Buddhist Rev. Soongsan Passes Away

By Kim Tae-jong, The Korea Times, Dec 1, 2004

Seoul, Soth Korea -- Buddhist Rev. Soongsan, Great Zen Master of the Chogye Order of Korean Buddhism, died Tuesday at Hwagyesa Temple in Seoul. He was 77.

Soongan was born in 1927 in Sunchon, South Pyongan Province, which is now part of North Korea. In 1949, he studied under the guidance of Rev. Kobong at Sudoksa Temple in South Chungchong Province.

Soongan devoted his life to spreading Korean Buddhism abroad. Beginning at Hungbomwon Temple in Japan, he established around 120 temples in more than 30 countries over a span of 40 years.

For his missionary work, he received the plaque of appreciation from the Chogye Order of Korean Buddhism in 1996 and the World Peace Award from the Conference of World Peace and Culture in 1985. He published four books, including ``Kun Sunimgwaui Taehwa (Talk With Great Buddhist)'' and ``Sanun Purugo Mulun Hulroganda (Mountain Is Green and Water Runs).''

He also became the chief of Hwagyesa Temple in 1958 and was the first president of the Buddhist Newspaper in 1960.

Soongan's funeral will be held Thursday at Sudoksa Temple.