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Buddhist Cremation Ceremony

Photographer: Jeon Heon-Kyun


The Buddhist cremation ceremony called Dabisik was held for Ji-Kwan, a former head of the Jogye Order of Korean Buddhism, at the Heain-sa temple in Hapcheon, 310 km south of Seoul, South Korea. Venerable Ji-Kwan, who served as head of the Jogye Order from 2005 to 2009, died at the age of 79 at the Gyeongguk temple in Seoul on 02 January 2012, after suffering from chronic asthma, an official of the order said. Born on 09 December 1932, he entered into the order at the 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 over which he presided for four years, from 1986-90. Ji-Kwan was renowned for his vast knowledge of Buddhist scriptures, and in 1991, set up a Buddhist culture research institute using his private funds. In 2001, the South Korean government awarded him the second-highest order of culture in recognition of his contributions to promoting Buddhist culture. The Buddhist cremation ceremony that was held for Ven. Ji-Kwan is called ‘Dabisik’. It signifies returning the human body to nature. The procedure first sees the setup of a pyre made of wood, charcoal and thatched bags. After the casket was put on it and the fire was set, an homage service is held. After the burning is completed, the bones are gathered out of the ashes, crushed and ground up.