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People's Daily Online>>China Society

Fake monks bring bad karma

By Wen Ya (Global Times)

08:54, April 12, 2012

(Photo: Global Times/CNTV)

For most people, monks are devout hermits practicing Buddhism, separate from the materialistic world outside.

That may explain why the public was so shocked when pictures were circulated online showing two men, wearing monks' robes, checking into luxury hotels with two fashionable women and drinking alcohol on the subway.

The two, who called themselves "Beijing monk brothers" on Sina Weibo, were soon arrested by the police.

"Their action seriously defames the reputation and damages the image of Buddhism," Master Pu Zheng, spokesman of the Buddhist Association of China, told the media on Monday.

In order to strengthen the oversight of monks, Buddhist groups are conducting a nationwide identification campaign for monks, Pu said.

Not an isolated case

In recent years, fake monk scandals have cropped up time and again, most of them attempts to cheat people out of their money.

On Monday, a fake monk was discovered by a local health authority when he treated four residents for various diseases in Yichang, Hubei Province. He had no medical license and his equipment was not disinfected. He later admitted to being a migrant worker, Health News reported yesterday.

In April last year, 78 fake monks were arrested for attacking police officers who stopped them after finding them swindling members of the public during a qigong performance in Jinghong, Yunnan Province, reported.

As monks are widely respected, criminals rely on this reputation for their own nefarious purposes, Master Jie Cheng, the abbot of the China Naihai Zen Temple in Henan Province, told the Global Times yesterday.

Jie revealed that some people pretended to be monks at his own temple in order to secure more invitations to the temple's opening ceremony.

"The fake monks will make others lose faith in Buddhism. People with true beliefs would not resort to such actions. In Buddhism, people doing bad deeds will bring bad karma on themselves," he said.

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