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His Holiness Jinje
The Jogye Order of Korea Buddhism
天地與我同根 Cheonji yeoa donggeun,
萬物與我同體 Manmul yeoa ilche
As the heaven and earth share the same root with me,
All beings, including you and I, are not two but all dwell in one body.
Traditionally, Korean Buddhists have always been there for the people of Korea whenever the nation was in crisis. We have dedicated ourselves to overcoming natural disasters, shouldering the sufferings of the people and protecting Korea’s sovereignty when it was threatened. All living beings in this universe has equal right not only to survival but also to dignified existence. Our neighbors who are struggling in a deadly battle against the virus are all already enlightened buddhas. It is high time that we must remind ourselves of the holy vows of Vimalakirti and Kṣitigarbha Bodhisattva (Bodhisattva of Hell Realm) so ardently took. When sentient beings are suffering, so are we.
Let’s all pray together that this coronavirus epidemic will be forever eliminated, that the humanity would be free from this disease soon. If you cling to your life, you will lose it, and if you let your life go, you will save it. If you understand this truth, and if we keep devote ourselves with indomitable vow, there is nothing we cannot achieve. This age of decline, this world tainted with five evils will vanish, as surely as the rising sun will make darkness go away. We should continue with our everyday life as a Buddhist with calm and composure.
Korean people have been
celebrating the lotus lantern festival in an unbroken tradition for over a
thousand years in order to bless, benefit and defend the nation. This year is
no exception, and we will see the Buddhist temples all over the country pray on
the eighth of the fourth lunar month for the end of coronavirus epidemic and
hold ceremonies to lead the spirits of the deceased who lost their lives
because of the pandemic to the Western Paradise.
On the eighth of the fourth lunar
month, all Buddhists must light the lotus lantern to fill this universe of
Dharma-realm with the radiance of wisdom and compassion, so that the humanity
will end the current pandemic and achieve the world peace. Humanity must find
ways to reconcile conflicts and transcend differences to overcome this truly
international crisis and open a new chapter for the future of harmony and
solidarity. In Dharma-realm, everything is closely interconnected. Nothing can
exist singularly and independently. We must find ways to forgive each other so
that we can all live harmoniously together.
The current coronavirus pandemic
is truly unprecedented in its scope and severity. Yet Most Venerable Wonhaeng,
the chairman of the Association of Korean Buddhist Orders and president of the
Jogye Order of Korean Buddhism, has shown extraordinary leadership in
preventing the spread of coronavirus and saving lives. I hereby pay great
compliment to his enlightened decisions and decisive actions which far surpass
any other religious leaders in the world in wisdom and courage.
The Buddhist community is offering templestay programs tailor-made to address the needs of the medical personal who are on the front line in this war against virus, giving them rest and peace of mind. The life and safety of human beings are the priority which the four-fold community of Buddhism must do its best to uphold.
Every time we are born into the samsaric existence, we crave to be free from disease and pain, and to be given blessing and good fortune. The only way forward for all of us is to investigate ceaselessly the hwadu of ‘What is the true self before born of the parents?’
April 28, 2020 (B.E. 2564)
The Jogye Order of Korean Buddhism