The news came at meeting at Tha Reua Temple in Thalang yesterday (Nov 24), presided over by Phra Ratchasirimunee, the head monk overseeing the administration of all temples in Phuket.
Joining him were Phra Kru Metta Pirom, Abbot of Wat Mongkol Nimit in Phuket Town and head monk overseeing the administration of all temples within the diocese of Muang Phuket, as well as Phuket Vice Governor Prakob Wongmaneerung and Winya Paladkwa, the chief of the Phuket office of the National Office of Buddhism.
“Phra Kru Wijitsuppakarn the abbot of Phra Nang Sang Temple in Thalang, is now suspended from his duty while the renovation of the 35-metre-tall statue of the revered Luang Por Chaem is carried out,” said Phra Kru Metta Pirom.
“The order, signed by Phra Ratchasirimunee, states that Phra Kru Wijitsuppakarn has breached the monkhood’s code of conduct. Many people reported to the Phuket National Office of Buddhism office and posted accusations on social media of inappropriate structures at the temple,” Phra Kru Metta explained.
“Some of the claims have been found to be true. So Phra Kru Promprapatsorn, 67, who is the Thepwanaram Temple (Manik Temple) in Thalang and head monk overseeing the administration of all temples within the diocese of Thalang is now also the Acting Abbot of Phra Nang Sang Temple, effective from Nov 23,” Phra Kru Metta added.
“A committee has been set up to oversee the renovation structures at the temple. Inappropriate parts of structures must be removed.”
Among the irregular erections at the temple flamed by people in comments online, in addition to the “poorly crafted” image of the much-respected Luang Por Chaem, are a Yak (“giant”) with large exposed breasts brandhishing a machine gun and a stupa painted all pink, instead of the traditional all white.