Sakyadhita Korea Newsletter No. 27 (News from April – June 2020)

1. Advanced English Reading Class Stumbling Toward Enlightenment is continuously in progress – by Eunhee Kim

Since May 2, 2020, Sakyadhita Korea has been running the Advanced English Reading Class from 8-11am each Saturday. The class is focusing on American meditation teacher Geri Larkin’s book, Stumbling Toward Enlightenment, and the class is led by Professor Eun-su Cho. Participants divide up the text, translate it, and then share their translations with their classmates to read for a few days before discussing altogether during class. Currently, 21 sunims and laypeople are participating in this class. However, due to Covid-19, they meet virtually rather than offline. The participants like this system very much as it allows anyone to participate regardless of location.
Just like the book’s title, there are many anecdotes in the book that depict how writer, Geri Larkin, stumbles to learn the Dharma after encountering Buddhism in Sunryun Temple. The temple was opened in the US in Ann Arbor, Michigan in 1982 by Samu Sunim. Through this book, readers can see the interesting process through which Buddhism became enrooted in Western society. This reading class will continue until early August. We appreciate the enthusiasm and effort of the members participating in the translation work, and we are grateful to Professor Cho for organizing the class.

2. 2021 Sakyadhita Malaysia Conference Preparation News – by Hyung Eun Chung

Sakyadhita International is planning on having its 17th conference in Kuching Sarawak on Borneo Island in Eastern Malaysia in 2021. Thus far, the Sakyadhita conferences have typically been held in the months of June or July, but due to Covid-19 and for health safety reasons, the 17th conference is scheduled towards the end of 2021. From the 24th to 29th of December 2021, there will be paper presentations and various workshops followed by Kuching area sightseeing on the 30th and 31st.
For the preparation of the conference, volunteers from teams such as the international team under Sakyadhita International headquarters, the preparation team of the hosting nation, the paper review committee, the workshop team, the translation and interpretation team, and the publicity team are putting forth their utmost effort. We would really appreciate your support for the 17th conference.

3. Opening Ceremony of the three research centers under the National Bhiksuni Association – by Youngsuk Jun

The National Bhiksuni Association led by Bongak Sunim, the co-president of Sakyadhita Korea, had an opening ceremony of the Research Institute for the Korean Bhiksuni Sangha, the Research Institute for Temple Food, and the Research Institute for Tea Culture on June 5th at 11am in the second-floor conference room of the National Bhiksuni Association. Sukyung Sunim, the chief of the Research Institute for the Korean Bhiksuni Sangha, is a steering committee member of Sakyadhita Korea. Sakyadhita Korea members visited the Research Institute for the Korean Bhiksuni Sangha at 1pm on Saturday, June 13th to celebrate the opening of the research center.

4. Covid-19 Dongguk University Kyungju Campus Hospital, A Voice from Onsite - by Sungman Cho

This news is about the dedicated doctors and nurses taking care of Covid-19 patients in an isolated ward of Dongguk University Gyeongju Campus. It is said that Buddhist teachings and practices are very helpful in treating the patients.

5. Buddha’s Daughter in the World – Interview with Lama Dvora Interview: Lama Dvora

Lama Dvora founded the Ehvam International Spiritual Center for Peace in Israel and works there as a leader. She’s also an executive director of the Method and Wisdom Association. Lama Dvora received her masters and PhD degrees in math and computer science, and she also worked in a research center, a financial institution and in academia. For over 30 years, she studied Buddhism and other Asian traditions, and also translated many Buddhist sutras into Hebrew. For the past 20 years, Lama Dvora has been running Buddhist programs and taught students in Israel and other areas.

6. Buddhist Leadership Series, Chamseon 2, The Way Back to Myself

In this issue, we’re introducing Theodore Jun Park’s writings. The writing below is an excerpt from the “Leadership and Meditation” chapter in Chamseon 2, The Way Back to Myself (published November 2019 by Namu’s Mind Publishing Company). We received approval from both the author and publishers and are very grateful to them for allowing us to share this excerpt.

7. Buddhist Year 2564, Buddha’s Birthday Outline

In order to prevent the spread of Covid-19, Buddhist orders held Buddha’s Birthday celebration on May 30th rather than on the original birthday date of April 30th after waiting for the number of coronavirus cases to decrease. On the day of the event, each temple directed people to wear masks and maintain social distance. As all laypeople followed directions and upheld sanitary measures, not even one temple had a confirmed case following Buddha’s Birthday event.

Article on Bongnyeong Temple by Yujeong Sunim, Photos by Hyeosuk Sunim
Photos of Songgwang Temple and Bulilam Temple of Songgwang Temple by Hyung Eun Chung
Photos of the Single-Family Support Center by Youngho Lee
Articles covering Buddha’s Birthday in both Korea and India written and photographed by Yeonsuk Ga.

Jinmyeong Sunim acted as the one-day anchor for the Buddhist Television Network (BTN) to celebrate Buddha’s Birthday. BTN announced on the 28th that Jinmyeong Sunim, a member of the Intangible Cultural Assets Committee under the Korean Cultural Heritage Administration, would be the one-day anchor on June 1st. This was the first time that a Bhikkuni sunim took the role of an anchor.
[Article] “Jinmyeong Sunim, A Surprising Transformation to One-Day Anchor for BTN” (Yeonhap News, May 28, 2020)

8. [Information on World Buddhism #14] Nurturing the Roots of Chinese Buddhism in Africa

9. Member News about Yeongsuk Jeon and Yeonho Lee