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Thais have rallied round a well known Canadian monk after he was thrown out of the monkhood for having sex with a Swiss woman.
Julien Desilets has admitted on his Facebook page – which has more than 14,000 followers – that he has sinned.
Though he said it was years ago.
The former Phra Julien Apataro was defrocked following damning posts by social activist and vet Dr Somchai.
The majority of Thai posters were sympathetic to the former monk who has lived in Thailand in Sob Moei, Mae Hong Son for several decades.
They have praised him for his charitable work with Thai and Karen communities and said that like the Buddha himself facing challenges was important in the path to enlightenment.
They said he could continue that path now as an ordinary believer in Buddhism and he would continue to have their support.
Mr Desilets said on Facebook that he was asking for guidance to see the righteous path. He also said that he was rededicating himself to the poor in the wilderness and that he had never erred regarding money.
In another post Mr Desilets praised his own charitable works saying that in the last six months he had donated 20,000 kilos of rice to the needy among other unspecified donations that he had not mentioned on Facebook.
He also claimed that “all the people support me” and though he accepted that he had sinned he said he was also the subject of fake news.
His dalliance with the Swiss woman was apparently five years ago and was described in media reports as a “honeymoon trip”.
One Thai supporter Krits Thawanrat summed up the Thai feeling saying: “This is just a chapter in your long journey. It was a lesson for learning. No matter what, you are my friend”.
A request for further comment from Mr Desilets on Messenger has yet to be answered.
He is thought to be meeting immigration tomorrow regarding his new address and change of status. He is believed to have permanent residence in the kingdom.