Today, I was approached by an adorable & (most likely) FAKE Buddhist monk. Lol I saw these monks before and felt that there is something “off” about them but can’t say what for sure. For one thing, they don’t seem to be representing any specific Center, sect, spiritual guide, or organization (maybe this isn’t unusual but to me it seems like it) and they are a bit hasty in their encounters like quick to get people to take their jewelry & quick to get away. Monks are warm, loving, welcoming, and open to staying around for people to talk to. These ones ask us to take a vow to live in peace then they bolt!
These monks I see around the streets of Center City, Philadelphia approach random people and don’t talk much and they invade people’s personal space(I don’t mind this but some people don’t like people getting in their faces lol And Buddhist monks are good for acting according to people’s needs and desires. I saw a loving couple holding hands, recoil in fear one day as one of these monks approached them and he kept pressing forward even after seeing they wanted nothing to do with him) and not all but some are kind of pushy. He gave me a bracelet and golden card about peace. I knew automatically that he would want money so I pulled some out and he snatched it greedily. That is what confirmed my intuition that something is “off,” not the fact he was collecting money(genuine spiritual/religious people can collect money for their churches, temples, communities, fundraisers) but the greedy way in which he took it, almost as if he had to get it off me before I changed my mind and he was desperate for it. Even the average homeless people I encounter each day don’t snatch my money like this. Lol Because they aren’t doing anything shady. Greed should not be one of the things we sense when encountering a monk. If there is a greedy monk to the point he snatches money, he is corrupt or fake or not spirtually advanced enough to be a monk yet. While monks are human and still have human emotion/experiences, greed like that should have been purified or tamed by this point.
One of the things Buddhist people practice is accepting what is or whatever may happen, pleasant or not and another is practicing peace. There was nothing remotely peaceful or accepting about the way he took the money. A genuine monk would allow someone the opportunity to change her mind and not donate, without caring about the money.
I love these kinds of bracelets and especially love the gold card so it was worth handing over some cash (unless the money is going to something terrible!). Lol
After the encounter, I decided to look up the experience being approached by these cute little greedy monks. And well, sure enough, my intuition/gut was correct! They aren’t cute little monks at all; they are cute little scammers, dressed like monks(at least according to others who have encountered them!)! They walk around with a Mala and beaded bracelets and place one of the bracelets on the wrist of whoever they approach. The one who came up to me folded his hands in prayer and said “peace.”
The quality of the jewelry, at least the ones I saw, are good and they do seem to allow whatever amount of money someone wants to give, though someone wrote they get annoyed if someone gives a low amount. You still get to keep the beads though!
I think the scam here is that they are not monks at all and they lead people to believe they just had a special spiritual encounter and people probably think the money is going to some good cause and it’s probably not. Theyre probably just spending it on themselves. This “monk” asked me to vow to live in peace, which I find inspiring even if he’s a scammer.
They are not only in various cities but even different countries! So wherever you are, beware! They are approaching random unsuspecting people and convincing them to hand over money for cards & jewerly. This doesnt seem too bad; the jewerly is good; the golden cards are inspiring, and we can choose whether or not to give money and how much. But the immoral part is, they are not who they pretend to be. So our choice to hand over money may not be as voluntary as it seems. I love beads so I don’t care who sells me it but others may only buy it thinking it’s going to a good cause when it’s going who knows where and some may only buy the beads thinking they are special as they are given by a monk and here these are not monks, just little old men dressed as monks.
And the money may be going to something that is immoral or that the donor of the money does not support, who knows? Also, I don’t know where they get these bead bracelets, like do they make them themselves, steal them, have others make them?
Anyway, I’m a little bit “too” lighthearted and easily amused so I laughed at the idea of being scammed by a little old man in a monk costume. But others felt violated and deceived after.
I still love my beads & card! And I am taking my vow seriously to live even more peacefully. The pretty golden card is a beautiful reminder to act, speak, and think in peace. Even though it is intended as a scam, it can be used for good! I took the Bodhisattva vow in June 2016 and the card is a beautiful reminder!
Here are a few lessens:
1.) Be careful who we trust, even little old, innocent looking men and people who appear to be spiritual guides! Ask questions before doing anything and if there is no clear answer, walk away!
2.) Trust your gut! An old cliche but a wise one! My intuition told me something was not quite what it may have appeared to be.
3.) Make the best of a situation. We still have the pretty beads & card! They are reminders to live in peace! Take something that is used for bad and turn it good!
4.) Watch out for cute, little old men posing as Monks strolling through the city streets (of various cities & countries!)! Lol They are shady! Also, there have been reports of them following people, not taking no for and answer, and being physically aggressive and getting arrested!
Much love, light, & peace to you! And remember, be cautious & stay safe on those city streets!
Xoxo Kim ❤