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The Speech for New Year’s Day, 2018 by Venerable Seoljeong, the President of the Jogye Order of Korean Buddhism

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Writer Jogye Date28 Dec 2017 Read202 Comment0

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My Fellow Countrymen!

The morning has dawned on the Year of the Yellow Dog in 2018. May all the goals you set out to accomplish this year come to fruition easily. 

A new beginning is always filled with hopeful energy. Last year, everyone in our society combined their strengths to pave a new road of hope. Here at the order, we too have embarked upon a new journey with the 35th administrative body, eagerly anticipating the beginning of atonement for our household. This fresh start helps us fortify our vows and determination to construct a better community. Encountering the smile of each devotee during a morning chant is not only a prayer for oneself, but also the true manifestation of Buddha’s compassion. Their absolute, unwavering faith and Buddha’s power of aspiration form a loop, each strengthening the other.

Let us walk the path of practice in our lives. A saying goes, “Cheonsa buryeo ilhaeng (千思不如一行).” Though you may think deeply and make ardent vows millions and millions of times, thoughts and words are never as good as putting your vows into practice. Together, we should begin with something small. Let us now start with unspoken words of heartfelt appreciation, or just a gentle smile. Likewise, if we begin to treat our families and neighbors like the Buddha, a harmonious new world order will light up the way before us.

We must set ourselves free from the materialism and selfishness that sicken our society. With the power of aspiration, determination and fairness blooming in our hearts, we must walk together towards the world. With strong, focused determination, the power of our potential truly awakens. Now, we are finally able to overcome our most serious concerns, regarding national security, problematic diplomacy, and financial difficulties.

As we know, it is the Year of the Yellow Dog. In Buddhism, Sulsinjang (戌神將) is a symbol of loyalty and fidelity, and has been regarded as the manifestation of Ananyagāmin Bodhisattva (正趣菩薩), who is an icon of perseverance and artistic talent. The true value of artistic talents and cultures can only flourish in peace and stability. Henceforth, each one of us must value life and peace above all else. As fighting disappears, harmony comes forth. The spirit of peace can only bud in a land free of conflicts. A world of unity and peace would truly be the land of Buddha that we all desire so very much.

My Dear Dharma Brothers and Sisters!

In this New Year, we choose to explore our full potential, through our true practice, our sect’s priorities, and the stabilization of our order. We must not abandon the practice for ourselves, as we each lead our busy lives. We can strengthen our inner world only when each one of us can put our great individual efforts into zealous practice.

Let us work diligently to cultivate ourselves. Going beyond the practice of purifying our sect, this tradition will become a beacon of light, illuminating the roads in our society. By uniting our thoughts, let us build a Buddhism that fosters respect and devotion.

It is my sincere wish that this year will bring all Koreans hearts full of hope and happiness. With bright wisdom and a compassionate heart, I wish all of you a joyful opening to this New Year. 

May the New Year Bring You Abundance and Health!

The Morning of the New Year, Buddhist Era 2562 (2018)

Most Ven. Seoljeong, the President of the Jogye Order of Korean Buddhism

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