Lao Buddhist Fellowship to enforce rules on monks’ use of social media

Buddhist Monks in LaosVIENTIANE (Vientiane Times/ANN) – The Lao Buddhist Fellowship Organisation will start circulating its regulations on the use of social media by monks at the end of this month.

The committee responsible will visit selected parts of the country to explain the regulations which were issued in 2017 by the Sangha (monk) administrative committee under the Lao Buddhist Fellowship Organisation.

The objective is to improve the image of monks in the eyes of the general public with regard to the use of social media.

Member of the Permanent Supreme Sangha Cabinet and Director General of the Headquarters Office of the Central Lao Buddhist Fellowship Organisation, the Most Venerable Dr Damrong Phimmajak, said the Fellowship has asked the committee concerned to circulate the regulations starting from April 29 until May 7.

“The regulations were issued and announced in 2017. This year the Fellowship again publicised them and the committee responsible has discussed the matter and made plans to disseminate them throughout the country,” the Most Venerable Dr Damrong said.

It has been observed that despite the regulations some monks and novices use devices such as smartphones to post information, photos, videos and comments on social media in ways that are deemed to be improper.

This led to criticism by members of the public about their inappropriate behaviour. Some people said monks and novices were using social media networks inappropriately and were not following Buddhist values.

The Most Venerable Dr Damrong said “The Central Lao Buddhist Fellowship Organisation has worked with other groups to address this issue. Regulations on the use of social media by monks have been issued, but this the year the Fellowship will actively disseminate them in temples around the country.”

“We will start by meeting with senior monks in each province, who will then circulate the regulations to each district and temple. We believe this will help to ensure that monks, novices and nuns use social media in ways that are more acceptable and comply with the regulations.”

“This does not mean that the Fellowship bans monks, novices and nuns from using communication devices or social media, but we want to implement controls. The Fellowship encourages monks, novices and nuns to post items that promote their work or activities in ways that enhance their image and are beneficial to society. We expect them to fully comply with the regulations so that our efforts to circulate them are productive.”

As well as publicising the regulations on the control of social media use, the committee will also review and disseminate the monks’ administrative constitution, laws and principles.

During the upcoming Buddhist Lent, the Fellowship will also review the work of its associated sections and divisions, and publicise the monks’ administrative constitution, laws and principles in Vientiane and the provinces.


Buddhist monks in PDR Laos


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