Sometime ago, in morning wet market in Malaysia, we could see many Theravada monks standing at the entrance of the market collecting donations. These monks can also be seen during lunch time and night at hawker centers selling Thai amulets.
Even though the activities of these monks of questionable identities had been exposed now and then in mass media; the shadows of them persisted at where the crowds are. Perhaps our local Buddhist Associations just hasn’t the power to curb these unscrupulous parties.
Just fairly recently, a friend from Europe also being disturbed by two apparently fake Chinese monks and nuns asking for donations and selling Guan Yin amulets. I didn’t know that now days, even Europe is being besieged by fake Chinese monks and nuns too! Perhaps the local Buddhist Associations too are also sleeping?
Fact about donation collection
A monk or nun should not accept money from anyone at any time especially outside of the temple. It is not a norm for a Mahayana monk to seek donation from general public more so to sell amulets. Theravada monks would only come out in the morning to ask for alms as they only eat one meal a day. Of course, they do not ask for cash from others.
What to do?
There are many things a person can do when the identity of a monk or nun is in suspicion:
· Take a photo of the person and ask for his/her ID and his/her temple.
· Ask the person to show the Permit for Donation.
· Call the police to investigate.
· Alert local Buddhist Association.
· Walk away.
· Alert the local community watch (this works faster).
As we all know that unscrupulous people would take advantage of our compassion heart to dig into our pocket. If one incident is not check, then tomorrow we shall see the number of fake monks and nuns increased by many folds just like epidemic. Perhaps by then, no one would believe in Buddhism anymore. Not a bad news for others though.