A Buddhist monk from Thailand killed a nine-year-old boy by beating him after the child was disruptive during a prayer session.
So much for the notion that all Buddhists are extraordinarily peaceful…
The monk, 64-year-old Suphachai Suthiyano, reportedly “flew into a rage” during a prayer gathering when the child, Wattanapol Sisawad, disrupted the ceremony by being “playful.” The monk used a bamboo stick to assault the boy several times before slamming his head into a pillar, killing him.
The child fell into a coma and passed away late Thursday, a hospital worker at Kanchanaburi provincial hospital told AFP on Friday, requesting anonymity.
The incident comes as Thailand, a majority-Buddhist country, grapples with multiple other scandals among its clergy, including cases of extortion, sex and drug use.
The suspect, who was defrocked on Sunday following his arrest, was charged earlier this week with assault.
Police Captain Amnaj Chunbult said the charge will be revised to “assault resulting in death” once he receives official confirmation.
This isn’t the only scandal involving Buddhist monks, according to AFP. Other incidents have dealt with extortion, sex, and drugs. In Myanmar (formerly known as Burma), for example, there is a long history of Buddhist violence against the Rohingya Muslims.
There’s also an ongoing effort by social media companies to tamp down hate speech in Myanmar, much of which comes from extremist Buddhist monks.
Facebook has identified and removed several hate figures and groups from the platform, including the extremist Buddhist monks Ashin Wirathu, Parmaukkha and Thuseitta, known for hate speech against Rohingya. It has also deleted pages linked to the monk-led nationalist group Ma Ba Tha — the Association for the Protection of Race and Religion.
This isn’t even the only crime committed by a Thai Buddhist monk in recent history.
Earlier this month, Thailand’s infamous “jet-set monk” — so-called after footage emerged of him carrying a Louis Vuitton bag on a private jet — was sentenced to 114 years in prison for money-laundering and fraud.
In May the abbot of the popular “Golden Mount” temple in Bangkok surrendered to police after $4 million was found in bank accounts in his name.
The case came on the heels of an ongoing investigation into whether the National Office of Buddhism had misused millions of dollars under its control.
Authorities last year floated the idea of introducing digitised ID cards to better track monks with criminal convictions.
Move over Catholic Church. You’ve got company.
As we’ve seen far too often when religious leaders hold power in a particular country, corrupt individuals representing that faith continue to break laws. In this case, the crime led to a young boy’s death.
(Thanks to Jeff for the link)