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S. Korean religious leaders eye UN stage to send out messageBy Choi Si-young
Published : Jan. 11, 2024 - 15:41
A quartet consisting of a Buddhist monk, Protestant minister, Catholic priest and Won Buddhist cleric aspires to dance its way to the UN like the K-pop sensation BTS did in 2021 to send a message on happiness.
“That’s a wild dream,” said the Venerable Sungjin, a Buddhist monk, speaking of the group’s plan for the year at a press conference marking the publication of their first book on Monday in Seoul. The book, “We May Have Different Religions, but Life’'s Worries are the Same” (unofficial translation), is a compilation of talks the four religious leaders had with ordinary Koreans to discuss ways to happiness.
Father Ha Sung-yong, a Catholic priest, said finding satisfaction with life at the present moment could be a start, noting, “We can never be happy if we think that having more could make us happy.”
“If we keep dwelling on what we don’t have, we feel the exact opposite, unhappy,” said Park Se-woong, a Won Buddhist cleric. “Doing our best not only in appreciating what’s given to us but really enjoying it is key.”
The Reverend Kim Jin, chief director at the National Coalition of Religious Peace Corps, acknowledged that finding inner peace while dealing with external challenges is difficult.
One way to achieve that, the Rev. Kim added, is to “put myself at ease first and find peace.” Kim noted money is important but people should think about how best to use it, rather than to have more at all costs.
The Ven. Sungjin stressed that identifying one’s single biggest setback preventing “feeling happy” is the first step, adding that that opens up room for a fresh perspective.
In 2022, the Buddhist monk suggested to the other religious leaders that they form a quartet, a project that he said is aimed at offering consolation to the public. Having agreed against singing religious songs, the quartet sings popular songs that people can relate to.
“Everyone has something to be thankful for,” Father Ha said. “Take a look around, there will always be people ready to sympathize with you, with us.”
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