A Thai monk has sparked outrage by announcing he will carry out blessings via video calls if devotees send him food deliveries in exchange.
According to local media, Phra Itthiyawathaya of the Nikom Prateep Temple in the south Thai province of Trang said that fewer people are donating food and offerings to the Buddhist monks due to the changing pace of modern life.
Presenting monks with gifts, known locally as ‘sangkhatan’, is believed to result in good karma for Buddhist worshippers.
The monk first drew attention to the situation when he said on Facebook that a devotee had just sent food to his temple via an online app so he blessed the person during a video call, according to reports.
He said: “The world is spinning fast, and dharma (cosmic law and order) is also spinning in our heart.”
After some Buddhist netizens questioned whether ‘sangkhatan’ could be carried out remotely, the monk confirmed that it could.
He said: “The method may change, but the intent is the same.”
Local worshipper Lamyong Thiengtham told reporters that using online services to receive good karma is convenient for her busy lifestyle and tourism job.
She said: “I usually like going to temples, but this method is so convenient and new that I wanted to try it.”
However, critics said that people may stop going to temples completely and simply rely on online services for religious ceremonies.
Reports said that the number of people attending services at temples in Thailand has dropped significantly in recent years.
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