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[Newsmaker] Opposition leader sends beef jerky to Buddhist monks

(Yonhap)
(Yonhap)

South Korea’s opposition leader accidentally sent beef jerky to the Jogye Order of Buddhism as a Lunar New Year’s gift, bewildering the country’s largest Buddhist group, which practices vegetarianism.

Gift sets containing beef were delivered to several of the group’s senior officials earlier last week under the name of Liberty Korea Party Chairman Hwang Kyo-ahn. 

The main opposition party learned about the mistake Friday and retrieved the gift sets the same day. It said it had prepared to send something else, but an error occurred.

On Monday, Hwang expressed deep regret.

Asked about the incident by reporters after a party meeting at the National Assembly, the leader said he would investigate to find out how it happened.

Hwang, a devout Christian, created a stir in May last year at a Buddha’s birthday event.

At the time, he did not press the palms of his hands together, a gesture of prayer and greeting for Buddhists. He later apologized for his “lack of understanding of different religions.”

Influenced by Mahayana Buddhism, Jogye Order monks do not eat meat because they adhere strictly to the five precepts in Buddhism, the first of which forbids the killing of living beings.

By Ock Hyun-ju (laeticia.ock@heraldcorp.com)
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