Bulletproof Monks

At first glance, this photo taken today by Sukree Sukplang, looks like any other photo taken of monks on their alms round. However, look a bit closer. Can you see the different shade of orange around his chest? This is a bulletproof vest.

Sales of bulletproof vests have been popular in the deep south where roadside killings are common. Now they come in shades of orange to protect monks who have also been targeted.

If they don’t think the vest is enough, they could also try this armoured motorcycle. Notice the little window which the monk can pop open to receive alms.

What is the world coming to?

22 responses to “Bulletproof Monks

  1. Terrible -but it shows the world how low these terrorists are to target the innocent and defenceless. I am sure that they have lost some of what little support they have among the local populace for such actions.
    Even in the long and bitter conflict of Northern Ireland, the Protestant Para-Military did not have a policy of targeting Priests and monks, anymore than the IRA generally targeted the Protestant clergy.

  2. My god. I think you should mean past tense Richard. What has our world already COME to.

    “There is no peace in paradise, now that man is here…”


  3. That last picture is a little like the pope mobile

  4. The photos in that article make me very sad.

  5. Can you blame me if I said I hate Islam and Muslim people who keep on terrorizing pratically the whole planet? What kind of religion is this?
    Violence seems to be the basic principle of this

  6. Paul stole the words out of my mouth, well, finger tips really.

    The Phra Mobile. This is CRAZY!

    On the other hand though, this is a Buddhist monk. Isn’t it Buddha’s teachings that death is a part of life? In one way, no I don’t want the monks to be killed, but on the other hand, what does that say about our monks who are supposed to lead us down the path of Buddha? If he’s afraid to die, so should we?

    May be I’m overly critical, but that’s just a thought that came to mind…

  7. Hey Oakley,

    I hear what your saying but think about this, what if the monk is not the one that wanted to wear the vest and go on alms round in the ‘phra mobile’. What if he is merely giving in to pressure from the good local folks that don’t want to see him become another statistic? Besides are all the monks in South Thailand doing this or just one for the story in the news?

    In any case your right as a teacher and student of Dhamma he probably accepts that death is a part of life even if or when it is a violent and short end. But a monk is still a man and until he reaches enlightment only human. It takes a heckuva lot to meet death squarely in the eye and just smile.

    If I am not mistaken, loosely paraphrased the Buddha always said ‘don’t look for the answers in someone else, look for them in yourself.’

    Wise words to follow in any faith.


  8. What is happening in Southern Thailand is really scarry! I cannot understand the rationale of this senseless violence.

    I am trully saddened to see how BUddhist monks have to go on tamboon this way. Where is the respect of the Thais towards the Sangha?

    Whether one is Buddhist, Muslim, Christian, etc etc, aren’t we all taught to respect a religous leader? This is certainly true in Malaysia.

    As for Mr/ Ms Hate Muslim, I have to TOTALLY disagree with you. Islam is a religious of PEACE. What you see on television, on 9/11 is NOT Islam…. it is a handful of people who have distorted the religion

    COme to Kuala Lumpur, and see what is Islam all about. In Malaysia, we are an Islamic country, but, we are also a very progressive nation. You would be surprise to note that Malaysia is also a multi-racial and multi-religious nation!

  9. I, as an “infidel”, support Kitjar here. In the 1970’s I travelled in many Islamic countries, Morrocco, Iran, and Afghanistan and always found the local Muslims very welcoming and not at all hostile. I also know Muslims in the UK who totally reject what terrorists are doing in the name of Islam.

  10. Love life and peace

    C’mon dude, what you see in the news every day
    is not Islam. I wonder who is it then? Who killed the 2 Thai soldiers in the south?
    If I’m not blind I think what I saw from the pictures in the newspaper are a bunch of mostly Muslim women and men who cowardly cover their faces with cloth.

    My point is really this, most Muslim will say that’s not Islam. But I’m sorry dude, all of this guys that
    had committed this coward act against innocent people are all MUSLIM. It is their believe that after they die they will go to heaven and will have all this virgin girls waiting for them. I’m a Bhuddist and very proud of my religion. When those God Damn Muslim in Afkhanistan blew up the biggest
    Bhudda statue, I feel like dropping an atomic bomb in Mecca myself.

    If this extremist Islam keep on doing a bad deed that they are still doing around the world today, sooner or later they will get their payback and could be wiped out from the face of the earth.

  11. Being a Christian and farang, I may not be the best qualified person to react, but nevertheless I will: if you are talking about revenge and atomic bombs, then you seriously must have missed or misunderstood something at your “Buddhism 1” class at school. Or did you read your books upside down? C’mon, if you think and say such things, then there is absolutely no difference whatsoever between you and all those people who commit crimes in the name of Islam. That’s a far cry from Buddhism as far as I know.

