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Video: Buddhist Monks Behaving Badly

Six leaders of Korea's biggest Buddhist order are caught on tape drinking, smoking and gambling.

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75th Patriach of the Jogye Order, Kyong Ho
Seong-Wu, is mightily displeased. Photo via

By Bryan Le

05/11/12

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Drinking, smoking and high-stakes gambling at a luxury hotel might like a birthday in Vegas to most, but for six Buddhist monks it was a fellow monk's memorial service. The monks were no small-time disciples straying from the path either—these hard partying holy men were leaders in the Jogye order, the biggest Buddhist order in Korea, and someone managed to secretly catch them on tape indulging their vices in a lakeside hotel room. In the video, the bald-headed bingers are seen robes off, cards down and passing a bottle of booze around, and many Koreans are angry. “The stakes for 13 hours of gambling were more than 1 billion won ($875,300 USD),” says Seongho, a senior monk in the order. “Basically, Buddhist rules say don't steal. Look at what they did, they abused money from Buddhists for gambling.” Not only is gambling against Buddhist bylaws for monks, it's also illegal to do it outside a licensed casino. Worst of all, the news broke just days before Buddha's birthday, Buddhism's most sacred day.

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