Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Throw this blog in the garbage

Hyun Gak Sunim has a new blog that is worth checking out in my opinion. As many of you may know, he is a very charismatic and engaging public speaker and happens to be one of my favorite public Zen teachers.

Below you can see a small excerpt from his new blog and links to various videos and talks. Enjoy!

Big mistake.
My Teacher, Zen Master Seung Sahn, used to always say, “Opening your mouth is already a big mistake.”
So, beginning this blog is an even bigger mistake, because words and phrases launched out into the crackling digital ether of the Internet have a half-life of infinity: When we say something with the mouth, unless it is recorded, at least the words and sounds can fizzle back into the Nothing from whence they came.  But digital marks and images — while also being fundamentally empty — still maintain the power to affect, long after they have been typed and launched.  Big mistake!

Cloud Path: The Weblog of Hyun Gak Sunim 

Bodhidharma to America: Public Lecture Series in Audio

Video Lectures on The Diamond Sutra

Monday, January 30, 2012

Dharma Talk - Screw Authority

Talk Given By: Hae Doh Sunim
Sunday, January 29, 2012
Duration - 20:38

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Listen to other previous Dharma Talks here.

Pope Urges Silence For Better Communication

A great example of shared interfaith teaching. 

 Pope Benedict XVI is asking everyone to quiet down.
In his annual communications message released Tuesday, Benedict extolled the sounds of silence. He said a little bit of quiet makes people better listeners and better communicators by giving them more time to think about what they are hearing and saying.
And in a world inundated by Tweets and 24-hour news coverage, that precious time to think and reflect gives words greater value, he said.
"Joy, anxiety and suffering can all be communicated in silence – indeed it provides them with a particularly powerful mode of expression," he said in his written message.
This year, his attention turned to the need to occasionally tune out the social media information overload to allow time for greater reflection. He called for striking a balance between silence, words, images and sounds.
"By remaining silent, we allow the other person to speak, to express him or herself, and we avoid being tied simply to our own words and ideas without them being adequately tested," he said.
He noted that sometimes the most authentic communication takes place in utter silence, "between people who are in love: gestures, facial expressions and body language are signs by which they reveal themselves to each other."
Silence also allows for greater discernment about what is really worth listening to, Benedict said. 

NPR - Tibetan Areas Rocked By Protest

Frustrated Tibetans this week staged some of the largest protests against Chinese rule in nearly four years. Chinese security forces responded by opening fire on demonstrators, killing up to four and wounding more than 30, according to Tibetan rights groups.
The demonstrations were inspired — in part — by a disturbing new trend in Tibetan dissent: Tibetan people lighting themselves on fire.
By most accounts, this week's violence began with leaflets that were distributed in a Tibetan region of China's far-western Sichuan province. At least one leaflet urged people to protest Chinese rule by not celebrating Chinese New Year, which began Monday.
Since last March, 16 Tibetans have doused themselves with fuel and set themselves aflame to protest China's restrictive political and religious policies.
A video posted online last year shows a Tibetan teenager lying on a street, his blackened body still smoking. Women scream and one repeats the name of Tibet's spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama....

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Samsara: The movie

Samsara is a word that describes the ever turning wheel of life. It is a concept both intimate and vast – the perfect subject for filmmakers Ron Fricke and Mark Magidson, whose previous collaborations include Chronos and Baraka, and who, in the last 20 years, have travelled to over 58 countries together in the pursuit of unique imagery. Samsara takes the form of a nonverbal, guided meditation that will transform viewers in countries around the world as they are swept along a journey of the soul. Through powerful images pristinely photographed in 70mm and a dynamic music score, the film illuminates the links between humanity and the rest of the nature, showing how our life cycle mirrors the rhythm of the planet.

Visit the website here.

Professor researching Buddhist legal systems

University of Buffalo Professor Rebecca French, an expert in Tibetan law, is currently on a Fullbright scholarship in New Delhi, India, conducting research on Buddhist legal traditions. Hosted by Jawaharlal Nehru University, her project is titled “The Buddha’s Theory of Secular Law.”
In a piece from the UB Reporter, French explained, “The result of this project will be a book that will provide a more nuanced understanding of legal ideas during the Buddha’s life, his approach to monastic and secular legal problems, the central texts that present his legal theories and the legal policies of the first Buddhist empire in India.” She continued, “This will set a foundation for a new subdiscipline and add Buddhism to the world’s major legal traditions.”

