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Rev. Ji Kwan to Head Buddhist Chogye Order

By Kim Ki-tae, The Korea Times, Oct 31, 2005

Seoul, South Korea -- Rev. Ji Kwan became the 32nd top administrator of the nation’s biggest Buddhist order Monday, winning a majority 165 votes out of the order’s 320 representatives.

According to the Chogye Order of Korea Buddhism, the 72-year-old Buddhist monk beat Rev. Jung Nyun by 19 votes in a ballot held at Chogye-sa Temple in central Seoul. The runner-up won 164 votes. Eight votes were discounted while one vote went to a minor candidate.

With the result, Ji Kwan is entitled to lead the order for the next four years, following his predecessor Rev. Bub Jang, who died of heart attack in September.

The order?s new executive director of administration was born Dec. 9, 1932 and entered into the priesthood at Haein-sa Temple in South Kyongsang Province in 1947. He served as head monk at the temple from 1970 to 1972 and has worked as a professor of Dongguk University. He was also president of the university for four years from 1986.

Earlier yesterday, none of the 320 monk representatives gave up their voting rights, including 240 from the order?s 24 dioceses from around the nation.

The nation?s largest religious sect runs 2,000 temples, with 15,000 Buddhist monks and nuns and around 8 million followers, making it the nation?s largest religious sect. Buddhism is the biggest religion in Korea.

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