Old Monk is a common booze in India. Tastes like gasoline. Dirty old monks are sadly too common in Sri Lanka today.
One of my friends casually mentioned that his first sexual encounter was with a village monk, behind a Buddha statue. I was like WTF? And he was like, ‘well, I was young and he gave me money for movie tickets’. That didn’t really answer my question, but it makes its own sick sense. Buddhist monks do have power and, paradoxically, money and with that comes sex, almost guaranteed.
I’ve talked about sex and power before, regarding office kukulas, but with monks it’s even worse.
In Sri Lanka we don’t talk about it, but I think we have Catholic style abuse within our own supposedly celibate clergy. Another friend mentioned that a young monk had hung himself in Kandy, over sexual abuse.
None of this is to say that Buddhist monks are bad, on the contrary, Sri Lanka (somewhere in there) preserves a simple and quite practical form of Buddhism. For all the material monks, there are quite a few that you don’t see, meditating. There are also a lot of lay people that practice meditation, who I also consider a part of the Sangha.
I know monks that meditate and follow what the Buddha taught and the fact that they are supported and preserved by this country and tradition is a blessing to all. It’s also a blessing to therapy and science, as this simple type of vippassana meditation (among others) is shown to have real therapeutic and neurological benefits.
Around that core of what the Buddha taught, however, there has a religious institution. Like any institution, this requires institutional safeguards, which Sri Lanka does not really have. However, the media is getting in on the act.
Relevant parts start around 2:50
Neth FM did a sting on one pervy priest and caught him grossly soliciting a girl who was looking for a job. In response, people from the community called in, saying that this guy had a DSK style record. As the radio says, to preserve the dignity of the priesthood these criminals need to be weeded out.
Anyways, my Sinhala is crap, but even I can follow this monk’s transparent passes. The girl has transcribed a basic summary as per below:
So basically, a young woman calls this monk A. Sobitha Thero from Ruwanwella, also know as the Vedahamuduruvo (traditionally a monk with knowledge in ayuruveda, the banishing of spirits etc). Says she really wants to go abroad, Australia would be great, will he help?
The great monk says yes of course, but why not work with me? I travel abroad all the time, need a secretary and the help. The girl hems and haws and says she’s really set on going abroad. He asks her if she’s good looking. The girl stutters and says she maybe she is. The Buddhist monk tells her that life should be fun at this age, says he has an bungalow, vehicles and gem business, says she could have a good time, fun. What kind of fun, asks the girl, I don’t understand. Fun means not to have children, sex you know – there are girls as young as 14 and 15 having fun here, he says.
It seems that this is not a solitary incident. Residents of the Ruwanwella area also called in and complained about the priest and his activities. Neth Fm broke this story on radio and also uploaded a number of videos to Youtube, calling on the fraternity of Buddhist priests to protect their establishment by getting rid of ‘rogues’ such as these.
It’s good that we’re talking about this, but I fear that the dam of damage has yet to break.