Words of the day: "Defrock Ming Yi!!"

From Straits Times 07.10.2009, "Ming Yi's Tale of 9 Credit Cards"

'Defrock' has 2 definitions as per M-W.com: 1: to deprive (as a priest) of the right to exercise the functions of office and 2: to remove from a position of honor or privilege.

Thanks to the recent lavish $200,000 dinner at Pan Pacific Hotel which, there are strongs outcry to defock Ming Yi. This dinner was held by Foo Hai Chan Monastery in Geylang in honour of Venerable Ming Yi's 20 years of service. (In honour? Yeah, right!! I'd have thought the organisers were trying to be sarcastic, considering Ming Yi's fall to shame in the scandalous Ren Ci Probe. Then again, the $$$ involved stated otherwise. Ming Yi's 20 years of service is apparently eclipsing his 10-month jail term--of which he's released after 5 months.)

There are so far 14 pages of comments on the topic of "What is the big fuss about defrocking the Venerable Ming Yi?". The best one so far is from one 'Valued contributor' by the nick of last_laugh in page 12:

If a monk craves for a $200,000 a night $1000 per table dinner in posh hotel, is he practicing buddism? This is a question only 3 year old kids cannot answer. How much can one think this behavior is right from a monk? It is up to individuals' opinion. To me he is no longer a buddism practitioner. He can put up a name, wear something close to the image of a monk, but he is not a buddism practitioner.

Spot on.

News of a panel to judge the Venerable Ming Yi has been met with split views by the Buddhist community.

Some have questioned the Singapore Buddhist Federation’s decision to form a committee to judge the Venerable Ming Yi.

The Straits Times reported that the panel’s scope and composition has come under scrutiny, with a senior monk, the Venerable Kwang Hian, asking who would be qualified to sit on a panel to judge one of their own.

Venerable Kwang Hian sits on the Sangha Council in Singapore, a disciplinary panel for Thai Buddhist monks.

The Singapore Buddhist Federation said previously that such a panel will appease calls for the Venerable Ming Yi to answer for the charges that led up to his six-month imprisonment this year.

The call for the panel came after the monk’s temple threw a $200,000 dinner in his honour at Pan Pacific Hotel on Nov 21. Others noted that he had not apologised to the Buddhist community for his crimes.

Forgive and forget

Supporters of the Venerable Ming Yi, especially those from his Foo Hai Chan monastery, say that he has already paid his due in prison and that this matter should be forgotten.

In a surprising turn of events, The New Paper reported today that the Venerable Sik Kwang Sheng, president of the Singapore Buddhist Federation, had also encouraged the Buddhist community to move on and focus in the right direction.

The paper quoted him as saying that there was no point in raking up the past over and over, although he did not condone what the Venerable Ming Yi had done in the first place.

However, he did not rule out the possibility of the disciplinary panel.

From Asiaone, "Not all agree on panel to judge Ming Yi".

The Buddhist community is abuzz with questions surrounding Venerable Ming Yi's status as a monk.

Buddhist Federation's secretary-general, Venerable Kwang Phing, said many voiced their unhappiness after a dinner was held by Foo Hai Chan Monastery in Geylang in honour of Venerable Ming Yi's 20 years of service. The Buddhist Federation is Singapore's top Buddhist organisation.

Venerable Kwang Phing told The Straits Times that many wanted to know: "'How can he do this?', 'Why is he still a monk?', 'Why isn't the federation doing anything?''

The dinner, organised by the monastery, was held at the Pan Pacific Hotel and reportedly cost $200,000.

The local newspaper reported that the dinner touched off an emotional debate among Buddhists even as devotees of the Foo Hai Chan Monastery called the celebration a 'sheng zuo dian li', or 'rise to power' ceremony; they said they wanted to celebrate Venerable Ming Yi's return to the temple.

Senior Buddhists in Singapore - Venerable Kwang Sheng, the federation's president, and Venerable Kwang Phing - were absent from the dinner although they had been invited.

Venerable Ming Yi - founder and former chief executive of Ren Ci Hospital - was convicted of fraud, falsifying documents, misappropriating funds and giving false information to the Commissioner of Charities last October.

He was jailed in May this year and was released in September.

The Buddhist Federation wants Ven Ming Yi to voluntarily step up to the plate and take responsibility for his actions.

If he does so, a temporary disciplinary committee of five or more monks will be set up to demote him.

If he chooses to stay at large, other monks may be advised to shun him.

Mr Lim Bock Guan, the head of the Singapore Buddhist Lodge told the local newspaper that a monk being honoured for his service with a $1,000-a-table dinner in a top hotel has never been heard off.

From Asiaone, "Ming Yi's monk status questioned over $1,000-a-table dinner".


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