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Dharma Talk - Superman and Suicide

Talk Given By: Hae Doh Sunim
Sunday, January 22, 2012
Duration - 20:16

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Listen to other previous Dharma Talks here.

Yamantaka // Sonic Titan

Somewhere between meditation and metal lies this artsy Canadian act.
By Jenn Pelly , January 10, 2012
for Pitchfork.

One man's trash is an art-rock band's treasure, or so goes the 2007 origin story behind psych-opera collective Yamantaka // Sonic Titan. The group's core duo of drummer Alaska B and singer Ruby Kato Attwood studied fine arts at Montreal's Concordia University, where the band sprung from attempts to transform street garbage into "approximations of Eastern instruments."

On their recent self-made, self-titled album the duo draw inspiration from their respective Asian-Canadian upbringings as they "negotiate clashes between dominant cultures and those who are oppressed" by fusing Western and Eastern sounds. Like stoner-rock imaginings of Chinese opera and flower-child psychedelia, the music blends philosophies of Buddhism, meditation, and mantra with the band's love of extreme sounds like black metal, industrial, and noise. Their name, for example, pins a reference to the Buddhist deity Yamantaka with a song title from doom metal band Sleep's Dopesmoker.

"We would perform all kinds of violent acts on-stage," says Alaska, talking about early Yamantaka shows, which blended their Zen inclinations with brutal, Gwar-like theatrics. Ruby and Alaska winkingly dubbed their sound "Noh-wave," referencing No Wave and Noh, the classical form of Japanese musical drama.

Read the interview and hear more sound clips from Pitchfork.

BUY the digital CD from iTunes or the band's website here. (I just bought it myself!)


Saturday, January 21, 2012

Matchmaking service gives Buddhist monks a boost in dating market

Buddhist monks and matchmaking services may sound like an unlikely combination, but many Buddhist sects in the country are now offering such services for their monks as their temples face a dearth of successors and possible integration with other temples.

One such sect is the Koyasan Shingon, headquartered on Mount Koya, Wakayama Prefecture.

Out of its 3,700 temples nationwide, some 800 currently have no managing monks and are being overseen by other temples.

In Japan, it is typical for relatives of monks — especially head monks — to inherit caretaker duties of their temples.

But because of a lack of successors, the monks have become desperate to find wives in order to preserve this tradition and save their temples from being closed or integrated.

According to Takua Kamei of Kongobuji, the head temple of the Shingon sect, one problem is that "the harder they pursue Buddhism, the fewer opportunities they can have to meet people of the opposite sex."

Kamei noted that families, known as "danka" in Japanese, which for generations have provided voluntary financial support to Buddhist temples, are also concerned about their temples if monks remain single and have no successors....

Continue reading on Buddhist Channel.

Officials warn of ‘fake monks’ targeting Phuket tourists

The 'monk police’ of Phuket are warning everyone on the island of con men who are impersonating Buddhist monks and tricking locals and tourists into giving them money.

Chatpawit Jinapong, Director of the Phuket branch of the National Office of Buddhism, which operates directly under the Prime Minister's Office, spoke with the Phuket Gazette about these fraudulent “monks”.

“High season in Phuket attracts a lot of these con men who dress like Buddhist monks to get money, which really isn’t appropriate. We found that most are from Cambodia, here in Phuket on tourist visas, though there are Thai fake-monks too,” he said.

On casual observation the phony monks appear to be collecting alms as part of a merit making ceremony. However, their true objective is to collect money rather than other offerings such as food.

“Thai monks follow a very strict monastic code and they do not collect alms after 8am, whereas these fake monks are collecting alms all day long,” said Mr Chatpawit.

“However, we have caught more than 10 and Phuket Immigration have deported them,” he said...

Continue reading from Buddhist Channel.

China vs. India: the battle for Buddha

With competing conferences, organizations, and cultural tours, both China and India have sought to leverage their historical ties with Buddhism for so-called soft power in the region.

India seeks to use its common cultural heritage to overcome China's ethnic ties to the overseas Chinese in Southeast Asia, and China seeks to limit the damage from its repression of religious freedom in Tibet and its incessant sparring with the Dalai Lama.

“This is part of China's effort to use Buddhism to gain an entry into Nepal, [and] to show to their Buddhists that they're showing equal attention to Buddhism outside the country,” Jayaveda Ranade, formerly additional secretary for East Asia with the Indian government, said of a Chinese proposal for the development of Lumbini.

