Photos posted by Thich Thanh Cuong on his Facebook page show him opening a brand new iPhone 6 at a mobile phone store in Hai Duong
The Buddhist sangha in the northern province of Hai Duong has rebuked the head of a district chapter for posting several photos depicting a lavish life on his Facebook page.
Thich Thanh Cuong, chief monk at the Cuong Xa Pagoda in Hai Duong, even faced dismissal for his misdeeds.
But at a press briefing Thursday, Superior Monk Thich Quang Tung, a senior member of the Hai Duong chapter of the Vietnam Buddhist Sangha, said since Cuong expressed repentance, he would only have to write a self-criticism report and hand it over by October 10.
Cuong would continue to head his pagoda, Tung said.
The monk sparked an avalanche of criticism by posting pictures of himself opening a brand new iPhone 6 at a Hai Duong mobile phone store, talking on a luxury Vertu phone, posing in combat fatigues, with a luxury car, “hotboys” and exotic foreign locales.
Tung, head of the Hai Duong Buddhist Management Board, said Cuong would have to pull all of those photos out of his Facebook page.
"Any repeat of such misdeeds will be [seriously] dealt with," Tung said.
A photo shows Thich Thanh Cuong dressed in camouflage combat clothes next to a Jeep
He said the board launched an investigation into Cuong’s actions after his photos went viral on the Internet.
The board proposed that Cuong be dismissed as chief monk at the Cuong Xa Pagoda in Hai Duong and head of the Tu Ky District Buddhist Management Board.
Tung said the inappropriate acts tarnished the prestige of Buddhist monks and violated the principals of the religion.
He added that Cuong had already been censured for inciting others to defame the provincial sangha leaders and failing to follow rules.