Racked is no longer publishing. Thank you to everyone who read our work over the years. The archives will remain available here; for new stories, head over to Vox.com, where our staff is covering consumer culture for The Goods by Vox. You can also see what we’re up to by signing up here.
Scandal is afoot among Buddhist monks: In a video uploaded to YouTube on May 22, three monks flying in a private jet have Louis Vuitton bags, headphones, and sunglasses. The Office of National Buddhism director-general Nopparat Benjawatananun told the Associate Press that the monks, who are from a monastery in Thailand's northeast, have been told "not to repeat the lavish behavior."
Nopparat also explains how the 2,600-year-old religion based largely on principles of asceticism clashes with modernity, saying, "When Lord Buddha was alive, there wasn't anything like this. There were no cars, smartphones or cameras, so the rules were much simpler. While the monks need to keep themselves abreast of new knowledge, current events and technology, they are restrained to choose the appropriate tools." He also noted that "[i]n many cases, it was the followers who gave the monks the luxury. Some bought them sports cars. This is by no means necessary." Now we know who is buying all those Louis.