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Why South Korea needs the Dalai Lama

by Emi Hailey Hayakawa, BTN, Nov 17, 2014

Open Letter to the general public issued by "Preparatory Committee for the Visitation of His Holiness the Dalai Lama to the Republic of Korea" on September 1st, 2014

Seoul, South Korea -- The social norms of the Republic of Korea is changing fast through economic development and people are forced to face fierce competition. The high suicide rate in Korea reflects that people are unhappy due to growing competition and economic inequalities even though our country has become one of the most developed country in the World.

Through our rapid development, the Korean society is ignoring the the larger part of human existence such as love, family, culture, health, spirituality, the environment or many other things that make life rich and meaningful. Furthermore, we still have failed to find a peaceful resolutions with our North Korean brothers.

The nation has financially developed but the minds and hearts of the South Korean people still need to develop.

It is now the right time to investigate ways to promote human values here in South Korea. We need to stop and think if we should live to make money, or to make money for a good life. We all are born with fundamental rights to pursue happiness and to promote human interconnectedness. If emphasis is placed only on economic development the delicate balance necessary for human well-being will be lost. Economic theories and financial development addresses only those human interactions that involve an exchange of money or commodities, and not the most compelling human values.

Pope Francis has visited Korea in August 2014.  President Park Geun-hye had directly greeted the pope at Seoul Airport and stated that the Korean people are also pleased to receive the Pope in the nation. President Park was very involved in receiving the Pope as she thought he would be able to bring some peace of mind to the South Korean citizens who had endured much suffering, especially after the tragic Sewol Ferry capsizing incident.

We believe that it is time that His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama be invited here to South Korea. The Dalai Lama is the recipient of the Nobel Peace prize, and is said to transcend all religions and Buddhist sects, and revered to be is considered to be the spiritual leader of our times.

He has stated, ““Every day, think as you wake up, today I am fortunate to be alive, I have a precious human life, I am not going to waste it. I am going to use all my energies to develop myself, to expand my heart out to others; to achieve enlightenment for the benefit of all beings. I am going to have kind thoughts towards others, I am not going to get angry or think badly about others. I am going to benefit others as much as I can.” It is through his teachings that the Korean people will begin to heal and give forgiveness to others, and act as a catalyst for promoting and developing human values.

His Holiness the Dalai Lama has visited most of Europe, the Americas, and of course, Taiwan. His Holiness had also visited our neighbouring country, Japan, more than 34 times, giving the Japanese community his teachings on Peace and Interconnectedness.

Then why is it that His Holiness is not allowed to set foot onto our country?

We, the Preparatory Committee for the Visitation of His Holiness the Dalai Lama to the Republic of Korea, would like to ask the citizens of Korea, Buddhist and Non-Buddhist alike, to join us in supporting and promoting Peace and loving Kindness in our Nation, as we work together to bring our teacher and Spiritual leader, His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama to South Korea.

Translated from Korean by Emi Hailey Hayakawa, BTN

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