BANGKOK: The behaviour of Thailand’s Buddhist clergy has been thrust under the spotlight after footage emerged of three monks flying in a private jet, wearing earphones and sunglasses and travelling with a Louis Vuitton luxury bag.

The video, which has been viewed nearly 200,000 times on YouTube, has prompted fevered debate in the Buddhist-dominated kingdom over monks’ adherence to austere principles which include living without possessions, beyond a handful of robes.

According to one of the monks, who has since been “reprimanded”, the jet was chartered by a devotee to fly them home to northeast Si Sa Ket from Bangkok after performing duties in November, said Nopparat Benjawattantnun, director of the National Office of Buddhism. “His behaviour — wearing sunglasses and carrying a Louis Vuitton handbag — amounts to an ostentatious display that will provoke criticism from laymen,” Nopparat said.–AFP