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12th Korea, China, Japan Buddhist Goodwill Conference
“We will increase the role of Buddhism in society.”
The 12th Korea, China, Japan Buddhist Goodwill Conference was held at Yokohama, Japan, October 16~18, 2009. Buddhist leaders from the three countries met to share friendship and discuss ways to increase the societal role of Buddhism. Prayer service for world peace, academic lectures, and a welcome banquet were part of the three-day program. In the prayer service, each country took turns chanting, representatives gave talks for world peace, and a resolution was made to work together to increase the societal role of Buddhism.
The representative for Korea, Ven. Jikwan said, “We must reconsider the great importance of the role of the Buddhists from our three countries who have inherited the lineage of the Mahayana, in making a PureLand or land of peace during these difficult time ripe with conflict and strife. Let us practice great compassion by holding aloft the vajra of peace to bring to fruition the wishes of beings for peace.”
A resolution was created together, which partly read: “If each country can know the societal role and apply them faithfully, a wonderful world will be created where all can live together in harmony. The three nations will work together and constructively carry out our roles.”
Academic lectures were held on October 17 with lecturers from the three nations. The theme was how to increase the role of Buddhism in society in accord with Buddhist principles. Japan’s Ven. Niono Nichiko said in his presentation, “There are many societal issues that our three nations must address. We must work together with people from the government, education, economy, and other fields based on the foundation of the teachings of Buddha, which are great compassion, magnanimity, and equality. This would be the sincere wish of the Buddha.”
Specific plans to increase the societal role of Buddhism was also presented. Korea’s Ven. Bokwang, a DonggukUniversity professor, pointed out the importance of the internet as a tool for dharma propagation. He said, “The uniqueness of the internet medium is that it can disseminate information infinitely, transcending national borders. It is essential that our Buddhist communities must utilize this tool, especially using Electronic Buddhist Text Initiative (EBTI) as the focus. EBTI is an initiative to computerize all Buddhist text.”
Ven. Sukawara Hitoshi from Japan added another idea, “Our three nations should make a informational document to illustrate the great virtues of Buddhist eating culture (which stresses frugality, environmentalism, vegetarianism, non-violence), and disseminate to the world to encourage a more enlightened eating habit. By doing this, our Buddhist objectives will be accomplished.”
At this year’s conference, 95 Korean and over 400 overall Buddhist leaders participated. On October 18, following the official conference, participants enjoyed pilgrimages to holy sites in the Kawasaki area to learn more about Japanese Buddhism. The conference ended with a light-hearted and joyous banquet.