Two Buddhist monks, singer face punishment for kissing

Two Buddhist monks have been banned from leaving their monastery and any contact with the outside world for three months after they were kissed by famous pop singer, Dam Vinh Hung.

On his part, singer Dam Vinh Hung may be punished for kissing the two monks at a charity event held recently in Ho Chi Minh City. The incident has caused a fury among the public and an investigation has been launched to look into the case.

The department of Performing Arts under the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism, on November 13 issued a terse statement that read, “This behaviour was indecent and should be punished.”

Vu Xuan Thanh, the Ministry’s Chief Inspector said his department had sought punishment for the singer on November 12.

The department’s office also sent an inspection team to HCMC to investigate the case.

According to reports, Dam Vinh Hung had participated in a charity auction on November 4 at the Khong Ten Nightclub in Ho Chi Minh City to raise funds for tumor-stricken singer Wanbi Tuan Anh. Hung auctioned a foreign wine bottle at starting price of VND20 million (US$960).

He promised everyone at the event that he would kiss whosoever won the bid.

Dam Vinh Hung kisses lips of Venerable Thich Phap Dinh

The winners turned out to be two monks who bid the highest price of VND55 million ($2,640).

As a thank you gesture, Hung kissed the lips of Venerable Thich Phap Dinh from Phuoc Son Monastery.

In return, the monk, while still wearing a Buddhist robe, reluctantly reciprocated the gesture.

The photo of the two kissing went viral on the Internet, causing indignation among the public, especially in Buddhist circles.

Meanwhile, the other monk, the older of the two, did not allow the pop star to touch his lips but instead let him kiss his left hand.

The two monks won the wine bottle after bidding VND55 million ($2,636) and singer Hung followed through with his promise, kissing the young monk on his lips and the older monk on his left hand.

Dam Vinh Hung has since apologized to the public, Buddhist nuns and monks nationwide.

Most Venerable Thich Buu Chanh, deputy head of the provincial Buddhist Church of Dong Nai, commented, “I am extremely shocked, this is seriously wrong, not only concerning Buddhist teachings but it also affects the reputation of the Buddhist church and the clergy”.

On Wednesday, the Phuoc Son Monastery held a ‘Karma Ceremony’ (Tac Phap Yet Ma), a kind of monastic confession and repentance in which the two monks chanted Dhammapada verses or Buddhist incantations to beg for forgiveness and pray for their sins.

The Venerable Thich Phap Dinh (who was kissed on the lips) apologetically wrote “all the images and sayings inappropriate with my role as a monk. I take full responsibility. I really know my faults and my modest charity intention had badly influenced the Buddhist Church and Buddhist clergy”.

According to Thich Buu Chanh, the deputy head of the provincial Buddhist Church, Buddhist law will punish a monk for kissing women by banning them from contact with the outside world. But the laws do not say anything about monks kissing men.

Besides, it was the singer who kissed the monk, not the other way round. The Most Venerable Thich Buu Chanh added, “The kiss was passive, not intentional”.

However, since their acts negatively affected the Buddhist Church and clergy, the monastery has decided to detain them inside the monastery and ban them from outside contact for three months.

Source SGGP, translated by MT

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