The entire world is celebrating the birth of the Buddha with blooming flowers of peace. Buddha came to this world to teach us that we are all the most pure beings with Buddha-nature at our heart. He did not end with just achieving his own enlightenment but continued to practice endlessly for peace and comfort of all sentient beings.
Within our mind, we can find our true life. It is the existence of the infinite possibility to provide comfort and peace for all sentient beings. When facing any difficulty, we can stand up proudly by our own effort. Having faith in and practicing the true life is the only way to an awakened life and to the nirvana. Buddha’s birthday is the day to remind ourselves of such teaching and the day to take the vow to return to the pure mind of wisdom and compassion.
Long winter of division has passed and spring of peace has arrived. Flower of harmony and cooperation is blooming. Through the Panmunjom Declaration, the leaders of North and South Korea have agreed on the complete denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula. The energy of coexistence that we have fostered will spread around the world through the upcoming North Korea-United States summit. Let’s join our efforts to practice peace. Let’s transcend beyond the division of liberal and conservative, and socio-economic classes to advance as one.
Once we realize there is the pure and infinite wisdom within ourselves, and take a good look at ourselves while practicing compassion, the world will become much more beautiful. Buddhist followers should practice with a sincere dedication to unite the world as a single flower. Buddhist practice including meditation, scripture reading, mantra and sutra chanting are true ways to find one’s original self. To many of our citizens who have not yet been exposed to Buddhism, I would like to recommend you to have time of meditation once a day to look around yourselves and to remind yourselves of how precious you are. We can realize the spirit of “all things forming a single body (萬有一體)” and that all things and “I” are one when we have the wisdom to love ourselves. Furthermore, we can practice the “great compassion of a single body (同體大悲)” by considering all sentient beings as precious as ourselves and nurturing them.
While fostering peace through wisdom and compassion shall be the foundation of our lives, social “compassion of single body” can be practiced through just distribution. We shall devote ourselves to creating a world without alienation or discrimination and to solving the issues related to youth unemployment, lack of welfare for elders, gender inequality and racial discrimination. Wisdom will make us stronger and compassion will make us warmer.
The amazing scientific development in the 4th industrial revolution will open up an astounding future world. We need to be main actors in enhancing our lives with the spirit of wisdom and compassion and in leading the world peace. In order to do so, we need to examine our own greed and ignorance. We need to create a future of pure honesty and self-sufficiency instead of a future for merely satisfying our greed. This is the world of coexistence we shall form.
A single flower becomes tens of thousands of flowers which become one great flower. We are all individual beings, yet we are also fellow practitioners living in the same world. When we realize this precious connection, our world will be as a sigle flower at last.
If we have faith in the fact that we are Buddha, recover the original pure mind, and live with a sincere heart, everyone we meet will be bodhisattva and everywhere we go will be the pure land of utmost bliss. If we can all live as Buddha from this moment, everyday would be “Buddha’s Birthday.” I pray that the intrinsic meanings of Buddha’s birth would bloom as flowers in our mind filling it with the scent of peace and happiness.
May 22, 2018 in the Buddhist Era 2562
Ven. Seol Jeong
Chairperson of Buddha’s Birthday Celebration Committee
President of Jogye Order of Korean Buddhism