  12. Walk on water?

    Ok Farang, talking and actually doing it is two different thing. As a human being, you couldn’t help to have that feeling run thru your mind!!
    But did I ran out and actually did what I think, hell no!
    So, farang Betti, as a Christian, have you ever have any bad thought in your mind?
    Or are you above human being? And never have any bad thought or think of doing something bad at all in your life?

  13. sure I do, but I try to control them, and don’t bring hatred out to the open, even if I feel any deep inside. we all have scars and regrets and pain, we all have our family histories full of tragedies and violence in this part of the world too. but violence only breeds further violence, that’s clear for me. we must work on reconciliation both with our thoughts and deeds, cheesy as it may sound. when I was teaching in Asia, my kindergarten class was a mixture of kids from Chinese Christian, Buddhist and Taoist families. my colleague was a Muslim half-American. even at that age, kids did have some strong ideas about how things are and should be. but even at that age you can teach them to accept each other. walking on water? 🙂 no need to reach that high. that’s what I think.
    (sorry if I’m digressing too much, just cut me out.)

  14. Well, this blog from Mr Richard has certainly opened a streak of frenzied opinions.

    The international press has sympathized a lot with the Muslims down south and it goes something like this:

    18 Muslims football players were found dead while in handcuffs, 40 hostage takers at Tak Bai were shot dead in a revered mosque and 76 delinquent teenagers died on the back of army trucks. The international press called it ‘cold-blooded’.
    The Media asks “Were the Thai People up in arms in disgust and shock at such incidents?”

    If not they ask “Were the Thai people up in arms in disgust and shock at the cold-blooded massacre of two Buddhist soldiers?”

    We must all open our eyes and see the story from two completely different perspectives.

    The every day killings down are a tragedy but before we voice any loud opinions we must first let loose any racial and religious conditioning with which we have engraved in every single one of us.

    That, is the ‘beginning of learning’.

    Finally, we at Thai blogs try to keep this a ‘family-friendly sight’, though debate is welcomed i’d appreciate it personally if commenteers could refrain from rather sensitive remarks as – ‘Ok Farang’ or ‘You Farang’

  15. Man, I thought this is just to show what a bulletproof monk looks like!
    Turn out to be a political forum otherwise.
    By the way, just to educate some sensitive foreigners, the word “FARANG” just simply mean
    white people. That’s what Thai people call white people. And when they used this word, there is no intention as an offensive phrase toward white by
    any means.

  16. Although the term “Farang” may not means much to us Thais, but for others, it is.

    I think in the context of what Steve is saying, some folks use the word like, “Hey, YOU” instead of addressing people by name which is rude in any language. Additionally, it was used in such a way as to single out and ostracize our non-Thai friends here on the site.

    That’s just my read on it. But I’m sure there’ll be an impending blog on the term “farang” soon…right, Steve? 😉

  17. Wah low eh Monk Mobil

  18. It’s like everything else, some fanatic will have to overdo, and he’ll use religion to justify his hate and intolerance. Most men are horny, a very few are perverts, most women have to be afraid of a very few men. Most Muslims are as peaceful as most Christians, a very few are terrorists. Most Whites are not bigots, most Blacks are not gangsters, most people are just people. Ask the folk in Afghanistan and Iraq about how peaceful they think the Christians are. Ask the prisoners in Abu Gahraib, or the gulag in Cuba about Christ’s Love. IIRC, it was the Muslim influence from the Moors in Spain that kickstarted the European Renaisance, and it was the Christian Popes that tried to create another Dark Age.

  19. Donna Boonchit

    i will never understand how they say they are doing this for Allah or that this is a holy war. i don’t care who or what you believe in religiously, no God, Allah or deity period would condone such actions as this. it is a shame that monks have to fear for their lives this way.

  20. Yeah it is sad to see a human being in this state just to survive.Hope that these terrorists will come to their senses and live in peace as a whole in this temporary world.. taking a life from someone is really heartless. People who do such acts never give a thought of what if that happens to them. Loving kindness will never bore such a thought.

  21. I just caught wind of an event that just happened last night in DC. This “Pray for Peace” included performances by Graham Nash, David Crosby, Jackson Browne, and others. A local radio station has pics, video and audio from the event. Check it out at http://www.idigbig.com.

  22. Danuj Kamolvathin

    The pictures posted are a reminder of how times have changed. It is discouraging to see that peace in religion has been replaced by fear. Very sad but very real.