You can watch, but you can’t bet

Here in the US, we are relatively insulated from World Cup fever. But in most of the world, passions run high, and the tournament is a holiday of sorts. Even religious devotion takes a backseat to “football,” to a point. From the Chicago Tribune:

The chief of Cambodia’s Buddhist monks is cutting his charges some slack for the duration of the World Cup: They may watch the matches on television, but no cheering or getting excited. (Much like U.S. fans on Monday). And absolutely no betting. The country’s holy men — more than 90 percent of Cambodia’s 13 million people are Buddhist — normally aren’t supposed to watch TV, movies or artistic displays. But Supreme Patriarch Non Ngeth is willing to make allowances for such a special occasion as the World Cup. “The monks can watch the games on TV but they may not bet on the games,” Non Ngeth said. “So far, I have received some complaints that some monks are betting during this World Cup tournament.” According to the strictest tenets of Buddhism, monks should abstain from pleasurable activity. Gambling is a major no-no. He also says he urged the country’s monks, if they do watch the matches, not to scream or laugh. “Cheering or screaming while watching TV are acts appropriate for children,” he said.

No cheering–or gambling–in the temple | Chicago Tribune

Somehow, “a major no-no” sounds a lot less serious than “a mortal sin.”

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