Yadav, Nepal's president, made no mention of China before the crowd gathered at Buddha's birthplace, though in Kathmandu Wen pledged more than $140 million in aid for the building of infrastructure and other projects. Wen also agreed to consider Nepal's request to extend the 1,200 mile Qinghai-Tibet railway onward to Kathmandu and Lumbini....

Continue reading at Global Post.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Teaching Michigan prisoners the art of meditation

From Michigan Radio:

You might remember the "Three Things" series we aired in 2010… we asked people from all walks of life what we could all do to help the state. We wanted to air some positive stories in a time when many in the state were facing economic hardship. In 2011, the series morphed into “What’s Working.” We highlighted various initiatives and projects that were trying to have a positive effect on the state...

Well, for 2012, we’re going to talk with people who are standing apart from the crowd, being and making the kind of change they want to see in the state. Throughout the year you’ll hear from people making waves and going against the grain. We’ll ask them why they’re working so hard on their projects, and try to see things from their perspective. This morning we speak with Reverend Sokuzan Robert Brown. He teaches meditation in Michigan prisons.

Story can be listened to from their website here.

Monday, January 16, 2012

David Duchovny goes on Buddhist retreat, ends up cleaning tables

David Duchovny recently paid a lot of money to go on a Buddhist meditation retreat at a monastery in New York, and while many would think that you spend all of your time there meditating and relaxing, Duchovny said that they put him to work as soon as he got there.

Duchovny revealed that he ended up spending more time busing tables, working in the gardens and shoveling horse manure more than meditating. He said;

"I just went on a retreat to a zen monastery in upstate New York. It's a type of Buddhism and meditation is a big part of it. I'm a beginner, I've only been meditating for a little while. You pay a fee to go for this weekend and what I didn't know is that even though you pay a fee they put you to work immediately.”

“You go there and first you bus some tables after you eat and they had me working in the garden everyday for an hour-and-a-half. It was fun, I was shoveling horse shit out there. You pay money and then you shovel horse [expletive]!"

David went on to talk about the actual meditation process which included being wacked with a stick, and finding ways to sit cross legged for 45 minutes without your legs going numb....

Continue reading from Buddhist Channel.

Friday, January 13, 2012

Army dad told prayer flags have to go

A Hudson man is refusing to take down the Buddhist prayer flags he attached to the exterior of his rented townhouse the day his son left for basic training in the U.S. Army.

Don Chering got a phone call from his landlady last week telling him that she had received a letter from the Lighthouse Villas Homeowners Association ordering the prayer flags to be removed by the end of the month.

Chering put up the prayer flags and an American flag on Nov. 9, the day his son Aaron left for basic training in the U.S. Army at Fort Sill, Okla.

As a practicing Buddhist, the flags are his way of supporting the troops and his son’s military service, Chering says.

He told his landlady (who he said was apologetic about relating the association’s order) that he wouldn’t comply with the demand....

Read the full story at The Hudson Star-Observer here.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Are Any Christians Running for President?

While not explicitly Buddhist, this is applicable to ALL religions, including Buddhism. Simply calling one's self 'Christian' or 'Buddhist' doesn't necessarily make it true. Real religious/spiritual values and virtues are manifested in one's actions and behavior.

From Huffington Post:

I hate to belabor the obvious, but in this time of crazy politics it might serve some purpose.
Are any of the Republican candidates -- for president -- Christian?

I know that all of them except Ron Paul have repeatedly said that they are. But is saying that one is Christian all it takes to be one?

By analogy, I can say (for example) that I am brave, that I believe in marital fidelity, or that I love animals. The test of whether or not those statements are true, however, is not just that I say them over and over. To see whether or not they reflect my personal reality, we would have to look at my behavior.....

Continue reading at Huffington Post.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Buddhism and human rights: The journey to the west

The Chinese classic Journey to the West, based on the Tang Dynasty monk Xuanzang's pilgrimage to India, is actually an allegory of a Buddhist spiritual journey. Also known as Adventures of the Monkey God, it is a fitting tool to compare Buddhism and Kantian philosophy.

