Mercedes Buddhists

The Bangkok Post reported this week that a "revered local monk and his chauffeur" were killed when their Mercedes Benz rolled over and crashed while attempting to pass two other vehicles.

Highway carnage, Mercedes Benz ownership and Buddhist monks with Benzes are all common sights in Thailand. In fact, the luxury vehicle is so well-loved in the kingdom that it is quite common for children to be given the nickname "Benz."

Five years ago, one Thai monk made headlines - and was mildly censured - for amassing a collection of 60 cars, many of them shiny Mercedes models. The cars had either been donated to the temple or purchased with donations given by the monk's followers and disciples. The monk claimed that he "only" owned 29 of the vehicles, and that those were intended for his planned Classic Auto Museum. He further defended the large collection, saying that younger monks and novices at his temple needed the cars to learn the skills needed to work as auto mechanics after they had left the monkhood.

I don't know about you, but all of this silliness conjures up visions of Janis Joplin singing: "Oh lord, won't you buy me a Mercedes Benz." I just don't think that she, or the song writer Kris Kristofferson, had Buddhist monks in mind when they performed the song.


John in Atlanta said...

It seems like the god business is very lucrative regardless of the religion. Geez what a racket.

Bangkok Bertha said...

Absolutely true. Christians certainly don't have the monopoly on corruption or sleeziness. Just goes to show you that the sheep-like masses will follow almost any silver-tongued character that tries to show them the "true way" to salavation.

Tom said...

All organized religions are the same.. inherently corrupt as any monarchy is.