.

The Bangkok Post reported that police arrived at the scene of the accident at 7am and found 60-year-old Phra Thewet Sadhammo, a monk of Wat Nong Jok, behind the wheel of a car stuck in a ditch that was being towed with a rope by another car. The second vehicle’s driver was identified as 48-year-old Phra Somchai Engchantuak of the nearby Wat Thoongpanomwang temple.

The article added that Pol Lt Col Samart Rattanawichai said both monks were so intoxicated that they could hardly stand straight, and that their blood alcohol levels were four times over the legal limit of 0.05 percent. He added that they were wearing layman’s clothing, instead of their traditional robs.

The monks admitted to meeting at a restaurant earlier that night, where they had drank until 5am before attempting to drive back to their monasteries. Phra Thewet also conceded to losing control of his vehicle.

Supachai Luangchantuak, chairman of the Mittraparb Tambon Administration Organisation, said both monks were notorious for their drinking, noting that whiskey bottles had been found at their temples, and that they had seemed inebriated at several religious ceremonies, where they flubbed the lines of their prayers. He told the Post  that”villagers were fed up with (the) behaviour” of these infamous “drinking buddies.”

This is far from the first incidence of misbehaving monks in Thailand. This past November the same newspaper reported that the abbot of Surat Thani temple ran his pickup truck off the road, and he was charged with driving while under the influence.

More recently, on March 2, ThaiVisa News reported that  an abbot at Kamphaeng Phet was defrocked for not only drinking but also attempting to rape a nun.

World Religion News ran a March 5 article entitled ‘Thai Buddhists Fed Up with Disobedient Monks’. The piece went on to describe an abbot that had been caught with 100,000 methamphetamine pills, another that had been arrested for wildlife trafficking and attempted to flee the scene while driving drunk, and a senior monk at Wat Sa Ket monastery for embezzling the temple’s funds. The article ended on a dire note: “Many devout Buddhists have become so frustrated that they have stopped considering themselves practicing Buddhists.”

We Need Your Help to Train the
Buddhist AI Chat Bot
(Neural Omniscient Robotic-Being for Buddhist Understanding)

For Malaysians who wants to donate in MYR, please use the following account:

Account Name: Bodhi Vision
Account No:. 2122 00000 44661
Bank: RHB
Note: Please indicate your name in the payment slip. Thank you.

Dear Friends in the Dharma,

We seek your generous support to help us train NORBU, the word's first Buddhist AI Chat Bot.

Here are some ways you can contribute to this noble cause:

One-time Donation or Loan: A single contribution, regardless of its size, will go a long way in helping us reach our goal and make the Buddhist LLM a beacon of wisdom for all.

How will your donation / loan be used? Download the NORBU White Paper for details.

For Malaysians who wants to donate in MYR, please use the following account:

Account Name: Bodhi Vision
Account No:. 2122 00000 44661
Bank: RHB
Note: Please indicate your purpose of payment (loan or donation) in the payment slip. Thank you.

Once payment is banked in, please send the payment slip via email to: editor@buddhistchannel.tv. Your donation/loan will be published and publicly acknowledged on the Buddhist Channel.

Spread the Word: Share this initiative with your friends, family and fellow Dharma enthusiasts. Join "Friends of Norbu" at: https://www.facebook.com/groups/norbuchatbot. Together, we can build a stronger community and create a positive impact on a global scale.

Volunteer: If you possess expertise in AI, natural language processing, Dharma knowledge in terms of Buddhist sutras in various languages or related fields, and wish to lend your skills, please contact us. Your knowledge and passion could be invaluable to our project's success.

Your support is part of a collective effort to preserve and disseminate the profound teachings of Buddhism. By contributing to the NORBU, you become a "virtual Bodhisattva" to make Buddhist wisdom more accessible to seekers worldwide.

Thank you for helping to make NORBU a wise and compassionate Buddhist Chatbot!

May you be blessed with inner peace and wisdom,

With deepest gratitude,

Kooi F. Lim
On behalf of The Buddhist Channel Team

Note: To date, we have received the following contributions for NORBU:
US$ 75 from Gary Gach (Loan)
US$ 50 from Chong Sim Keong
MYR 300 from Wilson Tee
MYR 500 from Lim Yan Pok
MYR 50 from Oon Yeoh
MYR 200 from Ooi Poh Tin
MYR 300 from Lai Swee Pin
MYR 100 from Ong Hooi Sian
MYR 1,000 from Fam Sin Nin
MYR 500 from Oh teik Bin
MYR 300 from Yeoh Ai Guat
MYR 300 from Yong Lily
MYR 50 from Bandar Utama Buddhist Society
MYR 1,000 from Chiam Swee Ann
MYR 1,000 from Lye Veei Chiew
MYR 1,000 from Por Yong Tong
MYR 80 from Lee Wai Yee
MYR 500 from Pek Chee Hen
MYR 300 from Hor Tuck Loon
MYR 1,000 from Wise Payments Malaysia Sdn Bhd
MYR 200 from Teo Yen Hua
MYR 500 from Ng Wee Keat
MYR 10,000 from Chang Quai Hung, Jackie (Loan)
MYR 10,000 from K. C. Lim & Agnes (Loan)
MYR 10,000 from Juin & Jooky Tan (Loan)
MYR 100 from Poh Boon Fong (on behalf of SXI Buddhist Students Society)
MYR 10,000 from Fam Shan-Shan (Loan)
MYR 10,000 from John Fam (Loan)
MYR 500 from Phang Cheng Kar
MYR 100 from Lee Suat Yee
MYR 500 from Teo Chwee Hoon (on behalf of Lai Siow Kee)
MYR 200 from Mak Yuen Chau

We express our deep gratitude for the support and generosity.

If you have any enquiries, please write to: editor@buddhistchannel.tv