As fantastically explained by Venerable Khemananda in his commentary to Journey, the Buddhist way to enlightenment is allegorised by the arduous voyage to India which Xuanzang and his company must take while battling spiritual obstacles in the form of hostile demons and selfish humans. On the other hand, Kantian reasoning, which can achieve enlightened altruism, can be thought of as the spontaneous Monkey King, symbolising emerging wisdom (panna). Although he can fly to India and have an audience with the Buddha (enlightenment), Monkey can never remain there. His indispensable role is to guide the whole troupe.

Represents forming morality (sila), the gluttonous Pigsy often lapses into greed and lust and must be constantly kept in check. Both Kant and the Buddha, therefore, formulated principles for human ethics. As all humans are of equal dignity, Kant says that we must not put our needs above those of others. The Buddha also says, "On traversing all directions with the mind; one finds no one anywhere dearer than oneself; likewise everyone holds himself most dear."

Because an ethical principle is aimed as a law for all beings with equal dignity, it must be equally valid for all. To ensure this, Kant says it must pass the test of being universalised. That is, when adopted by everyone it can never be in conflict with itself....

Continue reading from The Nation

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

2012 Lecture Series Kicks Off Next Month

Just announced. 2012 Muddy Water Zen Lecture Series. Opening lecture will be on Sunday, February 19 following morning service and will also be presented at Grand Rapids Zen Center and Buddhist Temple Saturday, February 25. First lecture will be "An Introduction to Korean Buddhist Temples." Check out the attached flyer for more info and other topics this series will explore throughout the year!

Lecture Promo Poster PDF

Monday, January 9, 2012

Dharma Talk - Just Chillin'

Talk Given By: Rev. Hae Kyong Bup Sanim
Sunday, January 8, 2012
Duration - 15:50

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Listen to other previous Dharma Talks here.

Dharma Talk - The Artificiality of Time

Talk Given By: Hae Doh Sunim
Sunday, January 1, 2012
Duration - 17:34

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Listen to other previous Dharma Talks here.

Dharma Talk - A Cat Named Ghost

Talk Given By: Hae Doh Sunim
Sunday, December 25, 2011
Duration - 16:24

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Listen to other previous Dharma Talks here.

Two more monks set themselves alight in China

A former Tibetan monk has died and another is seriously injured after setting themselves on fire in southwest China's Sichuan province on Friday -- the 13th and 14th acts of self-immolation in the country since March.

A 22-year-old man set himself ablaze at a crossroad in Aba county in the Aba Tibetan-Qiang Autonomous Prefecture before police put the fire out and sent him to a local hospital, the state-run Xinhua news agency said.

Another man, believed to be 18 years old, died later that day after setting himself alight in a hotel nearby, Xinhua reported local officials as saying.

"These latest self-immolations confirm that what we are currently witnessing in Tibet is a sustained and profound rejection of the Chinese occupation," said Stephanie Brigden, director of London-based Free Tibet, which advocates Tibetan independence.
"It is a damning indictment of the international community that 14 people, in different parts of Tibet, have now chosen to set themselves on fire and the international community has failed to respond.
"We can only expect that such acts of protest will continue for as long as world leaders turn a blind eye to the desperate situation in Tibet."....

Source: CNN

S(e)oul Search: The Changing Religious Landscape in Seoul and Its Implications for Defining “Asia”

Anex2010 Fall NamiKim

Sunday, January 8, 2012

An Idiot Abroad 2 - Karl Meditates in Japan

A clip from season 2 of An Idiot Abroad where Karl goes to Japan and happens to visit a Buddhist temple. Great show, if you're not familiar, check it out!

An Idiot Abroad is a travel documentary television series broadcast on Sky1, as well as a spin-off book published by Canongate Books,[1] created by and featuring Karl Pilkington and his former radio show colleagues Ricky Gervais and Stephen Merchant.[2]

An Idiot Abroad charts Pilkington's reactions when visiting the New Seven Wonders of the World, as well as the situations he's placed in and cultural differences and idiosyncrasies in the countries he visits. It was stated by the show's producers that Pilkington has no prior warning about these situations.[3] Gervais commented: "This is a [more real] documentary than most others you'll ever see on television. We don't plan it, he doesn't know what's going to happen."

The second series premise shows Karl having to do "The Bucket List" (things to do before you die). Pilkington agreed to do a second series on the condition that he was to choose what he would do and that he got proper toilets. However to make sure the series stayed interesting, Ricky Gervais and Stephen Merchant went behind Karl's back and have made surprises for him to make him hate it even more, so like the first series he had no idea about what was going to happen.
In series 2, he visits more places than he did in the first series after making several detours through the course of the series.
The ongoing theme of both the television series and the book is that Karl Pilkington indicates he has no interest in global travel and so Merchant and Gervais make him travel, for the purposes of the documentary, while they themselves stay in London and monitor his progress....

