The Scam…

During my 700km walk up north of Thailand. I came across a place called  Yu-Wa in northern province of Chiang Mai. There I discovered a temple that went by the name of Wat U-Meng. As I passed the temple’s gate, a man approached me and begged me to become the abbot of the temple. I was surprised at his request, because after the several questions I fired at him returned with suspicious replies.

PM: How many monks live here?
Man: None sir.

PM: What happened to the old abbot of this place?
Man: He got drunk and was thrown out.
PM: Oh really? How long ago was that?
Man: Three years now sir.
PM: So this place has been without an abbot for three years?
Man: Yes sir.

PM: How many novices?
Man: Three sir…
PM: Where are they from?
Man: They’re all sons of the temple’s committee.

PM: I see new pagoda and ordination hall being constructed. Who is funding all the constructions?
Man: The committee sir.

PM: How many people in the committee?
Man: It’s the town’s mayor, his second in charge and four other people sir.

 

A town’s meeting was immediately called and before i knew it, the committee members flooded temple’s ground. Luckily for me, the data in my monk Suthi document (Thai monk papers which proofs official ordination) was so incorrectly entered by the secretary of my temple in Bangkok. My date of birth for example indicated that I was 54yrs of age! The committee had a hard time verifying my identity, they needed to make several calls, fearing in the back of their minds that I was Mr. fake monk extraordinaire. Thus I had the time to explore the place thoroughly.

On several occasions whilst inspecting the place, the town’s mayor took a stroll beside me and he kept saying “Sir, tomorrow there will be a lot of people coming, you must appear very holy and respectable. Can you do that?”

It turned out as i expected… these head villagers initially purchased the property years ago, and dressed it up to appear like a temple, invited ONE monk who they estimate will please the visiting crowds and reaped the benefits of people’s donation. These types of scam have been going on since religions began. And you can guess it… I shifted into my highest gear and got the hell out of there faster than grease lightning.

Like to any other spiritual organizations in the world, there are ‘religious’ sectors of Buddhism,  the ‘business’ sectors, the ‘teaching’ sectors, etc… all of which nested under the vast multitude of umbrella the Buddha provided to assist all capacities of people and their points of view. All of which come well equipped with parasites who make their living via methods of lies and scams. In Australia this type of scam isn’t news either. The reason I recognized their game early was because i had seen it once before in a Sydney temple.

Isn’t it great though, that Buddhism eventually takes practitioners to a place far beyond religion.

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