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“One Hundred Thousand Lotus Lanterns Shone on the World”
Taking place in Dongdaemoon Stadium, around Jongno and JogyesaTemple
“I hope that the power of 1700 years of Korean Buddhism, which succeeded the tradition of Trishksha (threefold learning: shila, Samadhi, and prajna), with the flame of wisdom shines on the world the most brightly”
The Lotus Lantern Festival, sharing the meaning of the Buddha’s coming to the world, took place in Dongdaemoon Stadium and along a part of Jongno on the 4th of May, with around three hundred thousand Buddhists, citizens, and internationals participating.
In this Festival, grand lanterns like Four Guardians, Lions, Elephants, Water and Moon Avalokiteshivara, Dooly and others were newly introduced this year and drew admiration from watchers, and one hundred thousand lanterns made waves around Jongno.
The Lotus Lantern Festival drew down the curtain of a finale called Daedong Hanmadang, with guests Sucheol Kim, Hyeonseong Kim, the band Urinara, and others, and started at 9:30 at Jonggak Intersection.
Before this, at Dongdaemoon Stadium at 4 pm, the Lotus Lantern Dharma Assembly and Uwoolim-madang (an event for bonding people together) took place with fifty thousand Buddhists joining in. There, the President of the Jogye Order of Korean Buddhism, Ven. Jigwan, said, “While watching the dance of lotus lanterns shining on our faces beautifully and lighting the whole world, let’s try not to forget the Buddha’s love toward sentient beings who came to us after having endured vast expanses of time,” and he proclaimed the opening of the Lotus Lantern Festival saying, “Let’s parade powerfully all together with hearts filled with the Buddha‘s aspiration.”
Celebration on the Buddha’s Birthday in 2008
Joint Declaration on the Aspiration of the Unification of the Two between North and South Buddhists
“We vow to have a new era of unification and peaceful prosperity”
Greeting the Buddha’s Birthday in Buddha era 2552, the joint declaration between North and South Korean Buddhists who aspire to unification of the two was announced. Through the writing of the declaration, Northern and Southern Buddhists revealed that “Regardless of the Buddha’s sublime meaning, we have not escaped from the suffering of the 60-year-long separation. If this situation continues, we Buddhists will not achieve the aspirations of getting rid of the suffering of sentient beings and giving pleasure to them, with compassion, and the construction of the supreme PureLand in this world.”
They continued saying, “With the occasion of a simultaneous dharma assembly, we declare before the Buddha that we vow to get rid of the suffering from separation and confrontation, and to open a new era of unification and peaceful prosperity”; they also assured, “For the revival of the nation and Buddhism, we Buddhists will actively get started for peace protection with keeping the rules of the actions of buddhas and bodhisattvas and the principle of peace”.
The Joint Declaration between Northern and Southern Korean Buddhists is planned to be announced at the Dharma Assembly celebrating Buddha’s Birthday which will be held simultaneously on May 12th, at temples in North and .
Celebration of the Buddha’s Birthday in Buddha Era 2552 (2008)
The Joint Declaration between North and South Korean Buddhists aspiring to the unification of the two
Today greeting the Buddha’s Birthday we hold the “Simultaneous Dharma Assembly by North and South Korean Buddhists aspiring to the unification of the two Koreas on the Buddha’s Birthday in Buddha Era 2552 (2008)”, and all of us Buddhists vow to offer the changeless will of unification and that aspiration, before Buddha.
Buddha came to this world to liberate all the sentient beings from suffering and for the peace and welfare of mankind. However, regardless of Buddha’s sublime meaning, we have not escaped from the suffering of the 60-year-long separation. If this situation continues, we Buddhists will not achieve the aspirations of getting rid of the suffering of sentient beings and giving pleasure to them, and the construction of the supreme PureLand in this world.” With the occasion of having today’s meaningful simultaneous Dharma assembly, we sincerely vow to get rid of suffering from separation and confrontation and vow to open a new era of unification and peaceful prosperity.
Buddha possessing wisdom and compassion!
Our sincere wish is unification.
Unification can not be given by someone, nor can it be replaced by anything.
We Buddhists will gather all our might to advance the day of unification.
War is the worst evil deed for human beings and peace is the source of all kinds of fortune.
