In a bizarre trend that’s happening in cities across Canada, panhandlers dressed up as Buddhist monks are asking pedestrians for money. At times, their approach can be aggressive.
Similar incidents in Edmonton, Ottawa, Toronto and Victoria involve men wearing the traditional orange, brown or grey Buddhist robes who hand passersby a golden tickets or beaded bracelets and ask for money in return.
Those in the Buddhist community say no real monk or nun would ask for money by way of panhandling.
Chris Ng with the Buddhist Education Foundation of Canada says it’s not in the Buddhist tradition to ask for money that way and that these people are “simply imposters who try to take advantage of the kindness of strangers.”
While fundraising happens in the community, it’s done through donations boxes inside the temple or through festivals and events. She adds that monks and nuns wouldn’t leave the temple in order to solicit funds.
“I’d say if you went to any Chinese temple in our Buddhist