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“… Communications among diverse religions and religious communities are the key to the world peace…”
Foreign Minister Ban Ki-Moon, the next UN Secretary General, paid a visit to Master Jikwan who is the Executive Director of the Jogye Order on the 24th in the press room of the Korean Buddhist Culture and Heritage Center.
Master Jikwan, warmly embracing the Minister Ban, expressed his feeling of excitement, “Mr. Ban’s appointment as the UN Secretary-General is an honor of the nation.” “I am deeply privileged, and I thank all Koreans, especially Buddhists in this country, who encouraged and prayed for me,” said Ban.
Ban’s mother, Mrs. Shin Hyun-Soon is known to be a very devoted Buddhist and has been a 50-year frequenter to Seongdeoksa Temple in Chungju, in which the memorial tablet of her late husband, Ban’s father, is kept and annually serviced. Mrs. Ban Ki-Moon, Yoo Sun-Tag, is also a faithful Buddhist herself, praying for her husband in Jogyesa Temple on a regular basis. “My mother has been going to the temple almost every day for her entire life, and because of her influence I was exposed to Buddhism at an early age and earned my life-long philosophy of being merciful and benevolent”, he said.
He expressed his determination to use the position to ensure that he would do his best to implement what is expected of him. “Many countries in the world highly valued the progresses that Korea has made in the field of Justice and Human rights, as well as in its economy.” He said he solicited support and cooperation from Master Jikwan and every nook and cranny of Korean Buddhism. He also emphasized the importance of communication among various cultures and religious communities when he mentioned the nuclear programs of North Korea.
Master Jikwan added to what Ban said, “…the inter-cultural and inter-religious communications are the key to the world peace as we unanimously acknowledged at The World Religious Leaders’ Conference held in September in Kazakhstan.” Master Jikwan asked Mr. Ban to take good care of his health, both mind and body, now that his new mission is highly important but very demanding.
Receiving a Maitreya sculpture of Baekje Dynasty, a Miniature Bell known as Emile Bell, and a bronze tablet of Tripitaka Koreana, “I would globalize Korean Buddhism and let the world know about it,” said Ban.
The next UN Secretary General will start his transition work in New York as of November 15th, and will officially take over his post on January 1, 2007.