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Fake monks repent, find faith, improve karma

By Liu Meng (Global Times)

08:16, June 08, 2012

(Photo: Global Times/CNTV)

Two fake monks who were accused of bringing Buddhism into disrepute have publicly apologized for their behavior, and have declared they have converted to Buddhism as lay disciples of a well-known monk.

The pair, Zhao Wenbo and Ren Chuankun, were detained on April 10 for disturbing the peace, and were released one month ago.

Dressed in monks' robes, they were pictured traveling around Beijing from April 1-3, carrying Louis Vuitton handbags, checking into luxury hotels with trendy young ladies, and drinking alcohol on the subway.

They were finally caught on April 7 in the toilets at Fayuan Temple, Xicheng district, by monks who recognized them from the pictures.

"We apologize to the Buddhist Association of China, to Buddhists and the public," said Zhao, adding that it is not easy to give a public apology for fear that the public would treat it as hype, the Beijing Times reported.

Zhao's explanation for their exploits is convoluted. He alleged that Zhang Hai, a prominent Buddhist, had reneged on a deal to release a CD for Zhao, for which Zhang charged him 100,000 yuan ($15,720).

Zhao convinced Ren that pretending to be bad monks would let people know not all Buddhists are as pious as they seem to be, he said.

The Master who accepted the two as disciples said he believes the pair are kindhearted, and he wants to give them a do-over in life.

Master Yuan Shan from the Australian Chinese Buddhist Society, said that it is good thing that Zhao and Ren showed repentance.

"The incident reflects the urgency of improving religious regulation," he said, noting others have pretended to be monks to defraud the public.

"For example, we should forbid ordinary people to wear monk's robes," the master said.


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