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Congratulatory Remarks of Buddha's Birthday in the Buddhist Era 2560 (2016)

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Writer Jogye Date10 May 2016 Read11,664 Comment0


Congratulatory Remarks

By Ven. Jaseung, President of the Jogye Order

In this season, when the air is filled with a vibrant force of energy, gentle, compassionate spring winds pass through every field. Today is the Buddha’s birthday, a day filled with a hope that springs forth with life. Buddha has taught us that we are the keepers of all living creatures, and has lit the path of hopeful wisdom for us. All sentient beings are the main characters of their own stories, and during this scene, they are filled with joyous hearts.

My Dear Fellow Buddhists,

Buddha came to this world solely to realize happiness for all sentient beings. As each one of us equally possesses the most precious treasure in our hearts, he has given us the dharma of non-duality; there is no difference between high or low positions; men or women; or rich or poor, but all exist equally and nobly. Thus, he clarified that true wisdom lies in a life built upon respect towards each other and peaceful coexistence.

Yet, as we are still sentient beings, selfishness may appear to fill any void. Greed and rage, growing from the minds of sentient beings, is expressed as foolishness, inflicting scores of pains and disturbances throughout the world. These days, we often hear that the family, the bedrock of society, has been breaking down. Following the teachings of the Buddha, we should create the world of a lotus, filled with great compassion, by cultivating wisdom and an empathy that can embrace all living beings.

My Dear Fellow Buddhists,

This year, 2560 in the Buddhist era, we have gathered here today to renew our vows to create “an abundant world with a compassionate heart,” on the Buddha’s birthday. In the past, we have regarded excess consumption of material and physical comforts as abundance, created by the conveniences of the civilization. Additionally, despite having destroyed our natural environment given to us by Mother Nature, and creating conditions so poor that plants can no longer sustain their lives, we have called these actions “developments.” Holding onto our self-centered thoughts, “it doesn’t matter as long as I am well,” we have inflicted a great deal of suffering on our neighbors.

Now, we must break away from these illusions, and develop great compassion, so that ‘you’ and ‘I’ do not exist as two separate entities. Empathetically, we must look deep inward, reflecting on ourselves, and let go of our egocentricity. Thus, we can create a community that can empathize and communicate by understanding each other’s positions. Rather than dwelling on material wealth, we must work toward creating abundance in our minds as well as our community. It is my wish that we work toward walking together along the path of unity, overcoming difficulties as traveling companions, always giving each other hope.

My Dear Buddhists!

There is a saying, “The Buddha dharma is in the midst of our world. Searching for enlightenment outside of this world is like looking for a rabbit’s horn.” Only when the realization of Buddha’s teachings is achieved in this world, it is worth praising. This is the very reason why the Buddha, the awakened one, spent his time meeting with sentient beings along the roads for forty-five years. Like the Buddha, we, the Buddhists, should address the anguish of the world today, with our sincere compassion and practice.

He has come, not just for the prosperity of people and humanity as whole, but also for the reconciliation and peaceful coexistence between North and South Korea. He came to be with our neighbors who suffer from pains and despair, in the form of the great compassion of One-body. This means that all phenomena in the universe are rooted as one. We are all Buddhas, who are striving to cultivate ourselves to realize such a world. Despair to hope, conflicts to reconciliation, and distrust to faith, I wish for a bright community. On this blissful day, let us pray for the wisdom and compassion of the Buddha to fill every household in the world. Let us walk the path of practice as dharma mates.

The Buddha’s Birthday on May 14, 2016 in the Buddhist Era 2560.

Venerable Jaseung, the President of the Jogye Order of Korean Buddhism


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