[Summary: Professional theives in temples – things people do for money]
I warn all visitors, especially Westerners, to our temple here to carry their shoes with them all the time. Even a 300 baht pair of shoes I once got new, got stolen from outside my door. The reaction seems to be “even in a Temple?” … But sense desire is sense desire, and if it takes hold of you even a temple is not out of bounds. In fact, there are professional shoe thieves in most temples, since everyone takes their shoes off and goes inside for a spell. Putting a guard or a camera on the door makes little difference as how can the guard know who is taking whose shoes ?
In the US this week thieves stole a large Buddha Rupa, to sell as scrap metal ( article ). If they know what they are doing, they can wait for morning or evening Puja and then take what they like while the monks are in the Sala. This happened in a temple in NZ several times; one time they took a huge (and expensive) bell. For the 7 foot high statue in the article one wonders how they could pick it up? In the UK thieves used to steal the lead guttering from church rooves – so no, nowhere is really sacred when it comes to sense desire. The Buddha claimed in fact that pretty much all the world’s problems could be boiled down to sense desire .
due to sense desire that … that kings quarrel with kings, nobles with nobles, priests with priests, householders with householders, mother with child, child with father, brother with brother, sister with sister, friend with friend. And then in their quarrels, brawls, & disputes, they attack one another with fists or with clods or with sticks or with knives, so that they incur death or deadly pain …
… that (men), taking swords & shields and buckling on bows & quivers, charge into battle massed in double array while arrows & spears are flying and swords are flashing; and there they are wounded by arrows & spears, and their heads are cut off by swords, so that they incur death or deadly pain…
that (men), taking swords & shields and buckling on bows & quivers, charge slippery bastions while arrows & spears are flying and swords are flashing; and there they are splashed with boiling cow dung and crushed under heavy weights, and their heads are cut off by swords, so that they incur death or deadly pain M13
So take care, lest you find yourself charging a “slippery bastion” ….