Video’s, photos, and stories of Buddhist monks behaving badly in Thailand are nothing new. Reports of everything from drug-fuelled parties to sex with underage boys and girls are so routine that it barely raises an eyebrow among expats, while the majority of Thais try to pretend that there is nothing amiss with Buddhism in the ‘land of smiles’.
However, the brutality depicted in the video above is even causing many Thais to raise an eyebrow, the Vinaya Pitaka — canonical texts — making no mention of a kick in the head being part of the Lord Buddha’s teachings.
Viewed more than 1.9 million times since it was posted on the @SamNakKaoJaRoenPuangV3 Facebook page on November 6, and subsequently published in the Thai-language daily newspaper Thai Rath, the video is said to be a CCTV recording from inside of a temple in Pak Kret District in northeastern Nonthaburi Province during the recent Loy Krathong festival.
Despite the Vinya Pitaka forbidding monks from handling money, a monk sits on the floor in front of a large Buddha statue counting cash. Other monks sit close by, appearing to sort what could be money from a large bowl.
A monk, much larger than the others, gets up and walks out of camera view, only to return a short time later. Words appear to be spoken, before he attempts to grab the head of the monk sitting alone and counting the money.
The sitting monk recoils, a few more words appear to be spoken, before the standing monk suddenly and without warning kicks the sitting monk in the head. The monk is sent sprawling, hitting his head against a brass incense holder and appearing to lose consciousness briefly.
As the larger monk appears to continue ranting, another monk runs into camera view, first checking on the condition of the kicked monk, before appearing to stand between him and his attacker and attempting to deescalate the situation. The still ranting and raving ‘kicking monk’ then walks out of camera view.
According to Thai Rath the ‘kicking monk” is the temples assistant Abbot, who gambles on the underground lottery, and cock-fighting. In the past, it reports, monks assaulted by him have had to seek medical treatment. No mention was made of any action intended to be taken against the temple’s assistant Abbot.
Feature video @SamNakKaoJaRoenPuangV3