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English | The Jogye Order of Korean Buddhism will open the path to the peace and happiness of mind with the ardent aspiration that will last the millennium.

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Author Jogye On24-01-25 09:41 Views401 Comments0

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The new sun of the Year of the Blue Dragon rises, 
Shining a new spirit on all beings and the whole world, and 
The universe dances with joy. 

The blue dragon will protect the land and people,  
Be fierce guardians of the Buddha-dharma, and 
Bring all those who have the same aspiration to the Dragon Gate together. 
Fellow citizens of Korea, fellow Buddhists, have hope. 
Have the courage to pursue your life's goals. 

With the strength of the blue dragon 
May your body and mind be at peace in the Year of the Blue Dragon. 
We wish you all the best in your endeavors. 

Korean Buddhism will devote itself to social actions for the happiness of the people. 

The Jogye Order of Korean Buddhism will actively promote meditation programs to resolve national mental health issues to help people who are suffering from various psychological distresses due to hectic modern lifestyles and economic hardships. We will operate templestay programs specializing in Seon meditation so that anyone can come to a tranquil mountain temple, relax, and recuperate. We will establish a Seon meditation templestay information system so that people who want to calm their minds can easily connect with customized programs anytime, anywhere. 

The currently available Seon meditation programs distill 1,700 years of Korean Buddhist history and tradition into a simple set of practices. Vertically, these programs range from basic breathing exercises for those new to meditation to more advanced courses for experienced practitioners, while horizontally they are tailored to suit specific situations, such as Seon meditation to help the depressed, calm anger, or clear your mind before an exam. In particular, these programs will be offered first to the marginalized members of our society and those in need of mental recovery. 

This year marks the launching of the first Seon meditation programs for the general public. As a first-year project, a pilot templestay will start in April to unveil the Jogye Order’s official Seon meditation program, and in the second half of the year, 20 temples will be selected nationwide to specialize in Seon meditation retreats. At the same time, the Jogye Order will establish a customized information system, including a templestay website and a dedicated information phone line, and train meditation instructors to expand the program so that more people can find peace of mind. We will also make preliminary administrative preparations and come up with a basic plan to establish the Central Support Center for Seon Meditation. In September, we will promote the revitalization and globalization of K-meditation through the International Seon Meditation Conference for the Path to the Peace and Happiness of Mind. The very reason that Korean Buddhism exists is to alleviate the suffering of the world and move forward on the path of happiness with all sentient beings. In 2024, Korean Buddhism will begin the social endeavor to protect mental health and achieve peace of mind for the people. 

Buddhist heritage is at the core of Korean tradition and is the source of our K-culture. 

The Order will continue to reduce the temple admission fee through the campaign to protect cultural heritage, which has been in place since last year. We will strive to maintain temples and other Buddhist cultural heritage sites so that people can experience their precious traditions more closely and pass them on to future generations. There are still many areas lacking in terms of facilities and institutions. We will actively consult with relevant authorities to make improvements so that people can more comfortably enjoy our traditional culture and Buddhist heritage, which has been passed down for over a thousand years. Since the traditional Buddhist temples contain over 60% of the national cultural assets, we will do our best to ensure traditional temples, the true guardians of Korean traditional culture, are cherished in the eyes of the public. The Jogye Order will strive to receive due support for their preservation and maintenance through a shift in national awareness.

The rock-face Buddha in Yeolam Valley in Mt. Namsan at Gyeongju has been prostrating for a thousand years, sharing the suffering of sentient beings on this land. We will finalize a plan to bring the rock-face Buddha back to standing by the end of the year in consultation with relevant governmental agencies. If the experiments through computer simulation proceed smoothly, we will be able to have the rock-face Buddha properly enshrined in 2025 so that more people including Buddhists can come to worship the rock-face Buddha and arouse the aspiration of hope with him. The rock-face Buddha in Yeolam Valley is an icon for the continuation of the history of the past millennium and having it properly enshrined is a way to ensure another new millennium of Korea’s proud cultural heritage. 
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In addition to the International Seon Meditation Conference, the Jogye Order of Korean Buddhism is planning the 2024 Korean Buddhist Assembly to be held at the end of September. The followers of the Buddha's teachings will gather together at Gwanghwamun to confirm the excellence of the Buddha-dharma and to inspire solidarity and pride. The Assembly will bring together the four-fold community of bhiksus, bhiksunis, male and female lay people through the public precept reception ceremony, sangha treasure offering ceremony, and the grand Dharma assembly. While the dissemination of Seon meditation will enable individuals to calm their minds and gain mastery of their own lives, the Grand Buddhist Assembly will be a great vow at a national scale to pray for the well-being of Korea, the reduction of tensions between North and South Koreas and the peace of the world. 

Spiritual practice will continue to be the Order’s priority, with a vow to bring about the renaissance of Korean Buddhism. 

