The Korea Herald


Monk decides to return to lay life amid suspicions he has kids

By Choi Jae-hee

Published : June 26, 2023 - 14:12

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Ven. Doyeon (Facebook) Ven. Doyeon (Facebook)

South Korean Buddhist monk Doyeon is seeking to renounce monastic life and return to lay life, following revelations that he may have fathered two children.

According to the Jogye Order, the largest Buddhist sect in South Korea to which he belongs, Ven. Doyeon has officially notified the sect of his intention to leave, without giving any specific reason for his decision.

Earlier this month, allegations arose that he was the father of two children, which violates the sect’s rules of celibacy and detachment.

While Jogye-affiliated monks are prohibited from marriage or any sexual or romantic relationships, some smaller sects have no such rules.

Ven. Doyeon reportedly married and had his first child while he was a member of another Buddhist sect that allowed its monks to have families. His second child, however, is said to be born after his transition to the Jogye in 2016.

The monk’s move for laicization came as the Jogye sect has been looking into the suspicions for possible disciplinary measures.

When news of his personal life broke, Ven. Doyeon said in a Facebook post that he would stop all public activities, without clarifying the allegations. He said he would study Buddha's teachings again and devote himself to prayer and practice.

Ven. Doyeon, 37, gained fame for entering monastic life during his freshman year at the esteemed Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology. While teaching meditation at Bongeunsa, central Seoul, he has written several books on the practice of mindfulness.

Meanwhile, local publishing house Snowfox Books said it had terminated its exclusive publishing contract with him and that his books will be no longer in print.