Phra Ajahn Mitsuo Gavesako leave the Buddhist monkhood?

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Ajahn Mitsuo Gavesako

Postby Mr Man » Mon Jun 10, 2013 9:34 am

I have just read a tweet from someone at the Nation newspaper in Thailand:
"Famous monk Ajahn Mitsuo Gavesako reportedly left the Buddhist monkhood. No official statement from his foundation yet. via various sources".
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Phra Ajahn Mitsuo Gavesako leave the Buddhist monkhood?

Postby mahaviro » Mon Jun 10, 2013 10:11 am

I heard that Phra Ajahn Mitsuo Gavesako leave the Buddhist monkhood and more of newspapers in Thailand were released news about this today.
He became part of the first generation of Ajahn Chah’s followers. and then he has been a famous monk in Thailand.
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Re: Phra Ajahn Mitsuo Gavesako leave the Buddhist monkhood?

Postby gavesako » Mon Jun 10, 2013 9:50 pm

This will come as a real shock to many Thai Buddhists who did retreats at his monastery in Kanjanaburi, where he also just constructed a special stupa which received relics from the royal family. He was very prominent on the Thai internet and media, teaching masses of laypeople and having lots of activities with charities. It seems he was not that close with any other senior monks from Wat Pah Pong and did not have many monk disciples who could take over from him. Apparently he was strongly interested in various spiritual and healing stuff and admired people with special physical abilities and mental powers as well.

(By the way, it was not me who disrobed... At least I will not have to keep explaining now that I am the "Gavesako Noi" and not the "Gavesako Yai".)

See http://www.bangkokpost.com/breakingnews ... s-monkhood
Bhikkhu Gavesako
Kiṃkusalagavesī anuttaraṃ santivarapadaṃ pariyesamāno... (MN 26)

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Re: Phra Ajahn Mitsuo Gavesako leave the Buddhist monkhood?

Postby Cittasanto » Tue Jun 11, 2013 6:20 am

Hi,
Interesting, and sad in many ways. I have enjoyed and found useful his writing when I have come by it!

But Bhante, what is the "Noi" and "Yai" mean?
This offering maybe right, or wrong, but it is one, the other, both, or neither!
Blog, - Some Suttas Translated, Ajahn Chah.
"Others will misconstrue reality due to their personal perspectives, doggedly holding onto and not easily discarding them; We shall not misconstrue reality due to our own personal perspectives, nor doggedly holding onto them, but will discard them easily. This effacement shall be done."
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Re: Phra Ajahn Mitsuo Gavesako leave the Buddhist monkhood?

Postby gavesako » Tue Jun 11, 2013 7:37 am

"Yai" means big in Thai and "Noi" means small. :quote:

There is another announcement here http://www.bangkokpost.com/news/local/3 ... s-monkhood

Apparently Ajahn Mitsuo (layman) will start teaching meditation courses in Japan from now on, with the help of the foundation that he was previously working with.
Bhikkhu Gavesako
Kiṃkusalagavesī anuttaraṃ santivarapadaṃ pariyesamāno... (MN 26)

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Re: Phra Ajahn Mitsuo Gavesako leave the Buddhist monkhood?

Postby gavesako » Tue Jun 11, 2013 10:02 am

Famous Japanese monk leaves monkhood
Published: 11 Jun 2013

Japanese monk Phra Mitsuo Gavesako, the abbot of Sunandavanaram forest monastery in Kanchanaburi, has quietly left the monkhood after 38 years.

The news has shocked many of his followers, most of whom did not expect the venerable 61-year-old monk to leave the monkhood after serving Buddhism for almost four decades.

He was still preaching last week and did not hint to anyone of his intention to leave.

An official at Maya Gotami Foundation, a charity organisation founded by the former monk, confirmed Phra Mitsuo left the monkhood at Wat Chanasongkram on Saturday, shortly after he gave his last sermon at Wat Benchamabophit.

The former monk, whose real name is Mitsuo Shibahashi, has also left Thailand, according to the official, who declined to be named.

His destination was unclear while the reason behind his decision to leave the monkhood was also not known.

Mr Mitsuo came from Iwate prefecture in Japan. He practised dhamma in India for two years before moving to Thailand in 1975. After serving as a novice at Wat Benchamabophit temple for three months, he travelled to Ubon Ratchathani where he entered the monkhood and studied dhamma and meditation with the revered monk Luang Por Cha Suphatto at Nong Pa Pong temple.

