SIX BUDDHIST MONKS have resigned from their religious order after secretly filmed video showed them gambling illegally as well as smoking and drinking.
The six leaders of the Jogye order tendered their resignations as the head of the order, who goes only by the name Jaseung, issued a public apology, promising “self-repentance”, according to Reuters.
The grainy footage emerged and the scandal erupted just days before Koreans observe a national holiday to celebrate the birth of Buddha. It’s considered the holiest day of the religion’s calendar. There are some 12 million Buddhists in the country.
The Guardian reports that South Korean TV aired the shots of the monks apparently playing poker, smoking and drinking after they had gathered at a luxury lakeside hotel in April for one of their fellow monk’s memorial service.
A senior monk told Reuters that the stakes were high with hundreds of thousands of euro changing hands and the game going on for some 13 hours.
Gambling is illegal outside licensed casinos and is generally frowned upon. In any case all gambling is a violation of the monks’ code of conduct, BBC News says.
The Jogye order has reportedly been hit with feuds and infighting with the footage supposedly shot by a monk from the same order who opposes the current leadership.