The controversial abbot of Sam Yak monastery in Phetchabun, Phra Kasem Ajinasilo, has voluntarily left the monkhood, after his public confession that he engaged in gay sex with a male follower - a serious violation of Buddhist morality.
At a press conference yesterday at the temple after he quit, the former monk, who used his lay name Kasem Duangphaengmart, showed up in a white robe and said he would still observe dharma and remain at the monastery while continuing to preach.
National Office of Buddhism director Thanthep Muenyuth said yesterday that although the former monk, 55, was regarded as having left the monkhood due to his confession, an investigation by a local monastic office based in Nam Nao district into his self-confessed sodomy with a male follower would continue unabated.
The former monk had been known for his eccentricity and the way he interpreted Buddhist teachings and the Tripitaka canons, but had never been tainted by prior sexual misconduct with women, or men. Nonetheless, he has a large number of loyal followers.