Vietnamese monks punished with isolation for male singer's kisses

TN News

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Two monks in southern Vietnam will be confined to their rooms without any human contact for three months as punishment for allowing a male singer kiss them at a charity auction.

Dam Vinh Hung had announced that he would kiss the top bidder on a particular bottle of wine.  

Thich Phap Dinh, the younger monk from a monastery in Dong Nai Province, let Hung kiss him on the lips, while his older companion, Thich Gian An from Dong Thap Province, avoided being kissed on the mouth, but received a kiss on his hand, after the two offered the top bid,VND55 million, for the bottle.

They said they were invited to the auction by an artist they knew, and had intended to offer a pearl item for bidding. They bought the wine on behalf of another person, who confirmed that on Wednesday, news website Dan Tri reported.

The auction at a tearoom in Ho Chi Minh City on November 4 gathered artists to raise money for singer Wanbi Tuan Anh, who needs to go to the US to have brain surgery to remove a tumor.

Thich Buu Chanh, a senior monk at Phuoc Son monastery in Dong Nai Province, where the younger monk was attending, said his behavior was "inappropriate for a Buddhist monk."

Chanh said the monastery decided that "the monks will be left in their rooms and not see anyone for three months to think about their wrongdoing."

According to local Buddhist regulations, monks caught kissing women on the lips are punished with three months in isolation. Those regulations do not mention what penalty monks who kiss men should receive.

But the senior monk said the monastery decided to give the kiss-receiving monks with the existing punishment, as their act caused similar damage.

"It violated the guidelines of Buddhism and made for bad publicity for other followers," he said.

The monks have attended a confession and apology ceremony at the monastery in Dong Nai.

A report on the case has also been sent to the Dong Nai Buddhism Board which may decide that further punishment is necessary.

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