Desperate times call for desperate measures.
Men of the robe are not spared too. There are con men prowling around, taking advantage of generous people to get donations. Worst – these con men are posing as Buddhist monks — some bald headed in saffron robes, walking barefooted and soliciting for donations from the public.
Do not be fooled by these “men in robes.” They are pulling their robes over your eyes to get you to part with your money. Not only that – these con men are giving REAL Buddhist monks a bad name.
These pictures were taken in the famous Chinatown in Petaling Street, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. Look at this “monk” making monkeys of the public. Do you think this fella is a real monk?
Another fella soliciting for donations from kind hearted souls. Chinatown in Petaling Street is frequented by many foreign tourists and this “monk” is definitely a foreigner.
What do you think? Real deal or a load of crap? Here’s how you can tell!
WHAT REAL MONKS CAN AND CANNOT DO
1) Real monks are prohibited from begging for money
In fact – real monks are prohibited from even touching money, what more begging for money. Alms to Buddhist monks mean food, not money!
2) Real monks are prohibited from public places
Yes – especially from making a spectacle of themselves with all those “holy” talismans, flower garlands and other ‘holy’ objects.
3) Reals monks are supposed to only beg for food
In Malaysia, real monks don’t really go to the streets to beg for food. Being an Islamic country, this is not the norm. So, devout Buddhists instead go to the Buddhist temples to offer alms food. One more thing – monks only eat BEFORE noon (12:00 noon). Anything after that is strictly prohibited. This is according to the Theravadan Buddhist ideology. In Thailand – a Buddhist country, monks do take to the streets to beg for alms food. Not in Malaysia. And if monks do beg for alms food – it is certainly not after 12:00 noon!
HOW TO IDENTIFY THE REAL DEAL FROM THE LOAD OF BULL
When you encounter a Buddhist ‘monk’ coming up to you to solicit for ‘donations’ or alms money, you do the following:
1) Ask the monk to chant “salutation to the Buddha” followed by another Sutta
Salutation to the Buddha means:
Namo tassa Bhagavato Arahato Samma Sambudhhasa (three times)
Then, you ask the “monk” to chant another Sutta like the ‘loving kindness’ or Metta Sutta. If he cannot or mumbles incoherently – you have a fake on your hands. Politely tell him to get lost!
2) If the “monk” approaches you while you are dining, offer him food instead
See his reaction. Look at his face. If he gets angry, shoo him away. Once again – monks are supposed to only beg for alms food. Not money. And if he accepts food – it’s NOT after midday!
If you really want to give a donation, go to a real Buddhist temple instead. Don’t encourage these shams from giving Buddhism a bad name.