VICE, July 30, 2013
"I nearly died before I became a monk," 61-year-old Bhante told me. "Too much heroin."
Something killed Bhante, but in the end it probably wasn't smack. He was found dead in a Cambodian pagoda earlier this year, and the immediate cause remains mysterious. But his efforts to lead a monastic existence in Southeast Asia – a decision that once rescued him from a life of crime – appear to be at least partially to blame for his death.
For the last 14 years he lived in Thailand, Myanmar, Malaysia, Laos and Cambodia as a Buddhist monk, under the name Bhante Pannavudho. But he soon learned that being one of the few white bhikkhu living in an entirely foreign culture was no easy path to serenity. Despite being there to conduct charitable work among orphans and the poor, country after country in Asia tried to kick him out, driving him to despair and the brink of suicide.
Read more: From heroin addict to nirvana: A eulogy to the British monk I met months before he died | VICE.com