Four monks and their abbot at a Buddhist monastery in Phetchabun, a state in north-central Thailand, tested positive for methamphetamine after they were put through a drug test.
Drug addiction in Thailand has always been a popular issue, but a current discovery at one of the Thai temples has left the netizens shocked and worried after almost most of the monks living there were detected to be meth addicts.
Incident In Detail
On November 28, 2022, four monks and an abbot failed a narcotics test at one of the temples in Phetchabun’s Bung Sam Phan district. They tested positive for methamphetamine and were immediately dismissed from their positions.
The district officer, Boonlert Thintapthai, told the AFP, “An abbot (a monk who holds the position of administrator of a monastery) and four monks at a temple in the Bung Sam Phan district of Phetchabun province tested positive for methamphetamine on Monday; the drug was stashed under the bed.”
He also added, “The temple is now empty of monks and nearby villagers are concerned they cannot do any merit-making.”
The monks were sent to rehabilitation centers right away after they all failed the drug test and turned out to be meth addicts. The details of the rehab where the monks were sent have not been disclosed.
Merit-making In Thailand
Merit-making is a vital Buddhist tradition where the holy men are provided with food by the local worshippers as a token of respect, and it is considered to be a good deed. The villagers in Thailand were worried that, with the monks gone, they would no longer be able to perform their rituals.
However, Mr. Thintapthai assured the residents that, upon a word with the regional officials, the chief of a local monastery had declared to appoint some new monks in the temple in the Bung Sam Phan district. He promised the villagers that everything had been taken care of and that there was no need to worry.
Not Just Drug Addicts But Also Dealers
Thailand is known as one of the capital countries dealing in meth, exported through Laos, directly from the Shan State in Myanmar. Pills are sold for less than 20 baht on the streets of Thailand. It was the first nation to legalize the consumption of marijuana.
In 2021, the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) reported the seizure of over one billion methamphetamine pills in the eastern and southern regions of Asia, which include the renowned golden triangle of Laos, Myanmar, and Thailand.
After being tested positive for methamphetamine, the Thai monks admitted that not only had they been consuming drugs, but they were also dealers of the drug.
The Villagers Were Frustrated With The Monks
Sungyut Namburi, head of the village, said, “As a community leader, I was frightened because I never thought the monks would be addicted to drugs.” He added, “I never thought that drugs would spread to temples.”
Sungyut also claimed that the villagers were frustrated with the monks and their behavior lately. The residents of the village were taken aback by the news about the monks at the Thai temple. Sungyut said, “It was very difficult for villagers,” He added, “They are misbehaving monks, and they should leave the monkhood if they can’t follow and practice the disciplines.”
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