PETALING JAYA, Jan 8 — Lamyong Thiengtham is busy at work in the tourism industry almost every day and has very little time to go to the temple to present monks with an offering.
Luckily for the 63-year-old, a monk from the southern region of Thailand became an online sensation overnight after he announced that people can make offerings at his temple through online delivery.
Itthiyawat Chotipanyo Suweerawarawut of the Nikom Prateep Temple in Trang uploaded a post onto his Facebook page on Sunday saying that Buddhist worshippers no longer had to physically come down to the temple to give offering anymore.
He expressed that worshippers now only had to place on order on the food delivery app to make an offering, and the monk would bless them through the phone via a video call.
Some have criticised Itthiyawat saying that it is not the traditional way of doing things, but he explained that it was simply a matter of adapting to the modernity of the world and allowing others to use technology to practice their faith.
“We are living in an era when people can now make offerings without seeing each other face to face,” wrote the monk.
“Buddhists make offerings through delivery apps and have food sent to the temple, then we bless them via a video call.”
Presenting monks with “gifts” or offerings like food or necessities is a local tradition called sangkhatan, which is believed to improve the donor’s karma.
Not long after he uploaded the post, Itthiyawat was soon on news screens across the country as a video of a Foodpanda rider delivering him an offering went viral.
After causing a frenzy on local news channels, Itthiyawat’s post has since garnered over 7,000 likes and shares on Facebook, and social media users having shared their two cents on the matter.
While a select few criticised him for changing the way offerings are made and labelled Buddhists who do that as “lazy”, many social media users loved the idea of how monks like Itthiyawat are embracing technology with their faith.
“Do I have to send in a screenshot of the receipt first as evidence before I receive my blessing?” joked one user.
Others praised how advanced things are now, that even practising faith can be done through a smartphone, while some added that maybe there should be an app to tabulate good deeds and sin.