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Buddhist Leader Stressed Simpler Lifestyle, Mind

The Buddhist Channel, Jan 3, 2011

Ven. Ji-Kwan, head of the Jogye Order from 2005 to 2009 dies after long illness

Seoul, South Korea --  Leading Korea Buddhist leader, Ven. Ji-Kwan, has died on Monday evening after a long illness. He was 79.

The late Ven. Ji-Kwan who once headed the Jogye Order, the largest Buddhist sect in Korea have always stressed about the need for mutual support and a simpler lifestyle and state of mind.

"The things that we would like to avoid like pain, despair, and ongoing disputes are the reality that we must undertake, and the things that we would like to live with, like wealth and money, are those that we must release. They are the shadows of desire,'' he said.

"Yes, life will be difficult, not only in Korea, but also globally. People are worried but we must not avoid the reality. We must overcome things, and we must do this spiritually. The most important way is to control our minds. We must be modest and stop searching for luxury and wealth. If we have a clear mind, we can overcome anything,'' Ven. Ji Kwan stressed.

When asked in 2009 if he was satisfied with his past three years as the director, Ven. Ji Kwan laughed and said he still had a long way to go.

The 76-year-old head stepped down as the head of the Jogye Order in 2009.

"Personally, some plans were successfully completed, while some still need more work. In the case of the children's enlightenment programs, I think we still need to work more, but the fact that we started with children was an important step. We have also worked on various temple stay programs for the past three years, and I am glad that many people, including foreigners, know about them better compared to the past,'' he said.

Ven. Ji-Kwan Sunim founded the Kasan Institute of Buddhist Culture in 1990. It is a research institute dedicated to the study of Buddhism and in particular in compiling an-eighteen-volume Kasan Encyclopaedia of Buddhism in Korean language. So far, ten volumes have already been published.

Venerable Jikwan Sunim was also the Head of Jogye Order of Korean Buddhism. Jogyesa is the head temple of the Jogye Order of Korean Buddhism and is located in the heart of Seoul city centre. The Jogye Order of Korean Buddhism represents the history and traditional culture of 1,700 years of Korean Buddhism.

Funeral arrangements are under way. More information to come.

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