A Buddhist monk in Thailand who earned millions of dollars for charity by energizing amulets with “supernatural powers” said he would stop the practice as he was no longer able to concentrate. The monk, Luang Poh Koon Parisutho, vowed to stop reciting incantations on the amulets and ordered the entire stock in his temple to be sold at discount prices. Luang Poh said he has lost his concentration since his nephew and business manager, Boonrieb Chanpheng, was shot and injured by unknown assailants. Most Thais wear Buddha amulets around their necks in the belief that the tiny images, made of clay, bone, ivory, or gold, bring good luck and prosperity. Amulets blessed by Luang Poh are in great demand, and people from all over Thailand flock to his temple, in Nakorn Rachasima province, some 130 miles northeast of Bangkok.

Since Luang Poh gained national fame twenty years ago, the sale of his amulets has generated billions of bhat in income for his temple. The amulets are sold in a few dozen shops authorized by the temple, but scores more have sprung up in Nakorn Ratchasima, claiming to represent Luang Poh.

According to the provincial governor, the monk was disillusioned by his nephew’s shooting, suspected to be the result of an internecine dispute over the sale of the amulets. “Investigators found that the motive for the attempt on Boonrieb’s life was a conflict of interest within the temple,” the governor said. ▼

Adapted, and reprinted with permission of The Associated Press, February 16, 2002.

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