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Ven. Jaseung Is New Head of Jogye Order

By Cathy Rose A. Garcia, The Korea Times, Oct 22, 2009

Seoul, South Korea -- A young and progressive monk, Ven. Jaseung, was elected as the new head of the Jogye Order of Korea Buddhism, Yonhap News reported Thursday.

<< Ven. Jaseung

The 55-year-old, who is the former chairman of the Central Council of the Jogye Order, succeeds Ven. Jigwan as the 33rd Jogye Order Administrative Executive Director.

Ven. Jaseung garnered a whopping 91.48 percent of the votes during the election.

Out of 320 monks eligible to vote in the elections, 317 cast their votes. He received 290 votes, beating out two other candidates for the position by a wide margin.

The two candidates were Ven. Gakmyeong, the 58-year-old head monk at Cheonggye Temple, and Ven. Daewu, a 63-year-old who headed the Board of Administration at Jogye Order of Korean Buddhism.

"I will work towards opening a new future for Korean Buddhism," Ven. Jaseung said, after he was elected. He also said he plans to give more focus on communication and harmony among the Buddhist orders.

Ven. Jaseung will begin serving his four-year term starting Oct. 31, after senior members confirm the election results Oct. 23.

As administrative executive director of Jogye Order, he will oversee the organization's annual budget of 30 billion won.

The Jogye Order is the biggest Buddhist order in Korea with 2,501 temples and 13,860 monks around the country. It has been practicing for over 1, 200 years, from the Unified Silla Kingdom (57 B.C.-935 A.D.), but it was officially established in 1962.

Ven. Jaseung was born in 1954 in Gangwon Province. He joined the Jogye Order in 1986, and has served as the chief of the finance and administrative affairs offices. He is also currently chief director of the scholarship foundation Eunjung Buddhist Promotion Institute.

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