Six monks from South Korea’s biggest Buddhist order have quit after a scandal erupted days before the celebration of the birth of Buddha, a national holiday.
The monks from Jongye order were caught on tape gambling, drinking and smoking in a luxury hotel room. The monks may have gambled 1 billion won, or $875,300, in the high-stakes poker game.
There was a hidden camera in the hotel room which caught the whole scene and was given to Seongho, a senior monk. Seongho refuses to disclose the name of his source. Many South Koreans were upset over the scandal, as gambling is illegal and frowned upon by religious leaders.
The head of the Jogye order publicly apologized to his 10 million followers, about a fifth of the population. The video also raised speculations of divide within the order. The public also called for cutting out the “rotten part before it gets worse”.