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Dharma Talk(Most Ven. Wonhaeng, the president of the Jogye Order)

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Writer Jogye Date06 May 2020 Read4,971 Comment0


April 30, 2020-Buddha’s Birthday

Dharma Talk

Everywhere we go, our eyes feast on flowers blooming in a splendid glory. Tender shoots in chartreuse hues unfurl like flower petals. The whole world is ablaze with red and green colors under the sparkling blue sky, transformed into Lumbini filled with fluttering flower petals raining down in the air.

About two thousand and six hundred years ago, the baby Buddha was born in Lumbini. With every step he took, red lotus blossomed underneath his feet, and those lotus flowers turned into majestic lamps that illuminate the entire heaven. By lighting a lotus lantern, we bring light to the ignorance in our mind, dispelling our greed and delusion. By lighting a lotus lantern, we remember why the Lord Buddha came among us, celebrating his birth which led to the founding of radiant tradition of profound wisdom and compassion,

COVID-19, the new strain of coronavirus revealed how deeply ignorant we all have been. The history will from now on be divided into pre- and post- conoravirus eras. The impact of COVID-19 is such that the celebration of the Buddha’s birthday, which has been celebrated on the eighth day of the fourth lunar month since Buddhism was first introduced to Koreans, is now postponed by one month. We are now being forced to deviate from the one thousand and seven hundred years of unbroken tradition.

We now learn that how precious the ordinary things we took for granted in our lives are. We now realize what a gift it was to be able to see our friends and colleagues face-to-face. We finally appreciate how much we owe our survival to the shining sun, clean air, pure water and uncontaminated soil. We are now witnessing the disastrous consequences of unrestrained consumption and rampant greed, the devastating results of pursuing selfish, human-only agenda above all else.

The emergence of COVID-19 is a great teacher who taught us the how deadly the three poisons of greed, anger and ignorance can be.

The first poison is greed.

It is greed in people’s mind that compels them to insist on going out to see spring flowers even amid the coronavirus pandemic. It is also greed that makes people cancel spring flower festivals, uprooting plants and ploughing down the field of spring flowers and putting up barricades to block people’s view. The nature is not guilty of anything, yet people’s greedy minds collide over spring flowers all over the country.

The second poison is anger.

With the national policy of social distancing, the whole family is now confined to their homes. Schools are closed, and adults stop going to work. As they spend whole days together, families start getting angry to each other over many things, small and large. It is also infuriating that we can no longer go to the temple to pray and meet our spiritual friends for comfort.

The third poison is ignorance.

We end up infecting others with the novel coronavirus because we are ignorant. We don’t wear face masks, don’t follow the rules of social distancing and take the risk of contacting people unnecessarily all out of ignorance, unable and unwilling to see the differences between scientific knowledge and religious belief, resulting in the spreading of deadly epidemic.

Thanks to the nation’s the voluntary self-quarantine over the last two months, the return to the normal life is now just around the corner. We are blessed that we have come this far.

However, if we do not transform our lifestyle, reducing our selfish desires and over-consumption and protecting the environment by learning to live with less, something even more catastrophic than coronavirus will turn up next time. Only when we are awakened to the truth of interdependent arising, how everything in this world is intimately connected to one another, we will avert further suffering and tragedies.

Now the world has been transformed into Lumbini amid May flowers. Let’s light a lotus lantern and dedicate it to overcome the coronavirus epidemic that has been threatening our world. Let’s restore the lost spring ofB.E.2564. The wise say that ten thousand people being united can change even the will of heaven. If ten thousand lotus lanterns are lit in a single vow, it would be enough to turn this disease-ridden world into a flower blooming Lumbini. Each and every vow in you is inestimably valuable. Let it be the majestic lotus lantern that will illuminate the whole universe, bringing light to everything below and above the heaven.

The whole universe is full of suffering, but

I will surely bring peace to the world.

April 3o, 2o2o, (B.E.2564)



The Jogye Order of Korean Buddhim

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