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New Year’s Greeting Speech

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Writer admin Date01 Feb 2006 Read9,892 Comment0


The year of the Dog is upon us. As it draws near, I pray that it will be filled with joy for each and every person in and outside of Korea, and that Korea will continue taking the brightest passage toward a shining future with the blessings of Buddha.

Looking back at the past year, the year of the Chicken, I can see that there were many good things and bad things that happened. Relations between North and South Korea improved considerably in the midst of abundant difficulties. Koreans all over the world rediscovered the common roots that connect them.

However, domestically, we endured stormy conflicts among many interest groups: strife between right-wing and left-wing, liberal and conservative political parties, the rich and the poor, leaders and followers of different religions, the well-educated and those lacking access to a proper education, and even among different geographic regions. These complications, conflicts, and struggles have been deepening our wounds and elevating their negative energies. Internationally, the very existence of mankind is threatened by terrors and counter-terrors, not to mention an increasingly polluted environment. Because our species is still largely ignorant of the twin truths of interdependence and impermanence, it is leading itself, in frenzies of murder and exploitation, to the very brink of extinction.

Dear brothers and sisters, let us do our utmost to put this darkness behind us, to create a future filled with less wanton death and despair, with more hope and precious life. Let us bloom freshly scented in the blessings of the three jewels of Buddhism: Buddha, Dharma, and Sangha. Let us rid ourselves of these destructive conflicts while cultivating the spirit of reconciliation and cooperation. Let us douse the fires of anger and hatred with our oceanic reserves of bodhisattva compassion.

Let the hungry be fed and the naked be clothed. Let the workers work, let the students study, let everyone observe and perform their correct functions. Let us all be continually willing to offer help wherever appropriate and without any hesitation. Let us work to untangle our egos’ knots, subdue our selfishness, and always extend our most thoughtful consideration to others, so that we can all bring out the best in each other, and thereby cultivate a more harmonious world society.

May we all practice as the bodhisattvas of Mah?y?na Buddhism have done, with firm determination to help all beings attain enlightenment. May we transcend the purely mind-made distinction between “self” and “other”. May we develop the wisdom and the compassion to find lasting joy in practicing true bodhisattva action that benefits everyone.

Family itself is a small universe. May all your families be happy and filled with laughter. I thank you again, brothers and sisters.

Happy new year!

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