Features include interactive map, in-depth stories, and more.Download now. »
The week's top five must-sees,
delivered to your inbox.
LinkAsia | May 30
A secretly filmed video leaked last week showed South Korean Buddhist monks from the Jogye Order gambling with stakes that reached USD$900,000. Bro...
Here's our contributor Yoo Eun Lee on the South Korean reaction to the scandal.
Yoo Eun Lee:
The leaked video shows eight monks from the Jogye Order playing poker, smoking, and drinking in a hotel room. One monk lays down as the gambling continues for 13 straight hours through the night. It is believed the stakes amazingly reached around USD$900,000.
The initial public reactions were pure shock and disappointment. One Twitter user wrote:
"My mom was shocked and devastated by the news of Jogye monks gambling with stakes of several tens of millions of Korean won."
This Twitter user rebuked rich monks from the order, which has 10 million followers, for abusing the donations. In a paraphrase of his comments, the user charges that lay people donate their hard-earned money, "blood money" he calls it, to temples. But the monks misuse the donations to seek thrills, not spiritual truth.
The case took another turn after a monk, Ja-seung, admitted he had intentionally leaked the video to remove the Jogye leadership. He charged they are left-leaning monks.
Such political motives further fueled public anger at the Buddhist community. This tweet has been reposted by many:
"It is such a disappointment that the revelations of gambling were not aimed at reforming the Jogye Order, but were motivated for political reasons."
One user added:
"It's beyond disappointment, I am enraged."
While heated debates formed around the monks' politics, one Buddhist follower expressed fatigue over the scandal, which has continued for several weeks now:
"Whether we remove the Jogye leadership, or even the Jogye Order itself, I really don't feel like praying these days."
Numerous ugly scandals have broken out recently among both Christians and Buddhists, the two major faiths in South Korea. Many blame big donations from the faithful and the politicization of religion for the corruption.
I'm Yoo Eun Lee for LinkAsia.
The Jogye Order takes in an estimated USD$19 million in revenue every year.