July for most Buddhists, marks the start of the Rain Retreat or Buddhist Lent which lasts for about 3 months. It’s a time to look inwards and putting the Buddha’s teachings into practice so the theory goes any way!
Young men can ask for three months off work, take temporary ordination, i.e. have their heads shaven and don saffron robes. During this period, the streets after dawn are filled with shiny and new saffron robes walking with their alms bowls. Quite a heartwarming sight for most Thais.
However, it’s quite difficult to tell fake monks from the real ones nowadays. Yes, you heard right, fake monks. This is quite a scam and many alcoholic and drug users choose this route to feed their habits. All they need to do is shave their hair and put on the robe! Then they can go begging. Faithful Thais will generously give to monks, especially young and needy monks.
This is the reality of modern Thailand! If there is an easy way to make quick money and get away with it then be sure that someone will take that route.
Needless to say, this harms the image and credibility of real monks! But they are fighting back. They took the matter into their own hands and formed a monk police force! Yes, there’s a monk squad. Watch them in action and tell me how you feel.
Me, I find this strange verging on bizarre and very funny. At first I thought yes something is done about this but it just doesn’t feel quite right for the monks to take the law, pun pun, into their own hands!
Still commando style monks police is something Hollywood might be interested in for their next blockbuster huh!