Thailand's Buddhism body said it is monitoring monks nationwide for any inappropriate behavior after a video showed some of them using luxurious personal items while flying on a private jet.
The YouTube video showed one of the monks wearing stylish aviator sunglasses, carrying a luxury brand travel bag and sporting a pair of modern-looking wireless headphones. It attracted criticism from Buddhists nationwide.
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Nopparat Benjawatananun, director-general of the Office of National Buddhism, said on Monday that the agency saw the video early this year and had warned the monks from a monastery in Thailand's northeast not to repeat the lavish behavior.
A country with the world's largest Buddhist population, Thailand has attempted to help Buddha's 2,600-year-old doctrine stand the test of time through a variety of means, including banning the sale of alcohol on religious holidays. The efforts, however, are sometimes tainted by the Buddhist monks themselves.
Last year, about 300 out of 61,416 Buddhist monks and novices in Thailand were reprimanded – and several were removed from the monkhood – because of misconduct ranging from alcohol consumption to having sex with women to extortion. The office also received complaints about monks driving cars, and scams and false claims of black magic.
Mr Nopparat said the Buddhist monks in the video were acting "inappropriately, not composed and not adhering to Buddha's teachings of simplicity and self-restraint''.