At the New Year’s Dharma Assembly on Feb. 6, Ven. Jinwoo says: To overcome crisis with the belief “The Whole World is a Single Flower”
Pages InformationWriter Jogye Date16 Feb 2023 Read199 Comment0
Co-hosted by the Buddhist Leaders Forum & Korea Buddhist Order Association
Assembly opened by offering lanterns to the Yeoram Valley Buddha
Ven. Jinwoo “The whole world is a single flower”
President Yoon “Buddhism is society’s warm lantern”
The Buddhist community and Buddhists from all walks of life got together and vowed to overcome the economic crisis and establish peace across the nation.
The Korea Buddhist Order Association (President Jinwoo)─consisting of 30 Buddhist orders─and the Buddhist Leaders Forum (Standing Director, Lee Gi-heung) jointly hosted the “2567 BE Korean Buddhists’ New Year’s Dharma Assembly” on Feb. 6 at the Grand Ballroom of Seoul Trade Exhibition and Convention (SETEC). Having resumed after 5 years due to the pandemic and other issues, the Dharma Assembly was attended by the fourfold sangha of Korean Buddhism, as well as the incumbent Korean President and his wife, the first time they have attended such an event in Korea. All attendees vowed to establish peace and prosperity for the nation, and to set the fallen Yeoram Valley Buddha upright, symbolizing the revitalization of Korean Buddhism and giving added meaning to the Dharma Assembly.
The Dharma Assembly began with a recitation of the Diamond Sutra and the offering of lanterns which embodied national prosperity and the welfare of the people. Ven. Jinwoo, President Yoon Suk-yeol and his wife offered lanterns to the Yeoram Valley Buddha and made fervent vows that the Korean Peninsula be blessed with peace and happiness.
Next, participants offered three prostrations to the Buddha to celebrate the Lunar New Year, and then all of them exchanged New Year’s greetings, and made vows of wellbeing for the coming year.
In his New Year’s dharma talk, Ven. Jinwoo emphasized the concept that “the whole world is a single flower.” He said, “Global wars and the climate crisis are the results of our being oblivious to the fact that we are a global community and that all of us are neighbors,” and added, “Only restoring the spirit embodied in the axiom, ‘The whole world is a single flower’ can we even begin to resolve these issues.”
As two imminent tasks for Korean Buddhists, Ven. Jinwoo mentioned erecting the fallen Yeoram Valley Buddha on Mt. Namsan in Gyeongju, and the globalization of Korean meditation.
Ven. Jinwoo expressed his expectations saying, “Setting the Yeoram Valley Buddha upright to its original position will reinvigorate the Korean spirit, and provide decisive momentum to bring peace to all Korean citizens and prosperity to the nation. By resurrecting an icon of the past millennium, Korea can welcome in a new millennium of peace and hope.”
Regarding Korean meditation, Ven. Jinwoo said, “Spreading the practice of Korean meditation around the globe is one of the best ways to share Korea’s indomitable spirit and our proud traditional culture with others. ‘K-meditation’ will guide the hearts of global citizens to find inner peace.” He further exhorted, “To support these two Buddhist objectives that will prepare the groundwork for a new future, I ask for the concerted attention and cooperation of our central government, the Cultural Heritage Administration, regional governments, and all citizens.”
In his congratulatory remarks, President Yoon Suk-yeol mentioned Korean Buddhism’s long tradition of protecting the nation, and its great compassion based on the teaching that all beings are one, conveying his deep gratitude to the Buddhist community.
President Yoon added, “Last year we had several challenges and crises both inside and outside Korea, but we overcame them thanks to the dedication and efforts of citizens and the Buddhist community. I extend my deepest gratitude to the Buddhist community who always prays for the nation and its people, and who maintains its role as Korean society’s warm lantern through all difficulties. I hope the Buddhist community can persevere in what it has been doing to give people hope and courage based on the spirit of protecting the state, which enabled us to overcome past national disasters together, and based on the spirit of great compassion that teaches all beings are one.”
President Yoon also mentioned the quote cited earlier by Ven. Jinwoo, saying, “The teaching that the whole world is a single flower is not much different from the unified spirit of the international society that leans toward universal values.” He added, “The government will also carefully embrace the socially disadvantaged and those who suffer in society, and do our best to infuse warm energy into the lives of our citizens.”
Both cohosts of the Dharma Assembly—Ven. Muwon (Vice President of the Korea Buddhist Order Association) and Mr. Lee Gi-heung (Standing Director of the Buddhist Leaders Forum)—conveyed the spirit of the Assembly with their New Year’s greetings.
Ven. Muwon emphasized an all-encompassing spirit based on interaction and reconciliation, saying, “Just like we are overcoming the pandemic and all its difficulties, I hope we all can overcome our difficulties together and greet a new era of hope.”
Mr. Lee Gi-heung said, “The purpose of today’s Assembly is to unify all Buddhists as one mind so that all Koreans can heal their body and mind which may have become stressed and anxious.” He went on to say, “Through harmony and a symbiotic mindset we can lessen the social conflicts that have been aggravated through competition. Each of us should learn and practice the Buddha’s teachings wherever we are and lead more people to live peaceful, comfortable lives.”
Ven. Dojin, President of the Jingak Buddhist Order, read a Statement of Vows on behalf of all Buddhists: “Let us become hope for humanity by practicing the Buddha’s teachings with a sincere heart. We will illuminate the true nature of ever-changing phenomena and guide people toward the right path.”
Many representatives from diverse walks of life shared their New Year’s aspirations and plans through video messages. They resolved to do their utmost this year to become steadfast roots of Korean Buddhism, to resolve the social issues at hand, and to spread the spirit of national integration.
The Dharma Assembly closed with cutting the 6.4m-long “harmony rice cake” while shouting, “The Buddha! The Dharma! The Sangha!”
The Dharma Assembly was attended by: Ven. Jinwoo (President of the Jogye Order), President Yoon Suk-ryeol and his wife, 30 member representatives of the Korea Buddhist Order Association, monks and abbots from district head temples of the Jogye Order, members of the Jogye Order’s Central Council and associated monastics, Mr. Lee Gi-heung (Standing Director of the Buddhist Leaders Forum), media representatives including Gu Tae-seo (CEO of Hyundai Buddhist Newspaper), Joo Ho-young (President of the National Assembly’s Perfect Enlightenment Society), Park Bo-gyoon (Minister of Culture, Sports, and Tourism), and 700 members from diverse Dharma propagation and lay Buddhist associations.