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Buddhist monks are generally considered the calmest, most serene guys on the planet. They abstain from indulging in material things. They’re wise. And they’re always wearing comfortable clothes.

But here’s a little secret: some Buddhist monks like to drink. And smoke. And gamble.

According to Reuters, six leaders of South Korea’s biggest order of Buddhist monks were caught on video “raising hell, playing high-stakes poker, drinking and smoking.” To add even more drama to the story, the monks were engaged in their hell-raising just days before a national holiday to celebrate the birth of Buddha.

The monks were gathered at a luxury lakeside hotel for a fellow monk’s memorial service. While there, they played high-stakes poker for 13 hours where more than $875,000 changed hands. Apparently being a Buddhist monk pays good money.

The illicit gambling (it’s illegal to gamble in South Korea outside of licensed casinos and horse racing tracks) was caught on video by a hidden camera. The tape from that camera was provided to a monk named Seongho (monks go by one name like some pop stars and soccer players) who then turned it in to prosecutors.

Seongho, the informant monk, said “Basically, Buddhist rules say don’t steal. Look at what they did, they abused money from Buddhists for gambling.”



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