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Jogye Order Head Ven. Jaseung Visits Pyongyang, North Korea
“Our fatherland is the only nation in the world that is divided and live oppose to each other. The Korean people and the entire world’s people wish for the South and North to meet without conditions to walk the path of sincere understanding and cooperation and to walk the path of unification.”
Ven. Jaseung left on the 9:15 a.m. plane on January 30 from Incheon to arrive in Pyongyang at 3:20 p.m. via Beijing . Before departure, he held a service at the Incheon International Airport dharma center to present the Aspiration Prayer for Mutual Understanding and Harmony.
From the prayer Ven. Jaseung read, “Our fatherland is the only nation in the world that is divided and live oppose to each other. The Korean people and the entire world’s people wish for the South and North to meet without conditions to walk the path of sincere understanding and cooperation and to walk the path of unification.”
Ven. Jaseung said, “Today I leave with the conviction that understanding and cooperation must be applied in the actual place. I follow the example of Lord Buddha who through out his life, showed the path of happiness in the actual suffering world.” He continued, “I hope this will be a turning point for cultural and Buddhist exchange between the North and South, and lay the fertile soil for all the citizens of the North and South to open their hearts with gladness for mutual understanding. I hope that all Koreans can come together in union to break open the stream of mutual exchange to establish genuine peace and unification.”
This visit came about at the invitation of North Korea’s Committee for Ethnic Reestablishment. Ven. Jaseung, Ven. Yeongdam (head of Dept. of Administrative Affairs), Ven. Hyekeong (head of Dept. Social Affairs), Hainsa Temple abbot Ven. Seongak, and other Jogye Order leaders visited Pyongyang for four days and three nights. The group met with members of the Committee for Ethnic Reestablishment and the North’s Joseon Buddhist Association to devise ways to increase activity between the two nations. The group also visited several Buddhist temples in Pyongyang and other major landmarks.
In meetings both sides discussed:
l Restoration and active maintenance of North Korean temples
l Collaborative restoration of Buddhist cultural artifacts
l Construction of a Buddhist center and a facility for humanitarian causes in Pyongyang
l Pact for active inter-exchange between the main temples of the North and South
l Work for the benefit of both Koreas on the international stage
l Collaborative efforts at the 2011 Celebration of 1000 Years of Triptaka Koreana in South Korea
l Simultaneous dharma service around Buddha’s Birthday
l Dharma Service at the North’s Geumgangsan Mountain to commemorate the ten-year anniversary of the Mutual Declaration of 615 (June 15, 2000)
Ven. Jaseung and group returned to South Korea on February 2. Spokesperson for this visit, Ven. Wondam said, “Ven. Jaseung visited the North on the decision that direct dialogue and exchange are more important than just formality. The North agreed that only through continued direct dialogue and exchange can we accomplish peace on the peninsula. The North intends to invite Ven. Jaseung again through the North’s Joseon Buddhist Association.