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Jogye Order president apologizes for inappropriate behavior of monks

 The president of the nation’s largest Buddhist sect released a statement of apology on Friday, following the release of a video clip recorded last month showing its high-ranking monks gambling and drinking at a luxury hotel.

Amidst mounting criticism directed at the sect, the Most Ven. Jaseung, president of the Jogye Order of Korean Buddhism, vowed to conduct a thorough investigation into the incident and carry out heavy punishment against those involved according to the laws and regulations of the sect.

“I apologize to all people including Buddhists for causing them disappointment and concern regarding the recent shameful incident,” said the Most Ven. Jaseung.
Ven. Jaseung, head of the Jogye Order (The Korea Herald)
Ven. Jaseung, head of the Jogye Order (The Korea Herald)

He said he will bow 108 times every morning as a way to repent for the wrongdoings.

“I ask the people of the nation and Buddhists to watch our process of repentance,” said the Most Ven. Jaseung. The Jogye Order leader will begin his work every morning at 8 a.m. by offering 108 bows for 100 days starting next Tuesday.

A video clip showing eight monks gambling and drinking at a luxury hotel suite in Jangseong, South Jeolla Province, was revealed when Ven. Seongho, who claims to have found the video file on a flash drive, filed a complaint to the Seoul Central Prosecutors’ Office on Wednesday.

According to him, the flash drive was left in front of a Buddha statue at an undisclosed temple by an unknown person.

The disgraceful incident came to light just before Buddha’s Birthday on May 28.

With the case stirring up heated controversy, six members of the Jogye Order’s head office offered to resign en masse on Thursday.

Insiders claimed that opponents of the Most Ven. Jaseung, the rival group that lost the election for the top post in the Buddhist sect, secretly recorded the incident and released the video with the aim to topple the current leadership.

More damaging disclosures could be made in the coming weeks, insiders said.

By Lee Woo-young  (wylee@heraldcorp.com)
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