A recent spate of incidents involving people posing as monks and nuns to ask for alms has raised concerns over their authenticity. Here’s how you can spot them.
According to a report in The Straits Times, the Singapore Buddhist Federation issued a public advisory to raise awareness after receiving about five complaints from the public over the past two weeks.
The imposters tend to come from Sri Lanka, Thailand and China and illegally solicit between $50 and $100 from unsuspecting people here, especially tourists. According to the report, they can make up to $1,000 a day.
Here’s a checklist to help you tell imposters from the real deal, as compiled by The New Paper:
1. Appearance : Thai monks shave their eyebrows. Nuns do not put on headwear.
2. No sale: Monks and nuns will not sell items such as images of Buddha, prayer beads or relics.
3. No money: They will never beg for money in public.
4. Time limit: Alms bowls are only for collecting food and medicine, and monks can do these only till 11am.
5. Local: All monks based in Singapore do not go around with alms bowls asking for food and medicine.
6. Foreign: Monks visiting Singapore from countries such as Thailand, Myanmar and Sri Lanka do sometimes go around asking for food and medicine.
Fake Monk From Thailand On Private Jet
Buddhist monks are supposed to stay celibate. However the 34-year-old abbot of the Khantitham Forest Monastery is apparently married to a woman named Yupinpraethong Janthawa, and has allegedly had relationships with seven other women, according to Thailand’s Department of Special Investigations (DSI).
On Friday, the abbot was accused of being a fake monk and of committing fraud by wearing monk’s robes he is not entitled to. Posing and dressing as a monk is a criminal offence in Thailand.
The complaint was filed at Bangkok’s Criminal Court by Luang Pu Buddha Isara, the abbot of another monastery.
The cleric is now the subject of a joint investigation by the DSI and the Office of National Buddhism, which oversees Thailand’s 200,000 monks