Buddhism teaching

The “laughing monk” said not to be discouraged, to continue teaching

BANGKOK (Bangkok Post) – Former activist monk Buddha Isara offered advice to Phra Maha Sompong Talaputto on Monday, after the chuckling monk told subscribers of his live Facebook show that he was being pressured to leave the monastery because of his teaching not conventional dhamma.

“Laugh. Don’t cry. Keep on fighting,” the former Abbot of Wat Or Noi in Nakhon Pathom, now a layman named Suwit Thongprasert, posted on his Facebook page.

He advised the monk to apply his knowledge gained through the study of Buddhism to solve his problem, instead of dramatic action to gain public sympathy.

A moving Phra Maha Sompong from Wat Soi Thong in Bangkok said on his Facebook live show on Sunday that he was under immense pressure to stop his unconventional way of teaching the dhamma and even quit his life. monk.

“I don’t want any job. I’m just an ordinary monk who works to bring happiness to people, ”he said, struggling to hold back tears during a lengthy statement.

“I never bother anyone. If the time is right for me to go, then I will, ”he said.

Phra Maha Sompong teamed up with Phra Maha Praiwan Worawano of the same temple in a live talk show that sprinkled the conventional serious tone of dhamma teaching with comedic exchanges and lots of laughs, which drew a wide audience. public.

It also angered ultra-conservatives who accused them of harming Buddism with their light jokes, which they saw as highly inappropriate.

As controversy revolved around them, the two monks were ordered to appear before the House Committee on Religion, Art and Culture on September 9.

The National Buddhism Office said last month it was happy with their promise.

NOB deputy director Sippaboworn Kaewngam reportedly told media on Monday that his office was not aware of any pressure on Phra Maha Somgpong.

Neither the NOB nor the other monks had the power to expel him from the monastic community, the official added.

Co-host Phra Maha Priwan said on the same show on Sunday that Phra Maha Sompong should not give up. He believed that their playful style was successful in teaching the precepts of the dhamma and attracting people to Buddhism.

“If it’s not entertaining, no one will listen to the dhamma. And you can’t convince them to take an interest in religion, ”he said.