Abbot loses all Buddhist sangha titles over exorcism scandal

By Viet Tuan   July 14, 2019 | 08:29 pm GMT+7
Abbot loses all Buddhist sangha titles over exorcism scandal
Thich Truc Thai Minh, head monk of Ba Vang Pagoda. Photo by VnExpress/Viet Tuan.

The head monk of a pagoda in northern Vietnam has lost all his Buddhist titles over exorcism practices.

Thich Truc Thai Minh, head monk of Ba Vang Pagoda in the northern province of Quang Ninh since 2007, has lost his all current positions with the Vietnam Buddhist Sangha (VBS), including alternate member of the sangha’s executive council and deputy head of its communications and information department.

However, he will continue to be the abbot of the pagoda for now, the VBS council announced at a conference Sunday.

The Ba Vang Pagoda had been organizing three sessions every month for exorcism and lectures on vengeful spirits for several years. The events were often attended by thousands of people, local reports said.

Followers needed to pay between VND1 million ($45) to several hundred million dong for monks to conduct rituals that would drive their bad karma away.

The rituals attracted adverse attention last March after Pham Thi Yen, head of a Buddhist group formed under the auspices of the pagoda, made a controversial statement in one of her lectures.

She said that a young Vietnamese woman who was raped and killed in a northern province last month had suffered the fate because of evil deeds done in previous lives. Yen was fined VND5 million ($215) by authorities of Uong Bi Town.

Earlier, Minh had been temporarily suspended from all his positions, including abbotship of the Ba Vang Pagoda.

Buddhism is the most popular religion in Vietnam, with nearly 45 million followers, according to Vietnam Buddhist Sangha which is registered with the government.

 
 
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