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Korea's isolated Buddhism opening doors

In the last decade or so, a rise in the popularity of Buddhism-related practices has brought the formerly isolated Korean Buddhism much closer to everyday life, even for non-Buddhists and non-Koreans.

Meditation retreats, recreational yoga or templestay programs are now a familiar routine in the lives of many people within and outside Korea.

In this backdrop, the Jogye Order, the largest Buddhist sect under the leadership of Ven. Jaseung, has placed domestic and overseas missionary work as one of its main goals. One of the key policies of the Jogye Order, running many of Korea’s oldest and most prominent Buddhist temples, is to globalize the nation’s Buddhism which was first introduced here through China.

A U.S. chapter of the Jogye Order was established in New York in September for the first time, overseeing the administration of 30 Korean temples in the New York and New Jersey areas.

Compared to other Asian countries like Tibet, Japan or China, Korean Buddhism has largely remained inside the country.
“If Korean Buddhism was known to the world, the national brand and status could be spontaneously uplifted together,” Ven. Jaseung said during a press conference held during his Paris visit.

Ven. Jaseung said that the order will support students majoring in Korean studies at the University of Columbia in the United States every year with grants totaling $100,000 and strengthen overseas campaigns by increasing assistance to foreign monks practicing Korean Buddhism....

Continue reading from The Korea Times here.

Bridging Korean Buddhism and the West

Musang Temple has a unique history and status among the some 2,000 Buddhist temples in the nation.

Currently led by non-Korean monks, it was founded with the purpose to serve as a bridge between Korean Buddhism and the West. It is the only Buddhist temple in the nation where both the positions of the spiritual leader and the abbot are filled by foreign monks.

In just over a decade, the temple has firmly established itself as one of the most prominent international Zen centers in the country, hosting a community of foreign monks, nuns and laypeople who practice Zen following the teachings of the late Great Zen Master Seung Sahn (1927-2004).....

Continue reading from The Korea Times here.

For more information, visit

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Upcoming Buddhist Books - Early 2012

Here is a short list of upcoming Buddhist books to be published or released in early 2012.

Some notable picks are:

Discipline and Debate: The Language of Violence in a Tibetan Buddhist Monastery

Nothing and Everything - The Influence of Buddhism on the American Avant Garde: 1942 - 1962

Faces of Compassion: Classic Bodhisattva Archetypes and Their Modern Expression

Preview and Pre-Order all 23 books at Amazon.

Japanese creating management model to attract Gen Y to Buddhist temple

Keisuke Matsumoto is creating a management model to help Buddhist temples in Japan attract Gen Y based on his learnings from the Hyderabad B-school, reports Kala Vijayraghavan

A year ago, a 32-year-old Buddhist monk completed a post-graduate programme from the Indian School of Business (ISB), Hyderabad, the B-school that's known to have everyone from dancers to scuba divers as students. Keisuke Matsumoto from the Komyoji temple in Japan is now busy putting to practice his learnings by creating a new management model for modern Buddhist temples in Japan. His focus is to attract more members of the millennial generation to these places of worship.

Matsumoto is working on updating Buddhist temples to meet the modern needs of people without disturbing their religious traditions.

He is also recommending the MBA programme of ISB to other monks so that they can pick up basic lessons in management that can help in running temples and coping with issues better through analytical and strategic thinking.

"As a Buddhist monk, being an MBA graduate doesn't make any difference to my position or rank in the temple. But it makes a difference to the quality of my work," says Matsumoto. "While Buddhism is my life, I am not satisfied with its current situation. To promote Buddhism among modern people, we have to make it more relevant," he adds.....

Continue reading at The Economic Times.

In the Footsteps of Wonhyo -- A 21st Century Korean Pilgrimage

When the idea struck Tony MacGregor in 2007 to start a more than 400-kilometer-long modern-day pilgrimage in the footsteps of Wonhyo (617-686), Korea's most beloved monk, he wanted it to be more than just paying homage to the respected Buddhist figure.

So he gathered other expats who agreed with his cause, and on the morning of Sunday, Dec. 4, a five-member group set out on the journey that started in the southeastern city of Gyeongju, capital of Korea's Silla Kingdom, and ended in Dangjin, a short distance west of Seoul, last week.

