Thais shocked by monks' conduct

Bangkok, July 3 (IANS) Thais have been shocked after a well known monk ended his monkhood to marry a woman while another was found to be leading a lavish lifestyle.

Respected for his spiritual practice, Japanese monk Phra Mitsuo Gavesako, former abbot of a forest monastery in the western province of Kanchanaburi, has quietly dumped monkhood after 38 years, reports Xinhua.

The news shocked many of his followers, most of whom did not expect the venerable 61-year-old to leave give up monkhood after serving Buddhism for almost four decades, reports Xinhua.

It turned out that he fell in love with a Thai woman and decided to spend life with her.

Mitsuo was still strongly criticized even though he has properly quit the monkhood before living with the woman.

More shock was in store for Thais, who are mostly Buddhists, after video clips showing three monks riding in a private jet, wearing stylish aviator sunglasses and carrying a brand name travel bag spread on the Internet.

It was later revealed that one of the monks was Phra Wirapol Sukphol, better known by the Thais as Luang Pu Nen Kham Chattiko.

Later, a photo of the 34-year-old high-profile monk sleeping with a person who looked like a female was circulated on the Thai net sphere.

Local media Manager online reported that the monk has eight wives and two children.

Relationship with females are strictly prohibited for monks, and lavish lifestyle is considered a violation of the monks' precepts.

As monkhood prohibits monks to be employed and to rely only on donation, the news has led to the question of the source of his income and whether it is legal or not.

In the latest development, the Thai authority had investigated into the monk's asset and found 16 banks accounts belonging to him, which have more than 200 million baht ($6.4 million) in constant circulation.

The Anti-Money Laundering Office said it has banned the monk and his associates from transferring any assets.

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