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English | "Complete Enshrinement of Buddha's Relics“ that Returned to Their Original Place After 100 Years

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Author Jogye On24-05-31 10:40 Views22,909 Comments0

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After being taken illegally during the Japanese occupation and unable to return to their homeland, the relics of Buddha and revered monks have finally found their rightful place after 100 years.

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On May 19, the Jogye Order's 25th District Head temple, Bongseonsa in Namyangju, held a cultural festival for the enshrinement of the relics at the Hoeamsa Temple site in Yangju, as well as a memorial ceremony for three great masters. The tree great masters are Master Jigong, Master Naong, and Master Muhak, who revitalized Buddhism during the late Goryeo and early Joseon periods. The memorial ceremony was a part of the celebration to commemorate the return of the relics.  

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President Yoon Suk-yeol and First Lady Kim Keon-hee, who played a decisive role in the return of the relics, participated in the memorial ceremony. Negotiations for the return of the relics with the Boston Museum of Fine Arts began in 2009 and continued through four rounds, but ultimately failed in 2013. However, during her visit to the museum last April, First Lady Kim requested the resumption of discussions. Consequently, the Jogye Order, the Cultural Heritage Administration, and the Boston Museum of Fine Arts reached an agreement this February to donate the relics to the Jogye Order and loan the reliquary to the Cultural Heritage Administration for exhibition.

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The return of the relics is of unprecedented significance in Korean Buddhist history. Venerable Jinwoo, the President of the Jogye Order, expressed special gratitude to those involved in the repatriation. In his Dharma speech, he said, “It is truly joyous and thrilling to enshrine the relics of the three Buddhas and two masters, which have returned after a brief sojourn, with fourfold assemblies in attendance. This overwhelming emotion is incomparable to anything else. In this sense, it seems that the propitious moment mentioned in the 'Lotus Sutra' has arrived today.” He also referred to First Lady Kim as a "benefactor" and requested her continued support for the restoration of Hoeamsa Temple.

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In his congratulatory speech, President Yoon stated, "Today is a great celebration for both the Buddhist community and the people of Korea. The returned relics enshrined today are a precious national heritage symbolizing the authenticity and lineage of Korean Buddhism." He continued, "Together with the Buddhist community, we will strive to create a world filled with Buddha's compassionate light and make a nation where people feel happier everyday.“

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The relics will be on public display at the Special Exhibition Hall of the Yangju Hoeamsa Museum from May 21 to June 9.



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