We Buddhists will actively lead the practice of protecting peace by keeping the rules of buddhas and bodhisattvas and by keeping the ideology of peace, for the revival of the nation and Buddhism.
To Koreans, true patriotism is unification, and we Buddhists are brothers and dharma friends who have to establish the work of unification by becoming one, and to blossom Buddhism as having happiness and pleasures together in the land of unification. We will try to realize the union of the nation with one mind, and actively lead to spread the practice of peaceful prosperity.
Always bless infinite protection and energy before us who try to advance unification of the nation with intrepid effort without retreating.
Namo Sakyamuni buddha
Namo Skyamuni buddha
Namo my teacher Sakyamuni Buddha
Buddha Era 2552 (2008) May 12th
“Simultaneous Dharma Assembly between North and South Korean Buddhists wishing for the Unification of the two and celebrating Buddha’s Birthday”
All Buddhist Participants
Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue
Message sent to Buddhists on Buddha’s Birthday in 2008
Christians and Buddhists who take care of the Earth
1. Greeting Buddha’s Birthday, on behalf of the Vatican Communication Council between Religions, I send warm words of congratulation to Buddhist communities all over the world.
2. I am very glad when I think of the positive relationships between Catholics and Buddhists, which have continued for so long. I am sure that when we try to build a better world, not only for ourselves but also for the whole of humanity, such a foundation will contribute to strengthening and deepening mutual understanding. Through our experiences, we learned that communication promotes the volition to share the traditional good will and harmony in individuals and communities, to go closer to others with more courage, and to confront coming challenges and difficulties willingly.
3. In the message of World Peace Day, Pope Benedict XVI remarked as follows: “To mankind, our house is the earth which was given by the Creator God to us to live in with creativity and responsibility. We have to look after the earth. The earth was given to people to be protected and be taken care of, with responsible freedom that has the unchangeable criteria of securing everybody’s benefit” (article 7). The General Assembly of the UN declared 2008 World Earth Year. As the owners and believers of the earth, Christians and Buddhists respect creation in the same way and have similar interest in promoting the protection of the environment that we all participate in.
4. Putting special attention on environmental protection, sustainable development, and climate change is the main interest of all the people. Many governments, NGOs, multinational companies, institutes, and higher education establishments not only share professional ideas but also give support financially for the diversity of races, reduction of climate change, and environmental protection and preservation, with the recognition of the ethical meaning which has been revealed from economic and social development. Religious leaders also contribute to the public discussion. Such contribution, of course, is not only from the reaction to recent, more severe threats related to global warming. Christianity and Buddhism have always respected nature and have taught that human beings have to look after the earth with a mind of gratitude. Only deep insight about the holy Creator, creation, and God’s handiwork prevent all the efforts to handle environmental issues from being stained with individual greed or falling into difficult situations due to benefiting only specific groups.
5. In the concrete dimension, Christians and Buddhists need to cooperate more to confirm the responsibilities which are given to us respectively, don’t you think? Recycling, energy reduction, stopping indiscriminate destruction of animals and plants, protection of watercourses and other matters need careful management, and actually they promote good will and increase friendly relationships among people. Therefore, Christians and Buddhists can become the leaders of hope for a clean, safe, and harmonious world.
6. Dear Buddhists, I believe that through education, we can send this message well in our own communities, by showing respect for nature and desirable examples of respectably handling the earth, which is our only home and where we live together. I’d like to congratulate you once again and I hope you happily greet Buddha’s Birthday.
Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue
Chairperson, Cardinal Jean-Louis Pierre Taurane
Secretary General, Archbishop Pier Luigi Celata
Congratulatory message on Buddha’s Birthday from KNCC.
Congratulations on Buddha’s Birthday in Buddha Era 2552.
All religions have common ground to try for peace, and embrace everything which takes place in this world with love and compassion. I hope such a meeting to be richer.
Strengthening my will to realize world peace and inter-religion dialogs which complete myself, and to fulfill the work of spreading hope more faithfully, I want to send congratulatory greetings to all the Buddhists who meet the clear and bright Buddha’s Birthday like the fragrance of May.
National Council of Churches
Director Gweon, Ohseong
Tlanslated by Kim Soo Hee