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“The Great Journey to Revive Buddhism,” Sangwol Society India Pilgrimage Inaugurated

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Writer Jogye Date16 Feb 2023 Read992 Comment0

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On Feb. 9 a Report Ceremony to inform the Buddha was held at Jogyesa Temple

500 people attended to send off the pilgrims


Announcing the beginning of a 1,167km walking pilgrimage along the “Buddha Road”

“Likened to the practice of seeking buddhahood & saving sentient beings”

Dharma talk by His Eminence the Most Ven. Seongpa, Supreme Patriarch of the Jogye Order

Ven. Jinwoo “New Buddha Road may be established”

Pilgrims resolved to “persevere to the end”


“We will continue our enthusiastic practice while walking the Buddha Road so that the practice of the Sangwol Society may move forward in pursuit of reviving Korean Buddhism and to establish a peaceful world where all people in all societies can live in harmony without suffering discrimination.”


The Sangwol Society India Pilgrimage took its first step of a 44-day epic pilgrimage for the stated purpose of reinvigorating Korean Buddhism, an event in which pilgrims can engage in joyous practice while walking the roads Buddha himself walked long ago.


President of the Jogye Order’s Bureau of General Affairs (Ven. Jinwoo) and Sangwol Society’s Most Eminent Elder (Ven. Jaseung) jointly conducted a Report Ceremony to inform the Buddha of the pilgrimage at 6 a.m. on Feb. 9 at Jogyesa Temple in Jongno-gu, Seoul.


The Report Ceremony was attended by 500 Buddhists of the fourfold sangha including the following eminent monks of the Jogye Order: His Eminence the Most Ven. Seongpa (Supreme Patriarch of the Jogye Order), President Jinwoo, Ven. Jaseung (Most Eminent Elder of the Sangwol Society), Ven. Jugyeong (Chairman of the Central Council), Ven. Hyeil (Director, Bureau of Monastic Education), Ven. Seongu (Chairman of the Board, Dongguk University), Ven. Seongwol (Chair, Committee for Revitalization of Dongguk University), and abbots from district head temples.


Many political and government officials also attended the Report Ceremony to congratulate the beginning of the pilgrimage and pray for its successful completion. Among the attendees were: Assemblypersons from the People Power Party including Joo Ho-young, Kim Gi-hyeon, Jo Myung-hee, Song Eon-seog, Kim Hung-dong, Lee Joo-hwan, Kim Hee-gon, and Hwangbo Seung-hee; Assemblypersons from the Democratic Party including Lee Won-wook, Kim Young-bae, Min Byoung-dug, Lee Su-jin, and Kim Byung-joo; Kang Seung-gyu (Secretary to the President for Civil Service Discipline), and Kim Dae-hyeon (Director of Religious Affairs at the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism).


During the Report Ceremony, His Eminence the Most Ven. Seongpa delivered a dharma talk to pray for the successful completion of the pilgrimage. Clarifying that this pilgrimage was “an epic Buddhist project unprecedented in Buddhist history,” he added, “Unlike ordinary pilgrimages, this India Pilgrimage is to embody the spirit of ‘seeking buddhahood & saving sentient beings,’ a fundamental duty for all Buddhists.” He continued, saying, “Internally it is an event in which you can be awakened to the truth that guides you to buddhahood, and externally to promote peace and comfort for all beings.” He further stated, “I pray all pilgrims may successfully finish the pilgrimage without any problems or setbacks.”


Ven. Musang, the oldest participant in the pilgrimage and former Director of the Religious Tribunal, informed the Buddha of the beginning of the epic pilgrimage. In his Report Ceremony Statement, he reaffirmed, “Just like the Buddha who proactively approached diverse people, we, as pilgrims, will follow in the footsteps of the Buddha with the same mindset as his while eating and sleeping on the same roads he walked. Each of us will view this pilgrimage as the best occasion to practice in this life, and all of us will see this as giving great momentum to our pursuit of hope, practice, and fulfilling the vows of Buddhism.”


In his farewell message, Ven. President Jinwoo joyously praised the merits of the pilgrims, saying, “In the Buddha’s home country of India, to make a pilgrimage by walking 1,167km or 3,000li is an unprecedented feat which none have done before. To visit these sites in person, where the Buddha attained enlightenment and delivered 84,000 dharma talks, is an utmost joy and honor for Buddhist disciples.”


The President further elaborated, “For the pilgrims who will walk these untraveled paths, diverse hardships may lurk to threaten body and mind, including poor facilities, a harsh environment, sleeping outdoors, wild animals and poisonous insects. I implore you not to forget that your safety and health are important to the future of the Order, and ask you to overcome whatever hardships confront you with the power of your determined effort. I vow that your pilgrimage will establish a new ‘Buddha Road’ upon which global citizens will vow to make a pilgrimage.”


By reading aloud the Statement of Vows, the pilgrims resolved to continue their efforts to practice without regressing, saying: “We, the pilgrims of the Sangwol Society India Pilgrimage, will trod the same dirt roads of India you (the Buddha) walked, step by step. By realizing that each nameless wild grass and each silent rock has buddha nature, we will practice enthusiastically for the sake of attaining peace for all. Embarking on this pilgrimage with fierce resolve, our practice is founded only on your teachings. Therefore, even if we face a circumstance where our body and mind become weak, we will move forward again and again without regression.”


When the Report Ceremony was over, the pilgrims left for India, sent off by 500 people of the fourfold sangha. They will arrive in India on Feb. 10, and after completing their preparations there, they will hold an Opening Ceremony on Feb. 11 at Deer Park in Sarnath where the Buddha gave his first teaching.


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