Poker Playing Buddhist Monks cause Outrage - Bet $875k

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Buddhist monks are held to some of the highest ideological standards among any religious group in the world. That said, it's no surprise that eight monks from South Korea’s largest Buddhist order, the Jogye, caused an outrage when they were filmed drinking alcohol and playing high stakes poker.

High Rollers

In late April, eight Jogye monks gathered in a fancy lakeside hotel to celebrate an honor by one of their fellow associates. And nothing seemed out of the ordinary - that is, until they starting playing poker with major money on the line. The monks began drinking and playing high stakes poker at 8pm, and they didn't quit the game until 9am the next morning. During this 13-hour time frame, a total of $875,300 was wagered amongst the players.

Staked with Donations

The large amount of money that was wagered may not have been as big of a deal if it wasn't coming from donations. This being the case, a senior Jogye monk named Seong-ho was ashamed when he learned of the poker games. He believes the monks stole as he said, "Basically, Buddhist rules say don’t steal. Look at what they did, they abused money from Buddhists for gambling."

The head of the eight poker playing monks' sect, Ven. Jaseung, was also saddened to learn of what transpired. Jaseung said that his group will do a 108-bow ritual for 100 straight days and he commented, "We deeply apologize for the behavior of several monks in our order. The monks who have caused public concern are currently being investigated and will be punished according to Buddhist regulations as soon as the truth is verified by the prosecution."

Quick Resignations

Apparently, six of the senior monks in Jogye didn't think that the 108-bow ritual would be enough since they've chosen to resign from their positions. This could merely be the first in a long line of events that will transpire as the monks catch more heat for their high stakes poker games.