A scandalous video is making the round in South Korean media, apparently showing eight monks from the country’s largest Buddhist sect gambling, drinking and smoking in a luxury hotel room days before Buddha’s birth anniversary.
The video has caused an uproar in the country, where Buddhism is the majority religion, and gambling outside of licensed casinos and horse racing tracks is illegal and frowned upon by religious leaders. The Jogye Order has 10 million followers, about a fifth of the population.
The video was revealed to authorities by Seongho, a senior monk from the same sect: the Jogye Order. “The stakes for 13 hours of gambling were more than one billion won ($875,300),” he told Reuters in an interview on Friday.
Seongho, who filed a complaint with the Seoul Central Prosecutors’ Office, claims to have found the video file on a flash drive at an undisclosed temple, according to The Korea Herald. He refused to divulge who had left it there, and said the video was taken with a hidden camera.
Insiders claimed that opponents of Jaseung secretly recorded the incident and released the video to topple the current leadership, though the Most Ven. Jaseung has publically apologized and announced a “self-repentance regime”: bowing 108 times every morning for 100 days.
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