President Park Geun-hye on Friday called for national unity, saying the country will be able to overcome any crisis if the people come together as one.
Park made the remarks in a message marking Buddha's birthday, which this year fell on Friday under the lunar calendar.
"Buddha said that all rivers, each with their own flavor, flow into the sea and become one flavor," she said in the remarks read by Culture Minister Yoo Jin-ryong at Jogye Temple in Seoul.
"If our people, each with their own circumstances and thoughts, can become one large sea called the Republic of Korea, and live in union like a family, I believe we will be able to overcome any crisis."
Citing Buddha's teaching that another person is the same person as oneself, Park said she and her government will work to heal social conflicts and help the nation live in union.
"I ask the Buddhist (community), which has historically served as the centripetal (force) of our national spirit, to once again become the center of unity," she said.