No karma in merit buckets for monks

A monk at Wat Benchamabophit has urged the Office of the Consumer Protection Board (OCBP) to take harsh action against sellers of merit buckets who stock them with substandard offerings.

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Angered that Buddhist worshippers are being conned by the sellers, Phra Maha Apichart Pannachanto made his dissatisfaction known by showing the contents of a merit bucket in a video that he posted on his Facebook page.

The six-minute clip presented all of the offerings given to him in a bucket. Unwrapping it, the monk showed details listed on the items to substantiate his call for action. Some items were acceptable, but others were not, including a bathing robe which was too short for him, a big box of tissues containing only one roll and three bottles of water put at the bottom of the bucket to make it feel heavy and look full of offerings.

''Do not get fooled by those shops selling such buckets,'' he said in the video. ''If monks don't show this to you, you'll never know."

He writes on his Facebook page: ''The OCBP should do something about this because consumers are the victim.''

His campaign was beginning to work as the clip is being shared by others and has drawn the attention of the OCBP, which sent officials to met him at his temple on Thursday.

At a temple in Phitsanulok, the monks say the problem is very bad.

The monks, at Wat Tha Maprang in Muang district, and their followers showed several offerings given to them on Buddhist Lent day which were expired.

Acting abbot Phra Thamma Udomsak Utamasukko said many offerings could not be used, such as instant noodles.

"Some buckets are big and heavy but none of the items in them can be used,'' he said.

The temple had no choice but to put them in dumpsters, the abbot added.

A video clip of Phra Maha Apichart Pannachanto shows items in a merit bucket.

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