Monk ends Buddhist Lent with a bang in northeast Thailand

Police picked up an inebriated, half-naked monk from the side of the road in Khon Kaen province, northeast Thailand, on one of the most auspicious Buddhist holidays of the year – Awk Pansa (exit Pansa) on Monday.

Buddhist monks and maechis came out of their temples for the first time in three months on Monday upon completion of a period of focussed Buddhist study and practice known as the Buddhist Rains Retreat, or Pansa.

The retreat has gained the nickname ‘Buddhist Lent’ for its similarities to its Christian counterpart because lay Buddhists might choose to give something up for three months – such as meat or alcohol. However, monastics are strictly prohibited from drinking alcohol or getting intoxicated at any time. It is one of the 227 rules of conduct followed by Thai monks.

Villagers from Ban Nong Khun village rang the police on Monday night to report a drunk monk, about 50 years old, partially undressed on the side of the road near the entrance of the village. They said he was sat there since 4pm.

Ironically, alcohol sales were banned nationwide on Monday to celebrate Awk Pansa, which is one of Thailand’s five major Buddhist holidays.

Police helped the monk fix his robes before questioning his state of disarray. The monk admitted to drinking alcohol, claiming he needed it to alleviate his leg pain. He said his legs hurt after walking to his friend’s house, so he got drunk.

The monk said he resided at a temple in Udon Thani province but wouldn’t tell police the name of the temple.

Police officers from Ban Pai Police Station took him to Wat Prachan Prasit in Ban Pai district for him to be disrobed.

Thailand News


Leah is a translator and news writer for the Thaiger. Leah studied East Asian Religions and Thai Studies at the University of Leeds and Chiang Mai University. Leah covers crime, politics, environment, human rights, entertainment, travel and culture in Thailand and southeast Asia.

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