The 7th International Conference Buddhism & Australia
Chinese Buddhist Encyclopedia Illustrations
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Administrator of priests
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administrator of priests
僧正 ( Jpn sojo )
An official post within the Buddhist clergy in China and Japan. In Japan, the system of supervision of the clergy, with the administrator of priests as the highest post, was established in 624 by the imperial court. Kanroku (Kor Kwalljk), a priest from the Korean state of Paekche, was appointed the first administrator of priests. In selecting the administrator, the Buddhist community recommended a priest it recognized as being virtuous to the imperial court, which then made the appointment. Later this system for supervising priests became a formality, losing its original significance. This and related titles came to be bestowed on priests simply to honor them. In 1872 the Meiji government abolished this system, but individual Buddhist schools still privately adhere to it and appoint priests of their own schools to positions similar to the administrator of priests.