Celebratory Speech of President of Jogye Order for Buddha%27s Birthday
“A Prayer for a New Awakening of Humanity”
With reverence, today we celebrate the anniversary of the coming of the Buddha. Today is also the birthday of all sentient beings in the limitless universe.
Sakyamuni Buddha taught that all sentient beings are originally enlightened and in the future will be reborn as Buddhas. Crawling insects, flying birds, even floating clouds, all of us are celebrating our birthday.
Through our mutual interdependence, all beings become a single jewel shining ever more brightly in the interwoven net of blessings. Even minute particles unseen to the eye cannot arise as independent entities, and enormous galaxies arise in a flash only after aeons of interdependence.
Even if one searches for a place where there are no sentient beings, looking deeply there is nothing that is not sentient being; even if one wandered for eternity here and there, no such place could be found. Within the original Buddha nature of the sentient beings of the dharma realm, the states of being and non-being are already non-existent.
Just one act of cruelty, that through greed, anger and ignorance destroys the peace of humanity, defiles the actions of all unenlightened beings. Just one act that protects from war and misfortune, through repentance, forgiveness and courageous wisdom leads to the just realization of unhindered life.
Your greed and my wisdom originally do not exist. If you, I and all beings do not love, we are separated by the blazing flames of the three poisons (greed, anger and ignorance). If you, I and all beings are filled with affection, the rift is burned away in the flames of forgiveness and wisdom.
My opinion and your ignorance, my integrity and your immorality, my kindness and your maliciousness, my poverty and your affluence, my diligence and your laziness, my pain and your happiness, my faith and your heresy, and so on, all this arrogance and attachment transforms the brightness of the world into darkness and gloom. It is like a black jewel and a dirty mirror that cannot reflect each other.
The numberless precious jewels of the net of interdependence become scattered as we each turn away from the light of others. As the wave of the three poisons grows higher, our lives are engulfed in sadness, gloom and misery.
As my greed, anger and ignorance are imbued with the light of the loving kindness, compassion, joy and wisdom of others, may this self-created darkness disappear forever!
When everything is empty, and as brilliant jewels we ceaselessly illuminate each other, the world becomes infinitely bright and all beings cry out with joy.
In this world where we have known nothing beyond war and domination, until even beings on distant planets beyond the Milky Way marvel at the brilliance of the shining Earth, let us spread the news of the beginning of a weaponless revolution, the love and understanding within the Buddha nature of all humanity.
Let us ensure that the young salmon traveling out to sea, the countless living beings carried to our shores on the tides, and the migratory birds that always come to live with us, without exception will continue to return.
May we ensure the youth who carry weapons leave them behind, and become a generation of bloodless revolutionaries who sing in the realm of peace.
With tears in our eyes, let us ensure that our impoverished neighbors who must flee across the borders into foreign lands are able to stand up straight and laugh.
The happiness of all of humanity hangs on a thread of the net of interdependence.
A birthday is a day for a new beginning.
I sincerely pray that humanity will embark on the path to a new awakening, for a planet of humankind, an ever green global village.
President of the Jogye Order of Korean Buddhism
May 5, 2550(2006),
8th day of the 4th lunar month