Vietnamese authorities have ordered monks at a popular Buddhist pagoda to stop "soul summoning'' and "bad karma eviction'' ceremonies after an investigation found the rituals were a scam.
The state-run Lao Dong (Labor) newspaper says tens of thousands of worshippers have been paying the 18th century Ba Vang pagoda in northern Quang Ninh province between 1 million and several hundred million dong ($45-$13,500) to have their bad karma vanquished.
The Committee for Religious Affairs, a government body, issued a statement on its website Friday saying "the ritual goes against Buddhist philosophy and violates Vietnam's law on religion and folk beliefs. It has a negative impact on social order and security.''
Monks at the pagoda teach that all illnesses and misfortune result from bad deeds in previous lives.