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The 34th Japan-Korea Buddhist Cultural Exchange Conference

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Writer admin Date18 Oct 2013 Read13,872 Comment0

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The 34th Japan-Korea Buddhist Cultural Exchange Conference:
Opening hearts and holding hands in joy and harmonious unity



“In overcoming the uncertain future, we as Buddhists must remember the Buddha’s profound teachings within a shared community. We should work together and rely on each other, with our hands warmly held together, to create a world of peace and happiness through mutual coexistence.”

The 34th Japan-Korea Buddhist Cultural Exchange Conference opened with the Assembly for World Peace
on June 18, 2013 at the Buddhist Cultural Institute in Gongju city, and continued until June 20. Venerable Jaseung, the President of the Jogye Order, stated in his opening remarks, “In building the future of the Northeast Asia region together, we should keep in mind the importance of maintaining a sense of commonality between our two countries.” He further emphasized, “We must fulfill our role as a bridge between our two countries by clearing past misunderstandings and biases for our common future together.”
Ven. Jaseung added that, “We strive to represent the traditional cultural heritage of Korea through our lantern festival, Templestay and Temple Food programs. We look forward to sharing our Buddhist culture at this conference.”


The Japanese representative Ven. Shogen then spoke, “There has recently been tension between Korea and Japan, stemming from differing historical perspectives. However, in the view of Japanese Buddhism, the spread of Buddhism to Japan 1,400 years ago from Baekje Kingdom, during the reign of King Seong-myeong,
was a catalyst for Japanese cultural and civil development.” Ven. Shogen further stated, “As we reflect on the modern history of war and the suffering that was caused in Korea, we meditate with deep regret. While political tensions and conflicts still exist, we continue in our Buddhist practice of equanimity for the symbiotic relationship of our two countries.”


Following the Dharma meeting, the conference continued with a seminar oriented towards the preservation of Buddhist traditions and legacies. Abbot Hongseon of Jigji-sa temple and Ozawa Kenjyu (), the Honorary Professor of Japan’s Taisho University, gave presentations.
In reviewing the history of Buddhism, Ven. Heungseon stated, "During the Joseon Dynasty, Buddhism failed to continue its positive leadership role and lost touch with civil society. Buddhism was left as a religion of the past and written off as a forgotten cultural tradition.” He continued, “The preservation of Buddhist traditions and legacies will be accomplished when Buddhist practitioners see the workplace as a place for cultivation, upholding Mahayana values and views of practice.”
The Japan-Korea Joint Conference Declaration proclaimed its clear opposition to the inter-Korean military invasion, support for continued work towards world peace in the original spirit of Buddhism, a direct and clear perspective on historical events to resolve conflicts and further Japan-Korea relations in the future, and continued academic and cultural exchanges between the orders and temples of the two countries.
With over two hundred participants from Korea and Japan, the conference continued with a pilgrimage to Gwangsu-sa, Donghak-sa and Gaetae-satemples and a visit to the administrative headquarters of the Jogye Order of Korean Buddhism.
 

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