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Ven. Jaseung held a New Year press conference where he announced the new “resolution for introspection and reform.” For this, he said that he will gather the will and feedback from all the temples and Buddhists of the Jogye Order. He outlined five major areas of reform: practice, culture, life, sharing, and peace. The following is an excerpt from Ven. Jaseung’s exposition on the “resolution for introspection and reform.” The press conference was held on January 26, 2011 at the Jogye Order administration building (Korean Buddhist Culture and History Center).
We are walking a difficult path now. Our order expresses our firm stand against the government and criticizes their one-way policy, which rejects communication with the people. Likewise, the Jogye Order expresses concern over the current development in society of a distorted view of Korean culture, a biased religious understanding, and the fostering religious conflict. However, on the other hand we cannot deeply reflect the reality that produced such results is ultimately from our own faults. It is a time to reflect within to reproach oneself rather than blame others and make excuses about external problems. The path of “welfare of the people and preservation of Korean culture” is not about looking outside rather it is a path of changing oneself and one’s outlook. In addition, the destination of the path must be where we are one with society, one with the Korean people, possessing a modern outlook to make a new history for Korean Buddhism. The path of Korean Buddhism is Mahayana Buddhism, which embodies the compassionate mindset of the Bodhisattva.
We purpose to develop the present “preservation of Korean culture movement” with the same mentality of the “resolution” of the “Bongamsa Temple Resolution,” which occurred 60 years ago through self-reflection and reform to completely transform Korean Buddhism, and left an indelible mark in Korean Buddhist history. Today’s resolution is to restore the pride of Korean Buddhism and to be reborn as a religion for the people.
For this reason, the governmental power that is full of distorted understanding of Korean culture and a biased religious view must vigorously walk the path of self-respect and self-reliance, which does not lean toward the left or right. It is only right that the temple properties, which are cultural properties designated by the government and is managed by governmental law should receive support from the government. However, it is a time to look for a fundamental solution no matter how difficult it may be. Although a temple construction job will take as long as 10 years (which normally would take 2 or 3 years), we must do it with our own means. In this process, we must boldly stop relying on the government and external sources. We must purify our minds and bodies, which have been become used to the comfortable situations. In addition, we must again keep within our heart the importance of the Buddhist followers and the value of the Buddhist community. We must remake the future of Korean Buddhism with the interest and inspiration of the Korean people.
Request for Discussion on the Application of the “Resolution for Introspection and Reform”
From this time forth, we request all the Jogye Order Buddhists and temples to get together to discuss how to go forth with the “resolution for introspection and reform.”
The order will proceed in making “Committees for the Preservation of Korean Culture” in the respective areas and districts. Through this process, we will go forth in the movement of this resolution. We intend to collect the viewpoints and the resolve of the elder monastics and all the monks in the meditation temples, monastic colleges, Vinaya schools, as well as lay Buddhists from various lay organizations. We will meet with social organizations and leaders to collect their advice. In order to look for the direction for Korean Buddhism and the Jogye Order, we will hold regular “Revival of Korean Buddhism” symposiums. Through this process of communication, we will clarify the will of the entire order for this resolution. In this way, the people, themselves will empower this resolution movement. We will go forth with this in five broad ways.
1. Practice Resolution: Establish the original station of Buddhism and to properly uphold religious teachings
2. Cultural Resolution: Proper understanding of Korean native culture and preserve it by ourselves
3. Life Resolution: Apply the importance of living together and the conservation of the environment
4. Sharing Resolution: Make the temples a place to share with our neighbors and society
5. Peace Resolution: Peace between religions and peace between the North and South, leading to world peace
Using this kind of “resolution for introspection and reform” as the foundation, we will continually go forth to oppose, observe, and criticize religiously biased policies, the fostering of conflict between religions, and destruction to Korean native culture.
Dear Jogye Order members and all Buddhists!
As I became the President of the Jogye Order last year, I set out our motto of “Buddhism through communication and cooperation.” I also laid out various plans for my four-year term. Now a year has passed and we have seen notable results. However, for the future of Korean Buddhism, we have come to the conclusion that a more fundamental remedy and reform are necessary. I am aware that to begin such a change is an extremely difficult task. However, I believe in the wisdom of the Buddhist community. I also believe that living by the teachings of the Buddha will gain the trust of the people.
Now, the Jogye Order is preparing a reform to sincerely earn the trust of Korean Buddhists and people. According to the direction of the order, I have made some modifications to the original plans that I presented last year. We will accomplish the revival of Buddhism by walking the path as a religion, which has the trust of Korean Buddhists and people. We rely on your great wisdom and support. I pray for the future welfare of Korean Buddhists and people. I will do my best with the same sentiment as when I daily offer three bows and incense to the Buddha. Thank you very much.