Monks have been warned not to join the thousands of people crowding the riverfront during the Water Festival by religious officials who say doing so could violate Buddhist teachings.
“If the monks walk through the crowds they may touch women. It is a sin,” said In Visa Um, secretary of state for the Ministry of Cults and Religion.
Any monks caught mingling will be taken to the ministry for “education,” he said. The directive comes shortly after Buddhist leaders were criticized by the ministry for lax education and corruption—charges religious leaders at least partially acknowledged.
In Visa Um said monks would be allowed to watch the boat races from the far side of the Tonle Sap. Monk Chin Chana called the directive unfair, saying monks didn’t disturb the public.
and should be allowed on the streets.