Defrocking of monk known for his thoughtful social media posts sparks online criticisms

Thai internet users took to social media on Monday morning sparked by the recent disrobing of a famous Thai monk to share their grievances with Buddhism and to note on the religion’s decline.

Phra Maha Praiwan Worawano was known as a liberal-leaning monk who attracted a huge audience of young people through his social media posts. He became a hit on his Facebook livestream with teachings against the commercialisation of Buddhism.

Unlike other Buddhist monks, Phra Maha Paiwan has reached out to young people as he mastered fluency in youth slang and poked fun at current affairs and politics.

Netizens used the hashtag #พระมหาไพรวัลย์ (Pra Maha Praiwan) to comment on recent news that he had been forced out of his monestary.

“Religions were used as a tool to strike those who have different political opinions. The National Office of Buddhism (NOB) also interfered in the activities of a monk,” one user account wrote.

Many of the posts pointed out that his unique preachings only brought a new generation to engage more in Buddhism.

Other users voiced their opinions that young people have lost faith in religion because of centralized decisions like the defrocking.

Pra Maha Praiwan and Phra Maha Sompong Talaputto, his co-host, were summoned to a parliamentary committee in September and ordered to tone down his playful posts and bring decorum to the religion.

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