In 1990, Luang Por Cha assigned Phra Mitsuo to set up a forest monastery on 500 rai of land donated by one of his followers. The monastery was later upgraded to Sunandavanaram temple and the Japanese monk was appointed its abbot.


Mitsuo to retain links with Buddhism

11/06/2013
Online news

Phra Nuphrom Suchato, deputy abbot to Sunandavanaram forest monastery in Kanchanaburi, issued a statement Tuesday confirming that renowned Japanese monk, Phra Mitsuo Gavesako, left the monkhood on Saturday and intends to contribute to Buddhism as a layman in his home country.

Mitsuo will continue contributing to Buddhism as a layman.

He said charity projects founded by the former monk, including the Maya Gotami Foundation, will continue without interruption because they were founded on strong fundamentals

After 38 years in monkhood, Phra Mitsuo, whose real name is Mitsuo Shibahashi, left the monkhood at Wat Chanasongkram in Bangkok on Saturday. Then he left Thailand.

There was no clear statement on the reason for his decision, but some followers cited health issues as one reason.

http://www.bangkokpost.com/learning/lea ... s-monkhood
Bhikkhu Gavesako
Kiṃkusalagavesī anuttaraṃ santivarapadaṃ pariyesamāno... (MN 26)

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Re: Phra Ajahn Mitsuo Gavesako leave the Buddhist monkhood?

Postby householder » Wed Jun 12, 2013 2:07 am

Was fortunate enough to attend a dhamma talk he gave as part of a delegation visiting Malaysia. A shame there won't be the opportunity for another (not going to Japan any time soon). Wishing him well on his new path.
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Re: Phra Ajahn Mitsuo Gavesako leave the Buddhist monkhood?

Postby gavesako » Wed Jun 12, 2013 3:53 pm

Bhikkhu Gavesako
Kiṃkusalagavesī anuttaraṃ santivarapadaṃ pariyesamāno... (MN 26)

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Re: Phra Ajahn Mitsuo Gavesako leave the Buddhist monkhood?

Postby forestmat » Fri Jun 28, 2013 7:44 am

I wish Mitsuo well - but can't help thinking he looks a bit sad in these photos -

"Former monk Mitsuo Gavesako, who was abbot of the renowned Sunandavanaram forest monastery in Kanchanaburi, left the monkhood to pursue an ordinary life which allows him to have a normal intimate relationship with a woman."

http://www.bangkokpost.com/breakingnews ... or-a-woman

and here https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=683622346
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Re: Phra Ajahn Mitsuo Gavesako leave the Buddhist monkhood?

Postby Mr Man » Fri Jun 28, 2013 8:46 am

forestmat wrote:I wish Mitsuo well - but can't help thinking he looks a bit sad in these photos



I'm sure it must all feel a bit odd.
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Re: Phra Ajahn Mitsuo Gavesako leave the Buddhist monkhood?

Postby gavesako » Fri Jun 28, 2013 10:10 am

Of course it shocks people who saw him still as a monk only a few weeks ago. But really he did not violate the Vinaya rules of the monk, so there is no problem in that respect.

We have had such cases before, and they tend to follow the same pattern: The monk gets more famous, starts teaching laypeople and travelling a lot, without much time for his own seclusion and training the junior monks. Eventually he runs out of energy and motivation, feeling also cut off from the Sangha, so there is a sense of inner lack. Eventually, feeling burdened by it all, he gives up the struggle and ends up in the warm arms of some woman who is just waiting for her chance. Sometimes the woman might be more active (the 'predator' type).

They give a typical Thai-Buddhist explanation of their romantic connection by saying it was บุพเพสันนิวาส (pubbe-sannivasa, being connected for many lifetimes by performing good kamma together and therefore wanting to re-unite):
http://www.thairath.co.th/content/edu/354008
:group:
The fact that the woman is also a follower of Dhammakaya should not come as a surprise: As the owner of a health and beauty clinic (she looks good for age 50) she would be attracted to the Dhammakaya style of merit-making in order to achieve success and wealth and beauty in this life and the next. And Ajahn Mitsuo's teaching was also kind of aimed at achieving a 'healthy mind' through doing simple breathing meditation exercises (some of them close to Qi Gong or yoga) and maintaining a positive attitude by avoiding destructive emotions. That is why he was so popular with laypeople, but not with monks.
Bhikkhu Gavesako
Kiṃkusalagavesī anuttaraṃ santivarapadaṃ pariyesamāno... (MN 26)

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Re: Phra Ajahn Mitsuo Gavesako leave the Buddhist monkhood?

