Venerable Beopjeong’s body sent to Suncheon

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Venerable Beopjeong’s body sent to Suncheon

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President Lee Myung-bak joins his hands in prayer yesterday to pay respects to the late Venerable Beopjeong at a mourning altar in Gilsang Temple. By Cho Mun-gyu

While thousands of Buddhist followers watched yesterday morning, the body of the late Venerable Beopjeong was transported to Songgwang Temple in Suncheon, South Jeolla, where his body will be cremated at 11 a.m. today.

Respecting the monk’s dying wish, there were no colorful funeral odes or lotus decorations, as if the Buddhist spiritual leader was giving a sermon on his mantra of “non-possession.”

President Lee Myung-bak, an elder of a Protestant Christian church, visited the Venerable Beopjeong’s mourning altar before the procession, paying respects to the Buddhist leader who died Thursday.

Senior Blue House and government officials accompanied the president to Gilsang Temple in Seongbuk District, northern Seoul. Before the late Buddhist leader’s portrait, Lee burned incense and bowed three times.

“I have always admired Venerable Beopjeong and read many of his books,” said Lee. “I am saddened by his death. He left us with great lessons.”

During his lifetime, Venerable Beopjeong wrote many books, including the widely read “Non-possession.” Perhaps keeping that in mind, Lee said, “He particularly left important lessons to those who possess much.”

Lee also had tea with Venerable Jaseung, the head of the Jogye Order, the largest Buddhist sect of Korea.

The president’s visit to the Gilsang Temple to mourn the Buddhist leader’s death took place amid the latest friction between the Buddhist community and the Lee administration.

Last month, the Jogye Order issued a statement contending that the National Intelligence Service had exerted pressure to cancel a gathering scheduled to take place inside Jogye Temple. Buddhists and the government grew at odds shortly after Lee took office in 2008. As Buddhists’ anger about perceived Christian favoritism in the Lee administration deepened, in September 2008 President Lee expressed regret for the poor relations.

By Ser Myo-ja [myoja@joongang.co.kr]
Related Korean Article

[법정 입적] 오늘 오전 송광사에서 다비식


법정스님의 법구가 13일 오전 11시 송광사 다비장에서 다비된다.

전날 서울 성북동 길상사를 떠나 출가 본사인 순천 송광사로 이동해 문수전에 모셔진 법정스님의 법구는 이날 오전 10시 문수전을 출발해 송광사 전통 다비장으로 이운된다.

밤새 조문객을 받던 문수전은 법구 이운 준비를 위해 이날 6시부터 통제됐다.

법정스님의 법구는 길상사를 떠나던 모습 그대로 대나무 평상에 모셔진 채 가사를 덮은 상태로 스님 10명이 운구하게 된다.

오전 10시 송광사 경내 범종이 108번 울리는 것을 시작으로 법정스님의 법구는 움직이기 시작한다.

문수전을 떠나 대웅전에서 부처님께 마지막 삼배를 올린 법구는 송광사 입구 주차장에서 약 800m 떨어진 언덕에 있는 다비장으로 1시간 동안 이동한다.

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