Revered Buddhist Monk Stresses Forgiveness... Again

by Kim Han-su, The Digital Chosun, Oct 17, 2004

?Forgiving is the biggest discipline. Through forgiving others, I receive forgiveness. Everyday is a new day. One mustn?t turn ones back on the new day, being stuck in a rut. If one unties oneself and becomes free, the world, too, opens wide.?

Seoul, South Korea -- The Buddhist Monk Rev. Pubjeong, who lives deep in the mountains of Gangwon Province and gives two public dharma talks a year, followed up his April discussion of forgiveness with another discussion on the topic Sunday. In his autumn dharma talk held at Gilsang Temple in Seoul?s Seongbuk-dong amidst the fall foliage and cosmos flowers, Pubjeong stressed, ?We must free ourselves of the poison stuck in our hearts through forgiveness.?

April was a time when social tension had grown sharp as a result of the presidential impeachment and general election. As if to strike the bamboo clapper once more for a mundane world that had yet to forgive or harmonize going into autumn, the venerated monk chose to devote both his lectures, which were given only twice a year, to the subject of ?forgiveness.?

Pubjeong started off his lecture by quoting Thich Nhat Hanh, who said, ?If you are a poet, you will see clearly that there is a cloud floating in this sheet of paper,? and stressed, ?Like how the clouds sprinkle rain, and through that rain the trees grow, and with those trees paper is made, all of existence is interconnected; independent existence cannot be found anywhere.?

Pubjeong asked, ?Last April, too, I spoke of forgiveness, but how well have you put forgiveness into practice?? After this, he recounted an anecdote from the recently published collect of conversations by the Dalai Lama, ?The Wisdom Of Forgiveness.? After about 20 years, the Dalai Lama had met a fellow monk who spent 18 years in a Chinese prison and was forced to issue self-criticisms because he stayed behind in Tibet after the Dalai Lama had fled to India.

The Dalai Lama, seeing that the Tibetan monk had not changed a bit despite his many hardships over the years, asked, ?Wasn?t there a time when you were afraid?? The monk replied, ?I was most afraid that I might come to hate the Chinese, that I might lose my sense of mercy.? Pubjeong said, ?If I were in that position, could I have had such thoughts? Perhaps not, I?m ashamed to say.? He stressed, ?We who live upon the land must learn the spirit of mercy and forgiveness in a land in which we accept all.?

Pubjeong ended his lecture by saying, ?Humans, no matter who they are, must stand before their own sunsets when the time comes. Before that, they must unleash themselves from that which binds them and become free... I hope you open up and live in this world that has opened for us such a fine autumn day.?