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Ambassadors, madams invited to visit Cheonman-sa Buddhist Temple in late MayAt the invitation of Venerable Chief Abbot Park Seung-eok

By Samsun Lee, editorial writer

Buddhism aspires to offer happiness to all. At the end of May, Venerable Park Seung-eok of the Cheonman-sa Buddhist Temple in Ulsan invites ambassadors and madams, especially of the Buddhist countries, to visit his Temple and receive the blessings of the Buddah. The Korea Post media organizes the tour full coverage by all its five media outlets, 3 in English and 2 in Korean, including www.koreapost.com and www.koreapost.co.kr.

On May 31, 2019, Chief Abbot Park Seung-eok of the Cheonman-sa Buddhist Temple is inviting ambassadors and madams to his Temple in Ulsan on the southeast coast of Korea. It is in celebration of the Buddha’s Birthday widely observed throughout Korea, especially at the Buddhist temples across the country as well as in Seoul.

The tour takes places after the Buddha’s Birthday, of which, the celebrating mood continues into May?and beyond.

Venerable Park Seung-eok of the Cheonman-sa Buddhist Temple in Ulsan, He is nickname an 'Iveterate Admirer of Diplomats' and tries to help all the diplomats in Korea through his prayers."They must all go to Geungnak Segye (World of Paradise) when they leave the secular world."

This year, the upcoming 12th of May this year is the Buddha’s Birthday, more widely known in Korea as Seokka Tansinil. The date, actually, is the 8th Day of April in the lunar calendar, but changes every year due to the differences in the two calendars which are used in Korea.

It is one of the most important legal holidays in Korea, perhaps the ‘biggest’ in the case of the Buddhists and their leaders who total more than 76 millopnm (according to Wikipedia) followed by Christtians estimated at 389,000.

Buddhist leaders from all parts of Korea, the ambassadors and civic leaders of the Ulsan region pose for the camera for a group photograph in memory of the Yeongsan-Jae Buddhist Rite on Oct. 25, 2009.

On this day, at many Buddhist temples in Korea wash the image of the newly born Buddha in water in a ceremony followed by Buddhist a religious service.

On this day at many Buddhist temples across the country, the visitors, the Buddhist belivers or otherwise, are treated to a lunchen and/or supper named Gongyang. Gongyang means offering of food to the Buddha.

In the evening, there are Buddhist Lantern Processions.

National flags of the participating countries are hoisted high in front of the main building of the Temple.

At the Korean army personnel recruit centers across the country, it is day when the new recruits have their meals to “their hearts’ content.”

The official name of the Buddha? Birthday in Korea is Bucheonim Osin Nam which literally translators “The Day When the Buddha Came.” In Chinese characters which were used in the past are still continuously used in the sound of Seokga Tansin Il.

Tourists stroll around the images of Buddha offering prayerws for happiness and blessings. The Buddhist-oriented Korean visitors (majority of Koreans feel they are influenced by the Buddha) feel very relieved after a visit to a Buddhist temple.

On the Buddha’s Birth, many Korean politicians visit the Buddhist temples across the country. The number of such visitors are the largest when the election day is near the Buddha’s Birthday.

According to Wikipedia, Buddha's birthday is a holiday traditionally celebrated in most of East Asia to commemorate the birth of the Prince Siddhartha Gautama, later the Gautama Buddha and founder of Buddhism. It is also celebrated in South and Southeast Asia as Vesak which also acknowledges the enlightenment and death of the Buddha. According to the Theravada Tripitaka scriptures, meaning "three baskets".

A Reclyning BuddhaL It is a maor iconographic and statuary pattern of Buddhism. It represents the historic Buddha during his last illness, about to enter the parinirvana.

Gautama was born c. 563/480 BCE in Lumbini in modern-day Nepal, and raised in the Shakya capital of Kapilvastu, in the present day Tilaurakot, Nepal. At the age of thirty-five, he attained enlightenment (nirvana) underneath a Bodhi tree at Bodhgaya (modern day India). He delivered his first sermon at Sarnath, India. At the age of eighty, he died at Kushinagar, India.

The exact date of Buddha's birthday is based on the Asian lunisolar calendars. The date for the celebration of Buddha's birthday varies from year to year in the Western Gregorian calendar, but usually falls in April or May. In leap years it may be celebrated in June.

The exact date of Buddha's Birthday is based on the Asian lunisolar calendars and is primarily celebrated in Baisakh month of the Buddhist calendar and the Bikram Sambat Hindu calendar, and hence it is also called Vesak.

A poster of the 2019 Gyeongju World Culture Heritage Lantern Festival hosted by Venerable Park beginning on May 25, 2019.

In modern-day India and Nepal, where the Historical Buddha lived, it is celebrated on the full moon day of the Vaisakha month of the Buddhist calendar.

In Theravada countries following the Buddhist calendar, it falls on a full moon Uposatha day, typically in the 5th or 6th lunar month.

In Korea and China, it is celebrated on the eighth day of the fourth month in the lunar calendar. The date varies from year to year in the Western Gregorian calendar, but usually falls in April or May. In leap years it may be celebrated in June. In Tibet, it falls on the 7th day of the fourth month of the Tibetan calendar (in May).

A traditional Korean folk art dancer offers prayers before a Buddhist Hand Sign at the Cheonman-sa Buddhist Temple.

In South Asian and Southeast Asian countries as well as Mongolia, Buddha's birthday is celebrated on the full moon day of the Vaisakha month of the Buddhist calendar and the Hindu calendar, which usually falls in April or May month of the Western Gregorian calendar.

The festival is known as Buddha Purnima, as Purnima means full moon day in Sanskrit. It is also called is Buddha Jayanti, with Jayanti meaning birthday in Sanskrit Language.

Buddha's statue located near Belum Caves, Andhra Pradesh, India.

Ambassador Abdulla Saif Al Nuaimi of the UAE is flanked on the left by Chiarman Lee Kyung-sik of The Korea Post media (left) and Venerable Park Seung-uk at the Armed Forces Day of the United Arab Emirates.

The corresponding Western Gregorian calendar dates varies from year to year:
In many East Asian countries Buddha's Birth is celebrated on the 8th day of the 4th month in the Chinese lunar calendar (in Japan since 1873 on April 8 of the Gregorian calendar), and the day is an official holiday in Hong Kong, Macau and South Korea. The date falls from the end of April to the end of May in the Gregorian calendar.

Ambassadors, madams and other senior diplomats circle around the Buddha image and pagoda for good luck, good health and prosperity as well as for peace and happiness of their country.

About Venerable Park:
Venerable Park holds a wide variety of leadership religious, cultural and philanthropic positions, which include: UN (NGO) peace ambassadorship, a member at Selection Committee for the Korea Nobel Peace Foundation, president of Korean Buddhist Myeongye-eui Jeondang, president of the National Federation of the Supporters of Working Students, an editorial writer of The Korea Post media, a Buddhist Priest at the Ulsan Police Station and also at the Ulsan Maritime Police Station.

Lee Sam-sun  edt@koreapost.com

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