New Year's Greeting Message by Ven. Jaseung, the President of Jogye Order of Korean Buddhism
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New Year's Greeting Message
– Be the Master of your Life –
The Year of Jungyu (丁酉年) is dawning bright. This year, 2017, is the year of the rooster, according to the Oriental calendar. In Northeast Asia, roosters have long been regarded as symbols of light shining brightly throughout the world. They are also considered to be auspicious animals that expel misfortune and attract good fortune. They greet the sun first and break the dawn by waking up sentient beings with their powerful crowing in the morning.
The current unprecedented political situation in this country has been painful and humiliating for all Korean people. We have been deeply wounded, and these scars will not heal easily. Moreover, international circumstances these days are not favorable as well. The current trend is for many countries to put their own interests first, instead of promoting global cooperation and coexistence. More than ever, our collective wisdom and intelligence are required in order to overcome these current crises. We Koreans have proven our dedication to a better world through the series of candlelight vigils held over the past three months. We have let the world see our mature sense of citizenship and we have actualized our united power and strength. These same qualities have in fact saved the country from numerous crises in the past.
Ladies and Gentlemen!
Let’s continue to greet the New Year with courageous hearts. The Chinese Seon master Linji once said, “Try to be the master of yourself, wherever you are or whatever you do, without any hindrance.” Where you are right now is the place of truth. If you can be the master of your own life, wherever you go or whatever you do, you will be the happiest and most confident you can be. If we all exercise our great collective wisdom to break through these current national crises and collaborate to build a new future together, history will record the year of the rooster as a year of hope and happiness.
In Buddhism, the rooster is the manifestation of Gundari Bodhisattva, who reduces the burden and pain of all sentient beings. It is also an expression of Jindala, one of the 12 Arahats of the Buddha, who guards the Medicine Buddha. Jindala is the guardian who saves all beings from suffering caused by societal corruption and injustice. Thus, we monastics pray for the year 2017 to be the year blessed by Jindala for the benefit of all humanity.
Just as the Korean Seon master Seosan achieved great enlightenment at the moment a rooster crowed one morning, we hope that all Buddhists realize the simple truth, “Happiness depends on our mind and practice,” and make our New Year bright and hopeful together.
May you achieve what you aspire to in the New Year.
The Buddhist Era 2561 (The Year 2017)
Ven. Jaseung, the President of Jogye Order of Korean Buddhism