The Monk brigade
Date created : Latest update :
In this week's edition, 'Caring' takes you on patrol with a Thai "monk brigade", whose mission is to find and police impostors who cheat people for their donations. It's a lucrative business carried out by bogus Buddhists and former monks.
This week 'Caring' brings you to Thailand on patrol with the “Monk police”: a team of FBI-esque Buddhist-value enforcers, trawling the streets of Bangkok on the look-out for impostors.
They hunt for the wayward clerics who use the traditional saffron robes worn by monks to camouflage their fall from grace. They are seen as "fake monks," who abuse the rules that define their status in a fiercely-traditional society.
The official role of Buddhist monks is to spread the teachings of Dharma, to pray and to bless. They rely on charity and gifts, in exchange for mindfulness and wisdom.
But, as you will see in this report, some disguise themselves and indulge in what are seen as sinful activities, like drinking alcohol and begging for money.
Some are simply bogus Buddhists; once caught they are literally tried and exposed before a jury of clerics. But others are former members of the faith who have lost their way and, as a result, risk being ostracised by society.
Our special correspondents Cyril Payen and Soloman Kane joined the hunt for the "bad" monks.