Postby gavesako » Fri Jun 28, 2013 3:05 pm

Now you can even learn Thai and English with this story:

http://www.bangkokpost.com/learning/lea ... ok-reveals

Buddhist Monk Vocabulary

Phra Mitsuo Gavesako - the Japanese monk and abbot who is the subject of this article, famous for promoting reading Dhamma books among young people (See Facebook & book project)

monastery - the place where monks live วัด, ที่อยู่ของพระ (See Wikipedia)
a forest monastery - a special kind of traditional Thai monastery located in the forest, a monastery in the Thai Forest Tradition (See Wikipedia)

monkhood - being a monk, living as a monk, life as a monk, the community of monks or "Sangha" สงฆ์ (See Wikipedia)
enter monkhood - start living as a monk
leaves monkhood - stop living as a monk
left monkhood

Mitsuo left monkhood for a woman

abbot - the head monk at a temple เจ้าอาวาส
Bhikkhu Gavesako
Kiṃkusalagavesī anuttaraṃ santivarapadaṃ pariyesamāno... (MN 26)

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Re: Phra Ajahn Mitsuo Gavesako leave the Buddhist monkhood?

Postby forestmat » Sat Jun 29, 2013 10:07 am

Really none of my business, but seems pretty quick to me to get married only days (20 to be precise) after having been a monk for 38 Pansaa.


Famous ex-monk marries

http://www.bangkokpost.com/breakingnews/357521/mitsuo-marries-thai-woman-in-japanese-hometown
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Re: Phra Ajahn Mitsuo Gavesako leave the Buddhist monkhood?

Postby gavesako » Sat Jun 29, 2013 10:18 am

He says in the video that he has just signed the marriage certificate. He was in robes as a monk for 38 years and never thought that he would disrobe. But after meeting this woman, he realized they had shared the same kamma in the past (a 'parami couple') and have performed good actions together (pubbe sannivasa), so they have become re-united.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sHlg3gcOYkI

Here is an article discussing this topic:
It is not surprising that due to the joint kamma and determination made together through many lifetime, we can easily meet our spiritual partner again in our lives striving as a monk or nun. When one meet one's long time spiritual partner, the strong bond and attraction held through many lifetimes become very hard to break. The kammic bond of reuniting with one's long time spiritual partner is very different from the usual association with laypeople- of which is not much of an issue to a seasoned practioner who follows the Vinaya and applying asubha practices. And usually, the monk or nun who have been adept at meditation practice will recognize his /her own spiritual partner when it comes to meeting back with the person.
I have seen a few cases whereby monks (some well known) who have been practicing for decades, and teaching laypeople and meditation for years get stuck when they are presented with this challenge. Often, this issue is not really addressed openly even among the monastic community and therefore the practioner who is encountering this issue finds it hard to deal with because it is a totally new level.
In this article, I have compiled some sources relating to advice by past Ajahns on this issue.

http://thaiforesttradition.blogspot.com ... ships.html

:console:
Bhikkhu Gavesako
Kiṃkusalagavesī anuttaraṃ santivarapadaṃ pariyesamāno... (MN 26)

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Re: Phra Ajahn Mitsuo Gavesako leave the Buddhist monkhood?

Postby Anagarika » Sat Jun 29, 2013 12:14 pm

All the more reason why I have such respect for the Bhikkhus that keep the precepts and stay in robes through their lives. It's not an easy gig, but such a valuable one.

As for former Phra Mitsuo, if he maintained his precepts, and then disrobed in order to consummate (and I mean this in a general sense) his relationship with is spiritual partner, then some credit should be given to him. If the story were that they had been consorting physically for years, that would be very disappointing.

I did not know of Phra Mitsuo from before this story. Bhante's account, above, rings true...the former Phra Mitsuo and Ms. Muttamara are a good match....he with a national reputation and she with wealth and political influence. If he had married a shopkeeper, I might feel that this was simply a love connection, but Ms. Muttamara and he will likely be heard from again, perhaps in a wider political or religious arena. It's a one plus one equals three kind of deal.

