South Korean ‘holy’ Buddhist monks secretly filmed gambling, smoking and drinking

Six leaders from South Korea’s biggest Buddhist order have quit after secretly filmed video showed monks playing high-stakes poker, drinking and smoking

South Korean TV networks aired shots of monks playing poker, some smoking and drinking, after gathering at a luxury lakeside hotel in late April for a fellow monk’s memorial service.

“The stakes for 13 hours of gambling were more than 1 billion won ($875,300),” Seongho, a senior monk who uses one name, told Reuters on Friday.

He said he had reported the incident to prosecutors.  Gambling outside of licensed casinos and horse racing tracks is illegal in South Korea and frowned upon by religious leaders.

The scandal erupted just days before Koreans observe a national holiday to celebrate the birth of Buddha, the holiest day of the religion’s calendar.

More on Buddhism:

The ugly truth about Tibetan Buddhism: internal schisms, fist-fights, misogyny and an anti-gay Dalai Lama

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