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The anniversary ceremony of Ven. Beopjeong, who passed away a year ago, was held at Gilsangsa Temple on February 28. Ven. Beopjeong who wrote about and lived an upright and frugal life with few possessions, was well loved by the Korean people for his writing and life.
The ceremony, which took place after a spring rain, was attended by over 1000 faithful who admired the monk and writer. The ceremony began by sounding the bell five times. Then the refuge prayer and heart sutra were recited. Thereafter, the meal offering for the deceased was held.
This was followed by offerings of incense, tea, food, and flowers. Then, there was a video of Ven. Beopjeong. Thereafter, the spiritual head of Songgwangsa Temple, Most Ven. Boseong gave a dharma talk. Ven. Boseong said, “Ven. Beopjeong became a monk at Miraesa Temple and served his master Ven. Hyobong at Ssanggyesa Temple. He was inspired by Ven. Hyobong’s serene and strong demeanor. He never wavered but pursued a frugal way without many possessions all his life. He expressed his innermost feeling through pen and tongue. He endeavored to save all beings, those with and without connection to him. As time came, he left his last breath at Jogye Mountain.”
Ven. Boseong also gave an interesting anecdote about when Ven. Beopjeong walked 10 miles to get hot pepper paste because there wasn’t anything good to eat for his teacher Ven. Hyobong. He came back too late to even have lunch. He was Ven. Hyobong’s attendant at the time. Ven. Boseong asked the audience, “What does this story mean? As long as I live, I will never forget this story. Monks and nuns must hear this story.” Then, Ven. Boseong let out a great yelp (Zen shout from the belly).
Jogye Order President Ven. Jaseung said in his speech, “Ven. Beopjeong was always a paragon of the monastic community. Please return to us and be our teacher to awaken us.”
At the end, there was a musical performance and the choir sang one of Ven. Beopjeong’s favorite songs, “The green mountain looks at me.”
The new abbot of Gilsangsa Temple Ven. Deokun said in his speech, “I will do my best to follow the teachings of Ven. Beopjeong to make this temple clean and fragrant.” After the ceremony in the afternoon, documentaries on the life of Ven. Beopjeong, which were made by Korean TV stations, were played in the lecture hall.