News

Poll: Thai Buddhists want monks and temples to declare assets

Should monks declare their assets?

That was the question Thailand's National Institute for Development Administration (Nida) wanted answered when they conducted an opinion poll last Thursday and Friday (Aug 28 and 29). The answer Nida received was a clear yes.

Close to 3 in 4 of the 1,254 Buddhists of various levels of education and occupation polled said monks should report their assets to the Office of National Buddhism (ONAB), said Bangkok Post.

And about 87 per cent said temples should also declare their assets to ONAB on a yearly basis to prevent corruption since the temples have become more commercialised now.

Those polled also indicated there was a lack of transparency now. About 40 per cent said there was little transparency in how temples and monks manage their assets.

The poll follows reports of monks leading lavish lifestyles. In a video posted on YouTube last year, monks were seen wearing stylish sunglasses with their luxury bags nearby.

They had also flown on a private jet. The incident prompted ONAB to warn the monks who hail from a monastery in Thailand's northeast not to repeat the lavish behaviour. And now with the military government in control, a 24-hour phone hotline has been set up for citizens to report misbehaving monks.

MONKS BEHAVING BADLY

In 2012, 300 out of nearly 61,000 Buddhist monks and novices in Thailand were either reprimanded or removed from monkhood for a variety of misconduct ranging from alcohol consumption to having sex with women, reported Huffington Post.

ONAB had previously blamed followers for giving the monks expensive gifts including sports cars.

Sources: Bangkok Post and Huffington Post

monksassets