More reports are emerging of Thai Buddhist monks involved in political protest and the problems this can cause.
Luang Pu Buddha Issara protests against Thaksin and the so-called Red Shirts:
‘The government, which is run by the Shinawatra family – the brother and sister – has no morality or ethics. They are corrupt and they allow corruption to happen. They lie everyday.’
And, in a telling statement:
‘The religious domain has a duty to tell the secular domain what to do – and what not to do’.
However, Nopparat Benjawattantnun, director-general of Office of National Buddhism, disagrees that a monk should be politically active stating that, ‘monks cannot get involved with politics’.
Sathien Wipornmaha, secretary of the Buddhist Association of Thailand goes as far to say that
‘Monks can have personal feelings but political expression is banned according to Sangha regulations,’ and that Buddha Issara is ‘destroys the image of Buddhism.’
Duncan McCargo of the University of Leeds comments:
‘Although in theory monks are apolitical, in practice when you start to really scrutinise what’s going on beneath the surface, you discover there is all kind of politics,..What is unusual here is a prominent monk who is not only playing a supporting role or a legitimising role, but who is actually in the middle of a stage…It’s an unusually overt role for a monk to play.’
The full report can be read here.
See also here.