Venerable Seoljeong, the presiding executive of the Jogye Order of South Korea, the country’s largest Buddhist order, announced yesterday that he plans to resign from the organization’s leadership just days after issuing a public apology for a series of scandals that has enveloped the order and his office.*
The announcement was made following a meeting between Ven. Seoljeong and another high-ranking monk at the Jogye Order headquarters in Seoul. Ven. Sungwoo, head of the chief monks of 25 Jogye Order head temples, told a media briefing that Ven. Seoljeong planned to step down before 16 August, when the order’s central council is scheduled to hold an emergency meeting.
The reputation of the Jogye Order has been shaken by a barrage of allegations of impropriety against 76-year-old Ven. Seoljeong since his election in October last year, including lying about his academic background, misusing and embezzling the order’s funds, and secretly fathering a daughter out of wedlock.