Buddhist Leaders Resign Over Gambling Scandal
Six monks have resigned from the largest Buddhist sect in South Korea after they were discovered drinking, smoking and gambling for stakes allegedly up to $875,000 in an illegal high-stakes poker game at a luxury hotel last month.
The shocking incident was alleged to have happened after the Buddhist leaders had gathered for the memorial service of a fellow monk and was leaked to the public via Reuters by a member of the sect called Seongho, who filmed the 13-hour session.
While it has not yet been confirmed where the monks found the money to play for such astronomical stakes, there are serious concerns that the $875,000 wagered over the course of the night was misappropriated from donations made to the sect.
Even if this does not turn out to be the case, the actions of the monks – in addition to being ethically questionable behaviour for religious leaders of their stature – are being considered a crime as gambling is illegal in South Korea outside of licensed casinos and racetracks.
Another leader from the Jogye sect has since apologised for the actions of the monks, but according to media speculation in South Korea the scandal could yet cause a significant power split within the order, which is reported to have over 10 million followers worldwide.