To mark the 30th anniversary of the Reformation, the Jogye Order of Korean Buddhism is reorganizing its central religious affairs office as part of a mission to inherit the modernization achievements of the past 30 years and to lay the foundation for the future. Since the last reform in 1994, the Jogye Order has experienced many successes, such as strengthening the status of Korean Buddhism through the establishment of the General Bureau, Education Bureau, and Propagation Bureau, streamlining its administrative systems, modernizing Sangha education, and completing the welfare system for monastics. 

After 30 years, the Jogye Order is facing many tasks that are difficult to complete with the existing organizational structure. It is the Order’s sacred mission to strengthen its social involvement to plant the seed of peace in the hearts of Korean people, stand in solidarity with marginalized communities, and lead interfaith dialogue. As a legitimate successor of Korea’s traditional culture, the Jogye Order should play a pivotal role in laying the foundation to become a future cultural powerhouse by bringing traditional cultural values to the public, making the Buddhist tangible and intangible assets more widely available to society, and developing various cultural contents that serve as the basis for national cultural capabilities. 

Furthermore, the revitalization of local Buddhism will fulfill a variety of social functions in the future, including counteracting rural decline, supporting ecological and cultural communities, and creating an alternative lifestyle more sustainable for the future society. To this end, the Jogye Order will reorganize its central administrative system, including the consolidation of the existing three-bureau structures, in order to focus its capabilities more efficiently. We want to answer the call of the world and make Buddhism reborn for the future through bold future investments that are tantamount to the second Reformation. We will quickly conclude the reorganization discussions currently underway with the Central Council and submit specific proposals, including amendments to the Constitution, to the extraordinary session of the Central Council in March.

One of the most urgent tasks facing the Jogye Order is the propagation of Buddhism to the younger generation, for which it will work closely with the Sangwol Gyeolsa Society. Discovering and cultivating talented young Buddhists means we will carry on the legacy of Venerable Jaseung, who entered parinirvana late last year. It is also a key task of the 9th Propagation Bureau, whose central slogan was “GO, Propagation!” In addition, the Jogye Order will make sure that the projects of the Sangwol Gyeolsa Society, a legal entity officially registered with the Order, will be followed through so that the youth have a place in the bosom of Korean Buddhism where they can engage in various activities and freely share their concerns with each other. The Jogye Order hopes that this approach will facilitate a solution to the problem of declining monastic ordination. 

The Yangpyeong Buddhist Cultural Property Research Institute will be completed by the end of the year, which will start the systematic conservation and preservation of Buddhist cultural assets. The Buddhist Cultural Property Research Institute, which is affiliated with the Order, will be in charge of deploying manpower and planning operations for the new Yangpyeong Institute, enabling systematic conservation of civilian objets d’art as well as Buddhist cultural assets. 

The discussions with the government have been concluded regarding the project to commemorate the pain and historical lessons of the October 27 Incident. The October 27 Incident Memorial Hall is to be built on Bongun-sa Temple in Gangnam, while the healing facility will be opened for the victims of the incident on the grounds of Amita Nursing Hospital in Anseong, Gyeonggi-do. The designing stage of the construction will commence within the year. If the healing facility for monks who were victims of the October 27 Incident is to be operated in conjunction with the Anseong Amita Nursing Hospital, the Jogye Order's welfare policy for the sangha will become more stable, specialized, and centralized. 

Korean Buddhist culture, especially Yeondeunghoe (lantern lighting festival), the UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage, temple cuisine, and templestay will continue to be experienced by many Koreans and shared with the world in 2024 too. When Yeondeunghoe returned to its pre-COVID-19 scale last year, 500,000 participants joined the festival, with 30,000 foreign tourists enjoying traditional Korean culture on the streets of Jongno. The Order will expand the registration program this year so that more Koreans can participate in the procession and work with tourism authorities to make it easy and enjoyable for foreign attendees to participate too. We will work to establish Yeondeunghoe as one of the globally recognized cultural festivals. Many Korean Culture Centers stationed overseas are interested in hosting exhibitions around the theme of Yeondeunghoe, which will raise the cultural status of Korea through the medium of lotus lanterns, the light of wisdom. Cultural exchanges centering on temple cuisine and templestays are also planned in many countries, including France, the UK, Australia, and Singapore. The Jogye Order will share with the world the spirituality of temple food that teaches how to coexist with nature so that people around the world can have precious cultural experiences of Buddhist temples, the origin of Korean culture, and learn the spirit of world peace and harmony. 

Korean Buddhism leads the way in interfaith dialogue and national unity. I have been reappointed as one of the co-chairs of the Korea Council of Religious Leaders. Many of the armed conflicts in the world have their roots in religious disputes. As Korea is considered a model country for religious harmony, the Jogye Order will work hard to help different religions practicing in Korea to further their understanding of each other through dialogue and carry out various activities together.

There are quite a few projects and tasks that the Jogye Order of Korean Buddhism must tackle this year. The Jogye Order will do its best to meet the expectations of the four-fold community who wish for the revival of Buddhism and its role in society. We humbly ask you to stay interested in our efforts to open the path for peace and happiness of mind. I sincerely hope that in the new year, all Koreans will have the joy of sangrak-ajeong 常樂我淨, which means "If you are calm on your own, you are always happy."

Thank you.
 


 


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