Wednesday, April 26, 2023

[HWPL] HWPL WARP Office Builds Trust Among Religions Through Dialogue


[HWPL] HWPL WARP Office Builds Trust Among Religions Through Dialogue

Ven. Myeong An
Vice President of the Yeorae Order of Korean Buddhism

To the family members of peace who love peace,

Greetings, I am Venerable Myeong An, the Vice President of the Yeorae Order of Korean Buddhism. First and foremost, I would like to thank HWPL, who is leading the work for peace, for inviting me to today’s event.

There is a saying in Buddhism, “It’s fate even if you just brush collars.” I believe our fate is greater since we have become one family for peace. It seems our relationship is layers deep.

There are many people who doubt peace will be achieved, including religious leaders who work for love, mercy, and peace. However, for me, world peace and the unification of the Korean Peninsula were things that have to be achieved. This is because I have always heard and learned about the desire for peace from In Wang Maha Sangaraja, who is the founder of the Yeorae Order of Korean Buddhism.

In Wang Maha Sangaraja was also a Korean War veteran, like HWPL Chairman Lee Man-hee. He knew firsthand the devastation of war and always practiced his words with action. He declared “One family of the global village,” established “Symbiosis, co-prosperity, and coexistence,” and erected monuments for world peace and the unification of the Korean Peninsula with Venerable Ilbung Seo Gyeongbo. Following this, the Yeorae Order has continued to pray for world peace and the unification of the Korean peninsula.

I believe that connected our hearts, and that is why our connection is so precious. Chairman Lee, who has been working without rest to leave a world of peace to the future generations despite being over 90 years old, reminded me of In Wang Maha Sangaraja, and the family of HWPL who joyfully partake in this work seemed to be united with the Yeorae Order. It seemed we were truly one family in peace.

Out of the different HWPL initiatives, I am an active participant in the WARP Office meetings. I have already attended 40 meetings with the Islam and Christian panelists. At first, I doubted that different religions could understand each other and achieve peace when it was already difficult for the same religion to be united. However, I could better understand why Chairman Lee established the scriptural comparison dialogues with each session.

To be honest, I had my bias about Christianity and Islam in the beginning. However, the scripture-based discussions made me realize my misunderstandings. Christianity and Islam were both religions that practiced love, mercy, and peace like Buddhism. In addition, cessation of war and world peace advocated by Chairman Lee was the same as Buddhism’s Bodhisattva ideology. The panelists are no longer Muslim imams or Christian pastors to me – they are like family. I learned that even strangers can become family.

During the recent meeting in Daegu, we discussed the issues surrounding the Islam temple construction. I gladly volunteered to help them. The pastor apologized on behalf of Christianity, and we were able to build each other up.

There are many religious persecutions, conflicts, and strife in the world today because there is no communication among religions, and every religion thinks only its teachings are correct. However, what if many religious believers began participating in the scriptural comparison dialogues? I believe they will all change like me. I believe it is only a matter of time before we are united as a world of peace without conflict since there are more opportunities to communicate and understand, instead of pointing fingers.

I held a small event at our Dae Yaksa Temple to practice what I learned in the discussions. Around 100 people came to the event to pray for peace with religious people and citizens held in May of last year. It was a meaningful event where people were able to place their hopes for peace on paper windmills and watch different performances.

I also showcased the WARP Office meetings, and a participating venerable said he also wants to join the discussions. In addition, a pastor attended as an observer during the 40th meeting. He was also surprised that there was such a meeting for harmony, and he expressed his wishes to participate as well.

At the end of last year, we held a one-day tea event in Yuseong-gu, Daejeon to help those in need and the head of the Seo-gu Office of Daejeon also attended the donation ceremony. I was joyful that I could practice the will of In Wang Maha Sangaraja with HWPL, and I am proud that my actions are impacting those around me.

I will not only continue to participate in HWPL events, but I am also planning to once again host the peace-wishing event that was held last May. It will be our second peace-wishing event. I hope that twice, three times, and ten times more people will gather to make peace in the second event than the first event, which began with about 100 people. In addition, I will also create a WARP Office meeting at our Dae Yaksa Temple so that we can be at the center of creating religious harmony.

Wars, big and small, are still taking place on this earth, and many people are facing hardships and have even sacrificed their lives because of this. However, wars cannot be abolished with the current international law. That is why HWPL proclaimed the 10 articles and 38 clauses of the Declaration of Peace and Cessation of War (DPCW) with international law experts to cease all wars and achieve peace. Today marks the 7th anniversary of the proclamation.

Peace messengers around the world are working even now so that the 10 articles and the 38 clauses of the DPCW can be submitted and adopted by the UN as a resolution. The DPCW’s Article 8 “Freedom of religion” and Article 9 “Religion, ethnic identity and peace” prohibit religious conflicts and advocate for religious peace. I thought these articles were radical and that is how I came to support the DPCW as a religious leader.

HWPL’s peace initiatives, such as the WARP Office meetings, international law for cessation of war, and peace education, should be praised and they are necessary institutions that need to be spearheaded. The 10 articles and 38 clauses of the DPCW need your endless support and encouragement to achieve not only cessation of war, but also religious freedom.

Dear respected family members of peace, if HWPL Chairman’s wishes for peace are carried out, religions will be able to come together, and we will be able to achieve salvation for all humanity and world peace. Let us all become delegates of peace and take part in HWPL’s peace work to achieve religious dialogue and harmony.

In the Buddhist scriptures, there is a saying, “Go alone like a lion that is not surprised by sound, like a wind that is not caught in a net, like a lotus flower that is not colored in the mud, like the horn of a rhinoceros.” Like this quote, there will be many difficulties in achieving complete peace but let’s take the lead in creating a world of peace by becoming one with HWPL until cessation of war and world peace is achieved.

Thank you.


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