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Buddhist Era 2555: Buddha’s Birthday Celebration Ceremony Conducted
To celebrate Buddha’s Birthday, the Jogysa temple in Seoul and other temples of the Jogye Order conducted Buddhist ceremonies and made a vow to become Buddhists that can demonstrate sharing with neighbors. On May 10th, the Celebration Committee for Buddha’s Birthday (led by Ven. Jaseung, the President of the Jogye Order of Korean Buddhism) dedicated the Buddha’s Birthday Celebration Ceremony amid the crowd of 10,000 monks, nuns, and lay Buddhist men and women.
The ceremony included Buddhist initiation rituals, blessing ceremonies, flower offerings, incense and tea ceremonies, outstanding lay Buddhist award, opening speeches, Dharma teachings, and introducing/reading the joint statement from North and South Korean Buddhists.
As a part of the effort to safeguard traditional Korean culture, and to promote introspection and organizational reformation, a various social minorities, such as the multi-cultural families, migrant workers, people with special needs, and people from other religious groups were invited rather than the community or political leaders.
Also, there was a blessing ceremony to help children develop their true Buddha nature. The children from Jogyesa temple, multi-cultural families, and children with special needs (from Seunggawon) were invited in hopes that these children will deepen their dharma connections as time progresses.
In addition, the ‘Outstanding Lay Buddhists Awards’ were awarded to Ms. Kim Hyeok (Actress), Mr. Lee Soogeun (Comedian), Mr. Lee Giheung (President of the Buddhist Athletic Association), Mr. Kim Sanggi (General, Republic of Korea Army), and Mr. Kim Joongdo (Receiving the award on behalf of his late father Mr. André Kim, a Korean fashion icon and designer who passed away in 2010).
During the opening speech and Dharma teaching, the Supreme Patriarch, Ven. Jaseung, and the President of Administration encouraged Buddhists to study and practice the Dharma more diligently. The Supreme Patriarch in his Dharma talk stated, “All sentient beings have Buddha nature, with inherent calmness and peace. Therefore, we are all Buddhas with beautiful Buddha nature, albeit incomplete. There are no truths or Buddhas outside of one’s own nature. Therefore, looking for a Buddha outside of oneself will cause one to get more lost; seeking a Buddha elsewhere will only make it go further away”. Ven. Jaseung emphasized that one of the most sincere ways to celebrate Buddha’s Birthday is to realize oneself as Buddha.
In addition, Ven. Jaseung suggested in his opening speech that social conflicts can arise from inappropriate religious and political beliefs. Therefore, we must create a society where we can accept each other’s differences in the name of ‘us’.
Ven. Ja-seung warned against the danger of incorrect religious or political beliefs, which could create more social discord. Ven. stated, “Our own religious beliefs should not be used as a tool to attack or criticize others. Moreover, political belief should not be used as a method to identify who we are or to distinguish oneself from the others.” Ven. also stated, “Jogye Order will help create a world of bright future with the rest of the Korean citizens. Through careful introspection and organizational reformation, Korean Buddhism will reborn and our precious religious teachings will return back to the society.
During the ceremony, both the North and South Korean Buddhists hosted the ‘Simultaneous Dharma talk to wish for a reunification of Korea in celebration of Buddha’s Birthday’ and issued a joint-statement, i.e., North and South Korean Buddhists’ Collaborated Speech for Reunification of Korea. The speech presented by Ven. Boseon (Representative, Central Council) declared, “Buddha’s spirit for peace and compassion, along with the North and South Korean collaborated speech shall become a guiding light for reunification of Korea. Koreans will unite our powers to bring the day of reunification in the near future. Until this day, we must continue on with our practices.”