A Buddhist temple in central Thailand is now without monks after all of its monks were were expelled from the monkhood for failing drug tests.
According to media reports, monks from a Buddhist temple in central Thailand’s Bung Sam Phan district were defrocked as a result of drug use.
All four monks tested positive for methamphetamine. Following the defrocking of the monks, the temple is empty. District official Boonlert Thintapthai said the monks were subsequently sent to a health clinic to undergo drug rehabilitation.
“The monks were reportedly removed from the temple after police administered urine tests on Monday, which saw all four men fail. Officials did not say what had brought the temple to the attention of police”, according to BBC.
Mr Thintapthai told AFP that the “temple is now empty of monks and nearby villagers are concerned they cannot do any merit-making”.
“The temple is now empty of monks and nearby villagers are concerned they cannot do any merit-making,” he said.
In merit-making worshippers donate food to monks as a good deed. To vercome this crisis, more monks will be sent to the temple to allow villagers to practise their religious obligations, Boonlert said.
Merit is a concept considered fundamental to Buddhist ethics. It is a beneficial and protective force which accumulates as a result of good deeds, acts, or thoughts.
According to Bangkok Post, this incident caused consternation in the local comunity, which relies on the monks for religious functions. They also pointed out that some people had to be there to take care of the temple’s property, and about about 10 dogs and cats that also live there.
The raid was part of the province’s ongoing campaign against drugs.
Thailand has become a major transit country for methamphetamine that is smuggled from Myanmar’s troubled Shan state via Laos, according to the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime.
On the street, pills sell for less than 20 baht (around S$0.78 Singapore Dollar).
Authorities across Southeast Asia have made record meth seizures in recent years. Last month, Thai Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha launched a campaign against drugs after a former police officer, dismissed from the force for methamphetamine possession, killed 37 people during a shooting at a nursery.
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