Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Outrageous monks in Shenzhen

The Dhammapada says:

"Many who wear the yellow robe,
who are unrestrained in evil things,
these evil ones by their evil deeds,
in hell do they arise.
Better to eat a ball of iron,
glowing as flame of fire;
than to eat the people’s alms,
immoral and unrestrained."

Last week there was a report in one of the HK paparazzi magazines on a bunch of errant monks' misbehaving in neighbouring Shenzhen. Apparently this group of monks come from the Mainland, from Jiangsu province to "work" in HK. They were staying at Xi Fang monastery while they were there. A pious lay devotee, Mr Yang, CEO of Xun Ri Corporation had invited monks from the monastery to perform Sutra chanting sessions at his HQ office on a regular basis to bless his business. However, the monastery had very few resident monks. This group of mainland monks, being "professional chanters", volunteered themselves for the task with the approval of the Abbot, who did not suspect anything at first. Above we see the group reporting to Mr Yang's office for "work" in the morning. Mr Yang pays each monk a handsome fee of 1,000 HKD for their services daily. The leader of the pack, Ven Changsheng, who brought the group to HK from Suzhou district to earn money. In the day, he and his pack are in neat yellow Sangha robes, looking solemn and dignified. But once the night sets, these guys change into their savvy civilian outfits before crossing over to Shenzhen for some "rest and recreation". The wayward activities of these monks were first noticed by Mr Yang's employees when they went over to Shenzhen for food during the weekends.
The pack shopping for luxury watches at Shatin Mall after work.
The employees spotted these monks wearing civilian attire gorging on meat and alcohol with their female companions in one of the restaurants. One of them tipped off the HK paparazzi and immediately reporters were sent to tail the monks. Above we see Ven Facheng (2nd from left) with his young "girlfriend" having a hearty feast. They were accompanied by 2 other monks.
Another monk, Ven Miaolian, was photographed bargaining with a lady pimp for the sex services of her girls. The reporter also found out that they were regulars there and the pimps had no idea they were "real monks".
On the way up to the love motel, Ven Miaolian also eagerly checks out another attractive lass in the lobby, scanning her from head to toe. Unfortunately, the practice of Kayanussati is hardly on the mind of this monk.
Inside the whorehouse, Ven Miaolian lit a cigarette while the lady pimp parades her girls before him for selection. This monk is said to prefer the fleshy types, and at times threesomes. Woe betide him.. Now, just before you dismiss these guys as fake monks, think again. They are real monks with ordination booklets and proper training in chanting. When the reporter went back to HK and reveal this scandal to the Abbot, Ven Kuanyun, he was outraged. He said it was unfortunate that there are black sheep in the monastery, but it was also inevitable because many monks from different places come and go in this place. Ven Kuanyun promised to kick these monks out, but whether they would be expelled from the Order or not would depend on the Mainland Sangha. It was always difficult to control who gets ordained and where as China is such a vast country. As one insider pointed out, among the countless monasteries in China, many are those who ordain for a living rather than cultivating the Dharma. If they work as an ordinary worker, at most they could earn 1,000 plus RMB per month. But as professional chanting monks, they could earn up to 10 - 20,000 RMB per month! This is due to the increasing demand for religious services among the urban Chinese populace, not just in HK, but also on the Mainland. Herein lies the crux of the problem - the commercialization of Buddhism. Many more fools like Ven Changsheng and gang will grow, attracted by the rich rewards that being a chanting monk offer. They can then spend that money enjoying food, alcohol, smoke and women. But these fools have no idea that the price to pay for those fleeting sensual pleasures is immensely severe indeed. Engaging in those vices as members of the Sangha is a terrible karma that they cannot begin to imagine. Unspeakable torment awaits them in the hells after the dissolution of their human bodies. They are going to stay in there for a very very long time. I believe the practice of paying money to monks to chant Sutras should be abolished altogether. Monks who provide such services should be provided with only food, nothing more. This will turn off those who ordain just to make a living. Surely if the Mainland Chinese Sangha does not take some steps to enforce the Vinaya and cut down commercialization, the hells are going to become very crowded places soon.


Anonymous said...

Hi wayne, it is sad indeed there are errant sangha members who do evil deeds. The meaning of going forth is not there.

Instead of reducing their desires for money, sex, fame, food and sleep, these people actually stains the pure image of the sangha, which is a very severe kamma deed. It is very bad karma for them.

Although now they are still humans, but their names are already registered in hell.

No reason is enough to forgive them, for example they are very poor in china. No matter how poor, they should realise their poverty is the result of not being generous in their previous lives, and they should cultivate generosity in these lives so they could be rich in the future.

It is good that you got these articles so that we can all learn a lesson that we should not just judge a person by his behavior but by his actions.

