The topic of prodigal monks will likely linger in the Thai media for a long while, as more evidence of monastic misbehavior keeps surfacing.
The most recent scandal of this type involved a group of monks on a trip to the US. Photos of the monks captured them in various pantheons of high materialism, such as a brand name store, a steak house, a Universal theme park, a Starbucks shop and an Apple store. Not only did the monks appear in those places, but they also seemed to be enjoying themselves, Bluetooth in ear and Frappuccino in hand.
With these monks’ materialistic behavior falling under public scrutiny, the problem is becoming one of the most pressing at the national level.
Reverent monk Phra Phaisal Visalo recently told Thairath that the monastic society needed a structural reform. He said that decentralization was key to self-governing in this social media era.
Meahwhile, Wat Suan Kaew abbot Phra Payom Kallayano noted that temples should focus more on quality than quantity. As seen recently, various temples hold mass ordination projects in the hopes of encouraging Thai men to study Dharma, but in reality wind up ordaining bevies of low-quality monks.
Phra Phaisal and Phra Payom suggested that Buddhism in Thailand has just reached the lowest point in the religion’s history.