(adding on to this comment w/edit )...noting that Mitsuo is of Japanese origin, and one article stating that he is in Japan and plans to teach meditation. My first thought is that it would be a good thing, at the end of the day, if he became a jhana or meditation teacher in Japan, and brought more of the Pali Canon and its original, unadulterated teachings to the people of Japan. The Japanese have been immersed in their own unique brand of 13th century "alt-Buddhism" and the likes of Dogen....there's a part of me that wants the Buddhadhamma to develop in Japan, especially as Japan faces so many societal issues with greed, stress, and commercial delusion among its young people. Maybe Mitsuo is the man to help the Japan Theravada movement to strengthen its wings.
Last edited by Anagarika on Sat Jun 29, 2013 1:35 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: Phra Ajahn Mitsuo Gavesako leave the Buddhist monkhood?

Postby BlackBird » Sat Jun 29, 2013 1:23 pm

Just one Bhante Gavesako now huh :)

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Re: Phra Ajahn Mitsuo Gavesako leave the Buddhist monkhood?

Postby Mr Man » Sat Jun 29, 2013 5:14 pm

Ven, Gavesako, Have you seen how many hits that video clip has received in just one day?

Reading the first anecdote in your link, Ajahn Thate says "They take the sort of vision that I have just mentioned as genuine, as truly signifying that they had been husband and wife in a previous life", which seems to contradict the introduction by the blogger.

:anjali:
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Re: Phra Ajahn Mitsuo Gavesako leave the Buddhist monkhood?

Postby gavesako » Sat Jun 29, 2013 8:13 pm

This story has been front page news in Thai media and it comes as a shock to see a well-known monk married so quickly after leaving the robes. Some of his followers feel it is too much too soon. So the way to justify it in terms of the 'pubbe sannivasa' concept is understandable, given the Thai belief in kamma and previous life connections.

However, like with any other belief, it can be grasped wrongly as we can see from the following case:

Lovestruck man nabbed for kidnap of ‘wife from three previous lives’
The engineer said three soothsayer monks agreed he and the doctor were bound by destiny.
They assured him Dr. Pen-ampai was a reincarnation of his wife in his previous three lives. She had committed suicide because he had cheated on her in the last one, he said.
He said he was not mentally ill and regretted causing her any trouble. ...

http://thaibuddhism.net/sanity.htm


Also, as Ajahn Jayasaro pointed out, there is no a priori reason why, after being together for so many lives already, one should not decide to quit rather than continue this endless cycle. (There is in fact a Sutta in which a virtuous couple ask the Buddha how they could meet again in the future life, and he instructs them to cultivate the same level of the virtues which will draw them together again.)

This one is the locus classicus for 'pubbe sannivasa' in the 20th century Thai monk literature:

Ajahn Mun's The Spiritual Partner - touching story
http://thaiforesttradition.blogspot.com ... rtner.html
Bhikkhu Gavesako
Kiṃkusalagavesī anuttaraṃ santivarapadaṃ pariyesamāno... (MN 26)

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Re: Phra Ajahn Mitsuo Gavesako leave the Buddhist monkhood?

Postby binocular » Sat Jun 29, 2013 9:08 pm

forestmat wrote:Really none of my business, but seems pretty quick to me to get married only days (20 to be precise) after having been a monk for 38 Pansaa.

To this to a woman who is in the business of investing in medicine to combat the aging process!

The woman who revealed on her Facebook page she is the person closest to former Phra Mitsuo, whose real name is Mitsuo Shibahashi, is Suttirat Muttamara, 52. She is a sister of Democrat MP Vithayen Muttamara and also chairwoman of Q Medical Centre Co which in 2011 announced the investment of up to one billion baht to build a hospital to combat the ageing process.
http://www.bangkokpost.com/learning/lea ... ok-reveals
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Re: Phra Ajahn Mitsuo Gavesako leave the Buddhist monkhood?

Postby purple planet » Sat Jun 29, 2013 9:28 pm

That is why he was so popular with laypeople, but not with monks.
I think this important to whoever reads this story and gets doubts - that he was a bit controversial even before leaving
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