ASIA/SOUTH KOREA - WYD in Korea will be an opportunity for interreligious fraternity and friendship with Buddhists

Friday, 10 May 2024 dialogue   buddhism  

Seoul (Agenzia Fides) - The "synodal" style is expressed not only within the ecclesial community but is also characteristic of Christians who "go forth", ready to walk together with all men of good will to build a better world: it is with this conviction that the World Youth Days which will be celebrated in Korea in 2027 will also have a connotation of interreligious meeting and a favorable opportunity to build bonds of friendship and fraternity with believers of different faiths. Thus, on the occasion of the Buddhist festival of Vesak, Msgr. Peter Soon-taick Chung, Archbishop of Seoul and president of the Korean WYD Organizing Committee, sent a message to the Buddhist community, emphasizing the desire for unity between the different religious communities in view of WYD in Seoul 2027. This message, addressed to the
Korean Jogye Buddhist Order, expresses its "sincere congratulations on the occasion of the 2568th anniversary of the birth of the Buddha" and hopes that, "like the radiant light that emanates from the nine-storey pagoda of Hwangryong Temple and the lanterns that adorn the surroundings of Gwanghwamun, may the profound teachings of the Buddha shine upon the entire world".
This year, it is noted, Vesak takes on the added significance of coinciding with "Teachers' Day": an opportunity for all people of good will to sincerely strive to emulate the boundless compassion of the Buddha" in the delicate and important work of the education of children and young people.
Furthermore, reading the slogan of this year's Vesak, namely "Peace of mind, happiness of the world", the archbishop's message highlights "the urgent global imperative of peace and happiness", affirming that the religious communities must “unite in solidarity and cooperation, devoting themselves tirelessly to promoting the cause of peace.” Like the “International Buddhist Expo” initiative which was held in Seoul last April and which brought together young people beyond religious borders, we hope that the same will be true for the next World Youth Day in 2027 in Seoul: "We fervently hope that it will be a joyful celebration of the spirit of youth, encompassing young people of all religious faiths. We sincerely invite you to join us as faithful companions on our spiritual journey within the Buddhist community,” said Archbishop Peter Soon-taick Chung, O.C.D. This message echoes that sent on the occasion of Vesak, the holiday commemorating the birth, enlightenment and departure of Buddha, by the Vatican Dicastery for Interreligious Dialogue, which highlights the common responsibility to promote reconciliation and resilience, values deeply rooted in Christian and Buddhist religious traditions and fundamental tools for building a conflict-free world. Buddhism is widespread and practiced in Korea by approximately 23% of the population. It arrived in Korea from China between the 3rd and 4th centuries AD and established itself as the major religious and cultural influence in the following centuries. The vast majority of Buddhist temples in Korea (around 90%) belong to the Jogye order, linked to the Zen tradition. The country's oldest and most famous temples, such as the Bulguksa and Boemeosa temples, are directly managed by the Jogye order, which has its headquarters in Jogyesa, in the center of the capital Seoul. (PA) (Agenzia Fides, 10/5/2024)