Buddhist leader Venerable Beopjeong dies at 77
According to the Jogye Order of Korean Buddhism, he had been receiving treatment at the Samsung Medical Center as his illness worsened late last month but was moved yesterday to Gilsang Temple and passed away there. He had been suffering from lung cancer for more than three years.
He spoke some of his last words to the monks of Gilsang Temple. “If you have anything left that you own, use it in activities to make a pure, fragrant society. I now need to leave behind time and space.”
Venerable Beopjeong was born Park Jae-cheol in Haenam, South Jeolla, on Oct. 8, 1932. In 1956, he was ordained under the tutelage of Venerable Hyobong and went on to serve as the editor in chief of a Buddhist publishing company, as well as a prolific translator of the Buddhist canon into Korean.
His 1976 book Non-possession went on to sell more than three million copies and is perhaps his most recognized book, included in middle and high school curriculums throughout Korea.
He opened Gilsang Temple in December 1997 and took the helm of all religious ceremonies and committee activities conducted there.
During his lifetime, Venerable Beopjeong was noted for his efforts to tear down barriers between different religions. In 1998, he gave a special lecture at Myeongdong Cathedral in front of 1,800 Catholics on freeing oneself from earthly possessions as a religious person and coming together to overcome the Asian financial crisis.
His funeral is set to take place tomorrow at 11 a.m. at Songgwang Temple in Suncheon, South Jeolla. It will be a small, private ceremony, in accordance with the monk’s wishes. Gilsang and Songgwang temples will be open to visitors wishing to pay their respects.
By Cho Jae-eun [email@example.com]