One expects a Buddhist monk's life to be simple, following a spiritual path of celibacy, abstinence and voluntary poverty.
It was, instead, very complex for one member of the Suphan Buri temple in Thailand, who was arrested last week for living out his hooker-filled fantasy as a Mercedes-driving colonel in the military's special forces.
After an undercover TV crew videotaped the senior monk, an abbot, entertaining two women at a suburban house, police arrested him and discovered that the 43-year-old abbot, Phra Khru Thammathornwanchai Thawaro, was actually living a very unmonklike existence. Inside the house, officials found porn videos and books, condoms, lingerie, whiskey and the uniform of an army colonel, complete with a red beret, combat fatigues and a toupee. The uniform bore the insignia of the Special Warfare Command and the Army Signals Department.
According to the Bangkok Post, the abbot explained to police that he wore the uniform only when he drove the Mercedes in place of his "absent chauffeur." Yet when police questioned neighbors, they said they never saw anyone at the house who could have been the chauffeur but that they did remember the colonel driving his Mercedes around the neighborhood.
The abbot allegedly cruised for prostitutes in his car, dressed as a military officer and took women to the house in Bang Buathong district, Nonthaburi, to have sex with them. When questioned about his relationship with one young woman, the abbot explained that she was just a relative.
"I have wanted to be a soldier since I was a child," the abbot said. "It made me happy to dress as an officer."
Despite the man's insistence that he had caused only slight damage to Buddhism, he was formally disrobed in the presence of officials of the Religious Affairs Department and taken to his temple in Suphan Buri for further investigation. He faces up to five years in jail for impersonating a military officer.