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Foreign Buddhist Leaders Joined the 2019 Lotus Lantern Festival

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Writer Jogye Date27 May 2019 Read4,882 Comment0


Foreign Buddhist Leaders Joined the 2019 Lotus Lantern Festival

The Association of Korean Buddhist Orders has invited the representatives of the Buddhist communities from nine countries to join in celebrating the Lotus Lantern Festival for B.E. 2563. A total of 23 Buddhists leaders from Bhutan, China, Sri Lanka, Myanmar, Thailand, Nepal, Mongolia, Cambodia and Vietnam were invited to Korea to participate in the Lotus Lantern Festival where they immersed themselves in Korea’s traditional culture and offered Dharma ceremonies where they prayed for the health and prosperity of their fellow countrymen who have come to Korea as immigrant workers.

On the first day of the program, the delegation was welcomed by Ven. Wonmyeong, the abbot of Bongeun-sa Temple, a traditional temple located in Gagnnum. After sharing tea with the abbot, they were shown around the temple ground, where various lanterns were on display and drawn their attention. Their experience with the traditional Korean architecture continued on the next day when they toured Kyeongbok Place and the Blue House’s Sarangcheo, which was followed by the official welcome luncheon.

Ven. Jimin, the secretary general of the Association of Korean Buddhist Orders started the luncheon with a welcoming remark, thanking them for accepting the invitation and traveling from faraway to Korea, and the representatives from each country replied by introducing themselves and their county. After lunch, the delegation moved to N Seoul Tower and cruise ride on Han River, where they were allowed to absorb the sounds and sights of Seoul at their own pace. On the third day of the program, the Buddhist leaders from nine countries went to DMZ, where they wrote down a prayer for the peace of Korean peninsular on a piece of yellow ribbon and tied them on the wire fence around the railroad bridge that used to connect Seoul with Pyeonyang, and rung the Peace Bell installed at Imjin-gak Pavilion.

In the afternoon, they had an audience with Ven. Wonhang, the chairman ofthe Association of Korean Buddhist Orders, who welcomed them by saying, “All Buddhist countries must work together for the propagation and development of Buddhism,” and thanked them for their efforts to spiritually comfort their fellow countrymen who are working hard to make a living in Korea by officiating Dharma ceremonies.

After participating in the ceremony held in the baseball field at Dongkuk University, where the Lotus Lantern Festival was officially kicked off, the delegation joined the Korean Buddhist monastics and lay people in the Lotus Lantern parade, which started from Dongdaemun Gate and meandered through the streets of Jongro until they reached Topgol Park where they were seated and watched hundred thousand lanterns, including those made and born by the teams from their own countries, pass them by.

The next day was the traditional cultural fair, where Thailand, Nepal, Vietnam, Myanmar and other Buddhist countries operated stalls to introduce their culture and held the Buddhist ceremonies for their countrymen.

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