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The representatives from Korean and Japanese Buddhism shook hands in hopes of opening a new chapter in a Buddhist Friendship Exchange.
The representatives from the Jogye Order of Korean Buddhism and the Jodong Order of Japan met on July 7th in CheongjisaTemple, Yokohama for a Buddhist Exchange meeting. During this meeting, the representatives from both parties agreed to “Resolve disputes around the world and to work toward World Peace.”
The meeting was attended by the most Ven. Jaseung (President, Jogye Order of Korean Buddhism) and Ven. Ega and Ven. Shinzan (Secretary Director, Jodong Order of Japan). Through this meeting, the both parties agreed to continue on with the current momentum of great friendship and to further enhance the understanding of each other’s Buddhist Traditions. In addition, they established a mutual agreement that more efforts should be made to promote joint ventures and make more meaningful dedications for the benefit of others.
The Ven. Ega and Ven. Shinzan said during this meeting, “These devastating aftermaths of the earth quake continues in Japan. We wish to thank you for coming to Japan to pray for the diseased victims to be reborn in a good place” and added, “ We sincerely hope that through this prayer meeting, the both Buddhist lineages will get to know each other and become great friends.”
In response, the Ven. Jaseung commented, “The Jogye Order will do whatever possible to assist, whether materially or spiritually. We hope that our efforts will benefit the victims of the earthquake.” and, “We hope that these friendly exchanges between the two countries’ Buddhist representatives will help strengthen the bonds between the two Buddhist traditions.
Moreover, the Ven. Jaseung said, “The main reason for promoting such exchange is to resolve the disputes around the world and to make World Peace a reality.” in addition “Let’s have an honest discussion today in order to continue our friendly exchanges.” Also, Ven. Jaseung formally invited Jodong Order to the 2012 Buddha’s Birthday Anniversary Celebration, the Lotus Lantern Meeting (Lotus Lantern Festival) in Korea.
This is the first effort made for an exchange and collaboration to take place at the level of Buddhist Orders. Until now, discussions usually took place at a national level, between associations, or between the Buddhist Communities of the Nations. What we hope is that the meeting between the two Orders will develop into something beyond a simple exchange.
If the Jogye Order represents Korea’s main Buddhist Order, Jodong Order would also be considered to represent Japan’s main order. It is possible that when the countries’ Buddhist representatives meet to discuss the development of Buddhism, the ultimate effect will not end simply within Korea and Japan, but will influence Buddhism in Asia and possibly influence the World Religion as a whole.
In addition, the meeting between the Jogye and Jodong Order could help in globalization of Korean Buddhism. Although the Headquarter of the Jogye Order of Korean Buddhism has a long tradition and teaches excellent practices, compare to the level of global religion it would still be seen just as ‘a frog within a well.’ Korean Buddhism can adapt to more innovative practices through the exchanges with more proactive Japanese and Chinese Buddhism. This cooperation between nations is very important for the whole of Asian Buddhism.
As a result, the day’s meeting could develop into something very positive and will thrive in the near future. A great attendance by the key persons, such as the Secretaries and Directors along with 20 others, made this meeting a great success. The Jodong Order’s Chief of Financial Affairs sincerely thanked the Korean delegations with words, “There is nothing else we could possibly say, except to thank you for visiting and thank you for your great contribution.”
Earlier this year, the two representatives made a great progress through these exchanges and got to know each other well during the recovery efforts for the Japanese earthquake victims. The memorial service for the earthquake victims, took place on the 8th at the Sendai (the location where the most devastating effect of earthquake occurred last March) is the direct result of the efforts made in the past
The Jogye Order also donated 20,000,000 Yen (~$25,000) to ‘Shanti International Volunteer Association (SVA)’ through the Friends of the Path. This money will be used for the earthquake victims. On the same day, the representatives had dinner near the Sendai area and deepened the sympathy for the victims.
The Ven. Hyegyeong (Director, Department of Social Affairs of Jogye Order) stated, “We decided to continue on with our friendly exchanges” and added “Although we are now taking a first step forward, we should try not to hurry but build trust and rapport slowly through a continuous effort.”
Meanwhile, the Jogye Order representatives held a memorial service for the victims of the earthquake on the 8th, a between visit from July 6th to the 9th. The representatives will also visit the students of NorthEasternKoreanSchool, a pro-North Korean residents living in Japan called the Jochonghyeon. Also, the main location where the earthquake took place will be visited so that prayers can be made for a swift recovery to take place.
The Jogye Order representatives also attended the 800th Jeongto Order Anniversary Celebration on July 6th, which took place at the GwangmyengsaTemple in Kamakura, Japan.
The Jogye Order Representatives consist of approximately 20 Venerable, starting from the most Ven. Jaseung, Ven. Seongta (Abbot, Bulguksa-Head Temple for the 11th District of the Jogye Order), Ven. Jeongnyeom (Chairman, Special Advising Committee of Jogye Order), Ven. Hyegyeong (Director, Department of Social Affairs), Ven. Seonghyo (Director, General Affairs), Ven. Gyeseong (Director, Department of Dharma Propagation), Ven. Woncheol (Director, Department of Education/ Research Institute for Buddhist Studies), Ven. Jin Gwan (Korea Buddhist Order Association ) and many others.