"For the three years I had lived in Korea I was always touched by the kindness and generosity of Koreans," says the 66-year-old Canadian journalist. "Paying homage to one of Korea's most beloved monks was my way of giving something back to the country."

The pilgrimage itself is the first of its kind ever undertaken in honor of the revered monk, who found enlightenment in Dangjin in the 7th century while attempting to travel to China for more intense study of Buddhism. The story goes that he and a close friend took shelter from heavy rains one night while traveling. Wonhyo stumbled on what he thought was a gourd and quenched his thirst with cool drink from it. The next morning, he discovered that the gourd was a human skull and that the drink he found so refreshing was stale water....

Continue reading at Yonhap

In the Footsteps of Wonhyo

Bad Buddhist Vibes

Buddhism is America’s fastest-growing religion, and it’s making some people uncomfortable

At least 2 million Buddhists currently practice their religion in the United States, and many of their fellow citizens disapprove. A survey conducted by political scientists Robert Putnam and David Campbell, coauthors of American Grace: How Religion Divides and Unites Us (2010), endeavored to determine how Americans perceive the nation’s major religions and found that Buddhists rank second to last, above only Muslims, writes James Coleman in Buddhadharma (Fall 2011). The same survey reports that whereas a large Christian church coming to their neighborhood would be acceptable, a large Buddhist temple would raise objections from one in five Americans.

The negative image seems to stem from a lack of publicity, which has contributed to the sort of ignorance that fuels fear. “Buddhism has remained something of a stealth religion, virtually invisible to most people outside our cosmopolitan coastal enclaves,” explains Coleman, who entreats practitioners to enter the public discourse, especially since the faith has become America’s fastest-growing religion with numbers rivaling those of Mormons, Muslims, Anglicans/Episcopalians, and practicing Jews. Coleman points to His Holiness the Dalai Lama for inspiration, not only because of his peace-loving message, but also because of his carefully crafted public image.

From UTne

Venerable Ji-kwan Passes Away At the Age of 79

A revered Buddhist monk here in Korea, the Venerable Ji-kwan, has passed away at the age of 79 after battling chronic asthma for many years.

A former chief executive of the largest Buddhist sect in the country, the Jogye Order, Venerable Ji-kwan died late Monday evening at Gyeongguk temple in Seoul.

The Buddhist monk had been under medical treatment since September as his health rapidly deteriorated with age.

Venerable Ji-kwan was known as a studying monk in Korean Buddhism who founded the Kasan Institute of Buddhist Culture, a research institute dedicated to the study of Buddhism and devoting most of his life to publishing Buddhist books.

A memorial altar will be set up at the Haeinsa temple in South Gyeongsang province later this morning and a cremation rite will be held on the 8th of this month.

About Ven Ji Kwan

Ven. Ji-Kwan was born Dec. 9, 1932 and entered into the priesthood at Haein-sa Temple in South Gyeongsang 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.

Ven. Ji Kwan became the 32nd top administrator of the Jogye Order, Korea's biggest Buddhist order in 2005, winning a majority 165 votes out of the order's 320 representatives.

Ven. Ji Kwan led the Jogye Order for the next four years, following his predecessor Ven. Bub Jang, who died of heart attack in September 2005.

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.

Read more at The Korean Herald

The Buddhist Channel.

Buddhist Leader Stressed Simpler Lifestyle, Mind

Monk's crusade helps Korean history go home

A pledge by Japan to hand over cultural artefacts from the Korean peninsula's last dynasty has been welcomed in South Korea -- particularly by a monk who spent four years trying to make it happen.

Shocked to discover that valuable items -- including royal records of the Chosun Dynasty (1392-1910) -- were still held by Japan after its 1910 annexation of the peninsula, Hye Moon, now 37, began a campaign for their return in 2006.

"I wondered why such precious cultural properties had yet to be returned to our country," Hye, who lives in Seoul, told AFP.

Then on Tuesday, after more than 40 trips to Japan intended to persuade politicians and lawmakers, Hye finally got the news he had long sought ahead of the August 29 centenary of the annexation.

Japan's government issued a fresh apology for the 1910 - 1945 colonial rule and said it would hand over the items South Korea had been demanding "in the near future"...

Continue reading from The Buddhist Channel.

The Real Buddha Bar, Tended By Tokyo Monks

By Lucy Craft for NPR: