A man apprehended for stealing money from a temple’s donation box in central China made an audacious claim that Buddha himself gave him an “OK” to do it.
Key details: The man, identified only as Ye, admitted to helping himself to the donated money at the Shuangyan Temple located in Yiyang, Hunan province, after being questioned by police on July 8.
According to local media outlet Jimu News, officers from the Yiyang County Public Security Bureau arrived at the temple after they were notified of suspicious activity within the premises.
They were told that a man wearing a black-and-red T-shirt had been frequently spotted near the Earth deity’s shrine, glancing at the donation box.
Unlikely justification: Following an investigation, the officers identified the suspect as Ye and apprehended him at his residence. Upon questioning, Ye told authorities that the Buddha statue granted him permission to take the money as indicated by its hand gesture resembling the widely recognized “OK” sign.
In Buddhism, the gesture of pressing together the thumb and forefinger is called vitarka mudra
, which symbolizes an uninterrupted flow of wisdom in the transmission of the teachings of the Buddha.
Financial hardship: Ye said he had encountered financial difficulties in recent weeks and maintained he only proceeded to take the cash due to Buddha’s gesture.
He said he first noticed that the donation box was often left unattended in June while he was washing his clothes at the ponds near the temple. According to Ye, he took money from the temple several times but assured the Buddha statue that he would eventually return the funds when his financial situation improves.
Ye’s confession provided enough evidence for the police to charge him with theft. He was sentenced to 12 days of administrative detention as punishment for his misdemeanors.