TikTok’s viral monks are clashing with Buddhist authorities

Superstar monks have built massive followings — but dancing, singing, and fame-seeking are all violations of the monastic code.

Bo Pisey has a nightly ritual. After finishing his schoolwork and prayers, the 22-year-old Cambodian monk disappears into his room with his Android phone, locks the door, and sits on his bed. There, for hours, he edits TikTok videos for his 132,000 followers to watch before they fall asleep.

The other 29 people in his monastery are busy studying or chanting while Pisey records voice-overs, watches editing tutorials, and cuts footage. They still tease him about his hobby — even after his viewership exploded following two poetry videos he’d posted in the depths of the Covid-19 lockdowns.

“They’re like, ‘What is the benefit of doing this? Why are you spending hours on this?’” Pisey told Rest of World from his monastery in the northwestern city of Battambang. “I just want to spread the dharma. I don’t get anything from this, but I love doing it.”

In full: https://restofworld.org/2023/buddhist-monk-tiktok-monastic-code/

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