Odd News Roundup
June 17, 2013 04:00 PM | 420 views | 0 0 comments | 16 16 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Thai Buddhist monks criticized for lavish behavior

By Thanyarat Doksone, Associated Press

BANGKOK (AP) — Thailand's national Buddhism body said Monday it is monitoring monks nationwide for any inappropriate behavior following complaints ignited by a video showing Buddhist monks flying on a private jet.

The YouTube video emerging recently showed one of the monks was wearing stylish aviator sunglasses, carrying a luxury brand travel bag and sporting a pair of modern-looking wireless headphones. It attracted criticism from Buddhists nationwide.

Office of National Buddhism director-general Nopparat Benjawatananun said Monday that the agency saw the video early this year and had warned the monks from a monastery in Thailand's northeast not to repeat the lavish behavior.

A country with the world's largest Buddhist population, Thailand has attempted to help Buddha's 2,600-year-old doctrine stand the test of time through a variety of means, including imposing a ban on the sale of alcohol on religious holidays. The efforts, however, are sometimes tainted by the Buddhist monks themselves.

Last year, about 300 out of 61,416 Buddhist monks and novices in Thailand were reprimanded — in several cases removed from the monkhood — because of their misconduct, ranging from alcohol consumption, having sex with women, to extortion. The Office also received complaints about monks driving cars, and scams and false claims of black magic uses by monks.

Nopparat said the Buddhist monks in the video were acting "inappropriately, not composed and not adhering to Buddha's teachings of simplicity and self-restraint."

Monruedee Bantoengsuk, an administrative officer at Khantitham Temple in Sisaket province, confirmed to The Associated Press that the monks on the private plane lived at the temple but refused to give details about the trip.

"We can explain this, but not now," she said, saying that the abbot, who appeared in the video, is currently on a religious tour in France.

The images from the video contrasted with the abbot's message on the temple's homepage that read: "The true core of those who preach Buddha's teachings is to not to own any objects at all."

"When Lord Buddha was alive, there wasn't anything like this. There were no cars, smart phones or cameras, so the rules were much simpler," said Nopparat of the Office of National Buddhism. "While the monks need to keep themselves abreast of new knowledge, current events and technology, they are restrained to choose the appropriate tools."

He said one way to prevent the monks from misbehaving is for followers not to spoil them with valuable objects or vices. "In many cases, it was the followers who gave the monks the luxury. Some bought them sports cars. This is by no means necessary."

Online: Buddhist monks video.

Copyright 2013 The Associated Press.

_____

Police: New Mexico woman unmasks robber, finds grandson

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — Police say a New Mexico woman who confronted a masked intruder in her home stumbled upon a shocking discovery when she ripped off his disguise — the robber was her grandson.

KRQE-TV reports that 22-year-old Thomas Clark is facing robbery charges after police say he stole his grandmother's purse during a bizarre robbery at an Albuquerque home.

According to police, the woman confronted the Clark, dressed in black with a purple bandana over his face, last week when he broke into her home.

Police say the woman yanked off the mask but Clark pushed her and fled with her purse.

He was arrested later at his parents' home.

Police say he confessed and said he did it for casino money.

It was unclear if he had an attorney.

Copyright 2013 The Associated Press.

_____

Hitchhiking cat 'Mata Hairi' headed home to Oregon

HELENA, Mont. (AP) — A well-traveled cat named "Mata Hairi" will soon be reunited with her owner after spending nearly 10 months traveling thousands of miles with a hitchhiker who rescued her from the rain.

The feline adventure started in Portland, Ore., when the cat's owner, Ron Buss, let her out of the house on Sept. 1. The cat, white with patches of dark gray, usually left for no more than a couple of hours at a time, but this time she didn't return.

When Michael King, who has been homeless since 2003, spotted Mata Hairi, she was crouched under a table at a cafe, trying to stay out of the pouring rain.

"I see cats all the time," King said. "I don't pick up cats. I don't want a cat, especially a full-grown one.

And he definitely didn't want to haul around the needed food and bowls that would add 20 pounds to his pack.

"Something told me to grab her. I don't know," King told the Independent Record.

He named the cat Tabor, for the cafe where he found her.

She traveled with King as he hitchhiked to California, back to Portland and out to Montana, where King's foster father lives.

People often stopped them and asked to take photos.

"She's a hit on the streets of Portland," King said. "Very rarely do you see a cat riding on the top of someone's backpack."

King and his foster father, Walter Ebert, recently took the cat to a veterinarian in Helena, where a scan found a microchip, and the vet was able to contact Buss.

Buss is planning a party marking Mata's return, and King agrees it's an occasion for celebration.

But it's going to be emotional for King, too.

"I didn't want a cat in the first place. I just thought I was saving someone's cat," King said. "And that's what I've done. Now I've grown attached to her.

"My pack will be 20 pounds lighter," he said, "but a big hole, a big hole."

Information from: Independent Record, http://www.helenair.com

Copyright 2013 The Associated Press.

Comments
(0)
Comments-icon Post a Comment
No Comments Yet
*We welcome your comments on the stories and issues of the day and seek to provide a forum for the community to voice opinions. All comments are subject to moderator approval before being made visible on the website but are not edited. The use of profanity, obscene and vulgar language, hate speech, and racial slurs is strictly prohibited. Advertisements, promotions, spam, and links to outside websites will also be rejected. Please read our terms of service for full guides