Home » Features » How to Bust Bogus Monastics

If Buddhists do not uphold
the integrity of Buddhism,
who will?

– Stonepeace

What if you see bogus monastics on the streets of Singapore asking for money – pretending they need funds for food, building projects and such? If there is only one single thing you should do, it is to call the cops at 999, to request the police to come in plain clothes. Why? Well, I called the cops to arrest two bogus ‘monks’ standing outside Waterloo Street’s Guanyintang temple with begging bowls. But they had informers, who alerted them of the approach of obviously uniformed cops – some 100 metres away. (It was comical to see them pull up their robes and flee though.) It’s easy – just describe the location to the cops. You don’t have to stay around or watch what happens if you don’t have time. There’s no need to make any statement too.

Please note though, that in countries such as Japan, it is a custom for monastics to stand stationary, to do chanting for blessing the public, and to receive money in their bowls. But such is not the case in countries like Singapore and Malaysia at all. In the past, the bogus monks in Singapore were stationary, which made them easier to apprehend. Nowadays, mobile ‘nuns’ are more popularly used instead – which makes immediate reports to the cops even more crucial. The general direction the bogus monastics are walking to should be informed too. If one wishes to track them, one must be very careful. Tracking bogus monastics might be dangerous, though there is no recorded case of intimidation yet.

Protect the integrity of real monastics by exposing the fake. Previously, a syndicate of 30 fake monks were caught. Some were foreigners forced to be fake monks as their passports were withheld by syndicate leaders, when they were promised work earlier. Free these conned ‘workers’ by handing them over to the law! Mere scaring them away does not do much if they simply go elsewhere. Having ever scared three away, not once did I detect any remorse while they fled. The syndicates might force them to continue their ‘jobs’ despite their fear. Scaring them away might only urge them to increase their vigilance, making them harder to track. They might be abused when they turn in empty bowls too? Arresting them in any case is for their own good – especially if they are perfectly willing ongoing partners in crime. [… continues at How to identify fake monastics? Share your experiences too.]

When Dharma rituals are twisted,
the Dharma represented is twisted.

– Stonepeace

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