Friday, April 5, 2013

Tremble Before Violence

Praying in a Buddhist Temple in South Korea

All the current hateful and disturbing rhetoric coming out of North Korea lately has prompted me to recall the trips I have made to South Korea (Seoul in particular).  

Each time I have visited that beautiful country,  I have had the privilege of visiting some of the many Buddhists monasteries and temples found in that part of the world.

I have posted a picture of the very first time I ever entered a Buddhist temple in a monastery just outside of Seoul.  At first it seemed so foreign to me - so radically different from my experience in Christian churches. On that first visit, monks were chanting a mantra over and over. Of course I had no idea as to what they were singing,  so I turned to my Korean colleague who was with me on the trip and asked for a translation. "They are praying for peace in the world," was his simple reply.

Suddenly nothing seemed foreign at all.

I was in the company of peace-loving persons of good will, and I was struck with a sense of universality - all of us connected with the one God who in whom we live and move and have our being. 

Seoul is only miles from the border of North Korea. It seems so odd that such destructive words about nuclear threats and world-wide violence would be coming out of anywhere in the Korean Peninsula - a place so saturated with the Buddhist spirit. 

So today I also join with my monastic friends back in Seoul and I also pray for world peace.

The Buddha said: "All beings tremble before violence. All fear death. All love life. See yourself in others. Then whom can you hurt? What harm can you do?"

May it be so.

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