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English | Ambassadors Experience Korean Buddhist Culture

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Author Jogye On24-05-01 09:05 Views122 Comments0

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"Amazing!" and "One more time!" were the exclamations of delight heard after the meditation. "It was as if it directly touched my inner being!" said one ambassador.


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On 12 April, the International Team of the Social Affairs Office of the Jogye Order of Korean Buddhism (Director: Ven. Dosim) organized a Korean Buddhist cultural event for the ambassadors stationed in Seoul at Bongnyeong-sa Temple in Suwon. Ambassadors from Lithuania, the European Union, Israel, Thailand, and Finland attended the event, accompanied by their spouses and children, even a future son-in-law in the case of the Israeli ambassador.


The ambassadors were welcomed by Ven. Dosim and Ven. Jinhyo, the Director and the Vice-Director of the Social Affairs Office, as well as Ven. Jeongbeom, Ven. Namjeon and Ven. Hyemin, members of the International Exchange Committee. When one of the ambassadors greeted them, saying, "This feels familiar," Ven. Dosim replied, "In Buddhism, we call it karmic connection. Buddhism believes that we are all one." He continued to say, adding, "I hope that this meeting today will lead to peace of mind and peace on earth.” Ven. Jinsang, the abbess of Bongnyeong-sa Temple, also welcomed the group by saying, "I welcome you to this beautiful temple of Bongnyeong-sa Temple. Thank you for visiting us even amid your busy schedule working as a bridge between your country and Korea.”


The day began with a pilgrimage to the temple. The ambassadors, eager to learn more about Buddhism, asked questions such as "What is a bhikkhu?" and "What is the curriculum for Sangha education?" The monk in charge of the temple tour explained the history, spirit, and simple lifestyle of the Sangha. The ambassadors also took photos of the main Buddha hall, especially the statue of the Vairocana Buddha and the mural depicting the scenes from the eighty chapters of the Avatamsaka Sutra.


They also had a chance to sample temple cuisine. A total of 15 dishes were served, including tofu sandwiches filled with spring greens, and pancakes made of water parsley, lotus roots, and fatsia sprouts. "Very healthy", and "Great food" were some of the compliments expressed by the ambassadors, who after the meal asked to meet the chefs so that they could convey their gratitude in person.

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During the tea meditation, they learn how to enjoy an imaginary tea time. Ven. Jeokyeon, a master of tea meditation and Buddhist tea ceremony, explained the entire process of brewing and drinking tea, and then asked the ambassadors to invite those who had made them happy as well as those who gave them hard times into an imaginary tea room, serve them tea, and offer both groups their blessings. One ambassador commented, "I was impressed that she was equally compassionate towards the people who made me happy and the people who made me suffer." 


During the Buddha Bowl meditation, the atmosphere was a mix of laughter, curiosity, and earnest exploration. The Ambassadors placed the Buddha bowls on their heads and tapped them with mallets. The deep vibrations of bronze bowls provided a moment to temporarily cease thinking and get in touch with the True Self.

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The ambassadors expressed their appreciation of Buddhist values. "It is difficult to understand Korea without learning about Korean Buddhism. Thank you for giving me a meaningful experience to take a break from my busy life," said the Ambassador of the EU. "I feel like I have come to a refuge," said the Finnish Ambassador, "I first encountered Buddhism when I was appointed to be stationed in Korea, and I think Buddhists have created the community that is most progressive and socially powerful.”


The Lithuanian ambassador, who said that he experienced the Buddhist temple architecture, food and other aspects of the temple life for the first time, thanked the organizers for the invitation to a sacred place, saying, "It is interesting that Korea maintains peace and harmony among different religions despite being a multi-religious society, and I hope we can have a dialogue about this," he said. The Thai ambassador also said, "Promoting friendship with Korean Buddhism is one of the most important things for Thailand, and I hope our cooperation will grow in the future.



(03144) 55, Ujeongguk-ro, Jongno-gu, Seoul, Republic of KoreaTEL : +82-2-2011-1830FAX: +82-2-735-0614E-MAIL: jokb@buddhism.or.kr
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