BANGKOK – The Sangha Supreme Council, the governing body of the Buddhist order of Thailand has ordered senior monks to toughen the vetting procedures for men wishing to enter the monk-hood.
According to the new order, ecclesiastical provincial governors, ecclesiastical officials at all levels as well as preceptors must stringently adhere to discipline practiced by monks, including how to screen people entering the monk-hood.
The order was agreed upon at a council meeting on Thursday. The council also agreed to set up a working team to draft criteria for those who are to be newly ordained, including minimum requirements for days they are supposed to be in the monk-hood as well as a curriculum newly ordained monks must follow.
Phra Phrom Bandit, Phra Phrom Munee, Phra Phrom Dilok and Phra Phrom Molee, all council members, were assigned to draft the curriculum within 20 days and present it to the council.
Quite a few monks have made headlines for criminal activities in recent years. The latest case was the arrest of a senior monk in Phetchabun who was previously implicated in a temple embezzlement scandal for alleged indecency with a child.
Phra Khru Kitti Phacharakhun, 53, the abbot of Wat Lat Khae and also Chon Daen district’s monastic chief, was arrested by police on Wednesday.
The monk was accused of committing indecent acts against children under 15. The monk denies the charge. The Criminal Court yesterday rejected his request for bail.
The council’s latest order came after Somdet Phra Ariyawong Sakhottayan, the Supreme Patriarch, said at a meeting on Nov 23 that the council should outline measures to force monks and novices into behaving themselves in line with Buddhist principles as it is important for monks to be respected in Thai society.
According to the order, ecclesiastical officials are required to review council rules on the administration of clergy and the appointment and impeachment of ecclesiastical officials as well as preceptors.
Ecclesiastical officials are also urged to stiffen measures on overseeing monks and novices in line with the Sangha Act, council rules, resolutions and announcements as well as orders given by the Supreme Patriarch. They are also asked to come up with ways to make sure their activities are beneficial to society.