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THE INVESTOR
September 19, 2021

[From the scene] Three Korean Buddhist monks request special entry into Myanmar

  • PUBLISHED :April 01, 2021 - 14:42
  • UPDATED :April 01, 2021 - 14:42
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The Ven. Jimong holds “Request for Assistance with Obtaining a Special Entry Permit to Myanmar” documents in front of the Myanmar Embassy to Korea in Yongsan, Seoul, on Thursday. (Song Seung-hyun/The Korea Herald)


The Ven. Jimong, chairperson of the Social and Labor Affairs Committee of the Jogye Order, the nation’s largest Buddhist sector, walked into the Myanmar Embassy to Korea in Yongsan, Seoul, late Thursday morning, holding a large envelope that says “Request for Assistance with Obtaining a Special Entry Permit to Myanmar.”

The committee explained that the envelope contained documents requesting the Myanmar Embassy in Korea issue special entry permits for three Korean monks -- the Ven. Jimong, Hyedo and Jongsu.

The committee under the Jogye Order explained that following an in-depth discussion, it has decided to send the monks to Myanmar and hold prayers at the Shwedagon Pagoda in Yangon, the country’s most sacred site, as well as conflict sites to stop the violence and murders that are happening following the military coup on Feb. 1.

“The ambassador was not there due to other schedules. I handed the document to the secretary,” the Ven. Jimong said after coming out of the embassy building around five minutes later. “The secretary said it is a special case, so it may be different, but the process usually takes around a month.”

Before entering the embassy, members of the Social and Labor Affairs Committee of the Jogye Order of Korean Buddhism held a press conference to deliver their thoughts on what is happening in Myanmar.

The conference started with the members of the committee raising three-finger salutes, which symbolizes resistance against the military coup in Myanmar.

“When we think of Myanmar citizens who are suffering from extreme sadness, anger and isolation, we feel shameful and guilty as a practitioner,” the Ven. Jimong said. “We would like to hold prayers earnestly with the hope that the guns in the hands of soldiers would turn into lotus flowers.”

Moreover, he expressed regrets about the limited role the United Nation has been playing as an international civic organization and urged Buddhist monks in Myanmar to come out and teach soldiers about their wrongdoing.
 

Members of the Social and Labor Affairs Committee of the Jogye Order raise three-finger salutes during a press conference held in front of the Myanmar Embassy to Korea in Yongsan, Seoul, on Thursday. (Song Seung-hyun/The Korea Herald)


The Ven. Jimong also asked for the Korean government and people’s understanding of their decision.

“We understand the position and concerns of the government, as they have to consider people’s safety,” the Ven. Jimong said. “Despite that, we cannot look aside as a Buddhist practitioner when people in Myanmar are suffering. We hope people can understand this.”

During the conference, Hay Man, one of the three leaders from Youth Action for Myanmar, a group formed in Korea by students from Myanmar to let people know about what is happening in their country, showed support for the monks’ decision as well.

“We hope that the monks’ prayers can bring peace to Myanmar,” the youth leader said. 

By Song Seung-hyun (ssh@heraldcorp.com)

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