Head of Buddhist Jogye Order accused of engaging in sex
By Kim Susan Se-jeong
Ven. Jaseung, the head executive of the Jogye Order, the largest Buddhist sect in Korea, has been accused of engaging in prostitution at a bar in Jamwon-dong, southern Seoul. The accusation came from a former member of the order, Seongho, who also tipped the police off about six senior monks gambling by providing secret video footage earlier this month.
“Ven. Jaseung engaged in prostitution at the Sinbad bar,” said Seongho on an MBC radio show hosted by Son Seok-hee, May 15, which ironically was the day on which Ven. Jaseung started 100 days of penance as a way of repenting for the gamblers’ behavior.
Seongho said he initially accused Ven. Myeongjin but excluded him after the latter told the ex-monk he had not engaged in sex.
The Jogye executive committee has sued Seongho for libel, denying the accusation. But chaos is escalating as Ven. Myeongjin, who had been a long-time rival of Ven. Jaseung, pushes for the head’s resignation.
“Once someone distributed a document saying Ven. Jaseung had a wife and children. They beat me for it [although I had nothing to do with it,]” said Seongho. “It may seem shocking to the public, but monks have lost tens of billions of won gambling in the Philippines, Macao and Las Vegas.”
On another note, it is said that Seongho was expelled from the order due to bad behavior, violence and spreading unfounded rumors. He also opposed Ven. Jaseung during Baekyang Temple’s head executive election in 2009.