If a layperson cannot observe the 5precepts, then he should not be a monk in the first place.

The life of a monk is not easy, as opposed to what many think. One wakes up early before dawn, and try to purify one's mind by meditation and chanting.

When one goes forth to be a monk, he should be ready to give up the sensual desires. It is not by just shaving their head that one becomes a true monk.

A true monk will practise the dhamma and teach laypeople to do good.

Jia Hao said...

These are the people who tarnish the name of buddhism

Anonymous said...

Karma will catch up on them real soon.

Wayne said...

Some people say we should not talk about the bad behaviour of Sangha members, cos it will make people lose faith in Buddhism. That's only one side of the coin. To the wise, good & bad both have their purpose. Good examples are there for us to follow & look up to; whereas bad examples serve as a warning for us to be careful. If we only talk abt the good & keep sweeping the bad under the carpet, how can we gain any real wisdom?

Anonymous said...

very disappointing indeed.They are disgrace and give bad name to sangha community.


Anonymous said...

Sad but didn't that being revealed in one of the Buddhist stories on the 16 dreams of one king.

Extract from 10-12 dreams (sorry a bit long):-

Your reverence, I dreamed I saw rice cooking unevenly in a pot. Some was overcooked, some well-cooked. and some still raw."

"Don't worry about this either," said the holy man. "This dream foretells a time when all will be unwholesome, not like today! Kings will be unwholesome, and so will officials and ministers, priests and homemakers, city and country folks. Amazing as it may seem, this dream indicates a time when holy men will be unwholesome too! In addition. even the gods, tree spirits and fairies will be unwholesome and wicked!

"The winds will change quickly, sometimes blowing too hard and sometimes not at all. These winds will shake the heavenly homes of the sky gods. Therefore, in some places rains will cause floods, it will rain just right in some areas, and there will be terrible droughts in other places. It will be like rice in the cooking pot - some overcooked, some well-cooked, and some raw.

"Now tell me your 11th dream, oh king."

"Your reverence, I dreamed I saw the finest sandalwood, worth 100,000 pieces of money, being traded for spoiled buttermilk. What is the meaning of this?"

"This too indicates a far-off future time, when knowledge of Truth is disappearing. There will be many greedy shameless preachers who distort the Four Necessities: food, clothing, shelter and medicine. They will make these into luxuries, far richer than they really need.

"They will teach the worthlessness of luxuries and the unwholesomeness of greed, by preaching the Truth of nonattachment. But in return for preaching, they will require money and luxuries. So they will cause an increase in craving, rather than showing the way towards Liberation from craving. They will preach Truth only so they can obtain worthless things - just like priceless sandalwood traded for spoiled buttermilk.

"Now let me hear your 12th dream."

"Your reverence, I saw, in a dream, empty pumpkins sinking to the bottom of the water."

"Oh king, this foretells a distant future when the world will be upside down. So once again, you have nothing to fear in this life. Unwholesome kings will grant high positions to the low class rather than the high class. The low class will quickly become rich and the high class poor. In all departments and functions, the ignorant words of the uneducated low class officials will be greatly respected - just like empty pumpkins sinking to the depths of the water.

"Even among the religious, humble wholesome monks will lose respect, while the unwholesome teachings of shameless monks will be followed and adored -just like empty pumpkins sinking to the bottom.

loh said...

I am very agreeable on what you say about "MONEY MONK", and i don't really respect them, even if they are a real Monk; But I have a experience before in Kedah, Malaysia, where a monk in a small temple, the 1st time i went there I give a "ang pow", the monk have no reaction...the 2nd time i go ,instate of giving "ang pow" i use the money to buy rice and oil, and while i am about to leave after praying the monk automatic came over to me and give me a good blessing and thank me while other people is waiting for him to bless with a "ang pow" packet holding in their hand. This is the type of "Real Monk" which i will respect.

Anonymous said...

I usually tell my people that 100 out of 100 people who get a chance would like to succumb to such things.
In india we have a saying: "Sadhanheen hi Sadhu hai".
It means that only those who dont have the means ( physical, financial etc.) become saints.
I have found this always to be correct.
If a 75 yo man can drool over an 18 yo girl, what so great about these monks going to whores. It is normal human behaviour. These monks try to go against the laws of nature which is not possible.

Wayne said...

Lust and craving are indeed deap-seated defilements in the human mind, but that does not mean that is is "normal" to indulge them in such heedless ways. Even lay people who are slaves to their lust end up destroying themselves; what more for monastics, who have taken a vow to restrain their senses and purify their own minds? Their fall into hell will be very swift indeed. Therefore if one cannot keep the precepts, it is better not to ordain.