Famous Japanese monk leaves monkhood
Published: 11 Jun 2013
Japanese monk Phra Mitsuo Gavesako, the abbot of Sunandavanaram forest monastery in Kanchanaburi, has quietly left the monkhood after 38 years.
The news has shocked many of his followers, most of whom did not expect the venerable 61-year-old monk to leave the monkhood after serving Buddhism for almost four decades.
He was still preaching last week and did not hint to anyone of his intention to leave.
An official at Maya Gotami Foundation, a charity organisation founded by the former monk, confirmed Phra Mitsuo left the monkhood at Wat Chanasongkram on Saturday, shortly after he gave his last sermon at Wat Benchamabophit.
The former monk, whose real name is Mitsuo Shibahashi, has also left Thailand, according to the official, who declined to be named.
His destination was unclear while the reason behind his decision to leave the monkhood was also not known.
Mr Mitsuo came from Iwate prefecture in Japan. He practised dhamma in India for two years before moving to Thailand in 1975. After serving as a novice at Wat Benchamabophit temple for three months, he travelled to Ubon Ratchathani where he entered the monkhood and studied dhamma and meditation with the revered monk Luang Por Cha Suphatto at Nong Pa Pong temple.
In 1990, Luang Por Cha assigned Phra Mitsuo to set up a forest monastery on 500 rai of land donated by one of his followers. The monastery was later upgraded to Sunandavanaram temple and the Japanese monk was appointed its abbot.
Mitsuo to retain links with Buddhism
Phra Nuphrom Suchato, deputy abbot to Sunandavanaram forest monastery in Kanchanaburi, issued a statement Tuesday confirming that renowned Japanese monk, Phra Mitsuo Gavesako, left the monkhood on Saturday and intends to contribute to Buddhism as a layman in his home country.
Mitsuo will continue contributing to Buddhism as a layman.
He said charity projects founded by the former monk, including the Maya Gotami Foundation, will continue without interruption because they were founded on strong fundamentals
After 38 years in monkhood, Phra Mitsuo, whose real name is Mitsuo Shibahashi, left the monkhood at Wat Chanasongkram in Bangkok on Saturday. Then he left Thailand.
There was no clear statement on the reason for his decision, but some followers cited health issues as one reason.
http://www.bangkokpost.com/learning/lea ... s-monkhood