A woman, who has been the subject of speculation in previous weeks as the reason for renowned Japanese abbot Phra Ajahn Mitsuo Gavesako leaving the monkhood, has introduced herself publicly through her Facebook page.
A single mother, 51-year-old Suttirat “Ann” Muttamara runs a widely known medical beauty centre. Her Facebook page carries a number of undated photos showing her posing with the former monk, now wearing normal clothes.
Suttirat is an elder sister of former Democrat Party candidate Vittayen Muttamara, who served as a secretary to a former PM’s Office minister in the Abhisit Vejjajiva government, and is now the director of the Democrat-run satellite television, Blue Sky Channel.
Traditionally, Buddhist monks in Thailand who take a vow of celibacy are not allowed to closely associate with women. Such social restrictions and Buddhist disciplines – which bar them from even touching women – is what earns them reverence from their followers.
The former monk, a Japanese national, was highly revered throughout his nearly 38 years in the monkhood. He was especially praised for his profound sermons and strict observations of Dharma.
Debate has been widespread as to whether he left the monkhood before or after his intimacy with the woman.
Mitsuo, whose family name is “Shihabashi” and is now believed to have returned to Japan, was scheduled to make a video statement yesterday over allegations that his relationship with Suttirat began after she allegedly drugged him and then threatened to blackmail him if he reported her.
However, Mitsuo has made no statement.