Monks can consume ice cream after lunch time, Buddhism Office says

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The National Office of Buddhism says ice cream is not "Pana" or fruit juice and that it can be consumed by monks but with conscience.

Clarification from the office came after “ice cream” went viral on the social media when a Facebook user invite Buddhists to offer ice cream as alms to Dhamakaya temple in merit-makings.

But question was raised if ice cream is Pana water which monks can consume or not after lunch time.

However director of the Buddhism Education Division of the National Office of Buddhism Mr Boonlert Sopha explained that ice cream is not Pana water, therefore monks can consume as normal and does not violate Buddhism principles.

However he advised that monks should consume ice cream in a controlled manner or with conscience.

Yesterday ice cream maker Unilever came out to defend itself saying it had nothing to do with the post on Facebook offering ice cream as alms to Dhammakaya temple monks.

The Facebook poster suggests estimating the price of ice cream to offer as alms in cash and offer them as donation to the the temple instead.

The poster said his “ice cream” alms is just his idea of making donation to the temple and he then suggested to others on Facebook, wasn’t aware of triggering a public outcry.

A mass communications academic Prof Parichart Stapitanond said any price assessment of alms for donation is tantamount to put commercial purpose in Buddhism.

This could have direct impact on the particular product or increase interest in it, she said.

As the temple has been a focus of criticism from the public, such invitation to offer ice cream as alms could negatively affect the temple, she added.