Buddhists in Thailand are arching their eyebrows after a local monk claimed a six-figure lottery jackpot.
On Friday, local media reported that Phra Prawit Techapalo, a 41-year-old monk at a temple just outside Bangkok, had claimed a THB 6m (US $173k) lottery prize. Phra Prawit claimed the lucky numbers were revealed to him while pondering the texture of a (money?) tree on the monastery grounds.
Phra Prawit said he’d been playing the lottery for years, buying several tickets per month, and that he planned to use his windfall to buy his mother a house, put his kid through school and pay for the funeral of the temple’s abbot, who recently shuffled off this mortal coil.
Phra Prawit’s good fortune has ruffled the feathers of some Buddhists, given that adherents are supposed to have liberated themselves from the tyranny of such earthly desires as rolling around in beds made of money.
However seriously one views Phra Prawit’s alleged deviation from the norm, one has to consider it in context. At least he played a legit lottery, not Thailand’s more popular ‘underground’ kind. And besides, his actions were nowhere near as egregious as the monks from South Korea’s largest order who were filmed enjoying a marathon gambling and drinking session inside their monastery walls.
And Phra Prawit’s monthly visits to his local lottery kiosk downright pales in comparison to the Buddhist monk in Louisiana who recently lost $263k of his temple’s money playing blackjack at $10k a hand at the L’Auberge Casino.
And lest we forget, there’s no shortage of reports of Christian clergy getting caught dipping their hands into the poor-box to underwrite their gambling sprees, proving time and time again that hypocrisy knows no race, nationality or religion. Then again, we’re still waiting for the first Flying Spaghetti Monster acolyte to get caught in a gambling scandal, so all hail you, our Pastafarian potentate.