After a succession of scandals, people are openly talking about a crisis of Buddhism in Thailand. Numbers of ordained monks have been falling steeply in recent years, and many smaller village temples are unable to support themselves financially.
The body which is supposed to govern the Buddhist clergy is the Supreme Sangha Council, but this comprises a group of very elderly monks, and until this year had not had a properly functioning Supreme Patriarch for more than a decade. It has proved ineffective.
The government has now introduced a law requiring temples, which collectively accumulate $3-4bn (£2-3bn) in donations every year, to publicise their financial records. It is also talking about introducing a new, digital ID card for monks to ensure those tainted by malpractice cannot be ordained again.
Wirapol fled to the US. It took four years for the Thai authorities to secure his extradition
Saturday, July 22, 2017
"A subsequent investigation by the Thai Department of Special Investigations uncovered a lifestyle of what appeared to be mind-blowing decadence"