Youth delegations from Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia, Mongolia and Thailand participated in the Korean Buddhist Cultural Tour (KBCT) 2023 in Gyeongju City, North Gyeongsang Province, South Korea, from August 30 to September 2. The visit was organized by the World Buddhist Youth Community and hosted by the Jogye Order of Korean Buddhism.
Participants from Pemuda Theravada Indonesia (PATRIA), Young Buddhist Association of Malaysia (YBAM), Young Buddhist Association of Thailand (YBAT), Young Buddhist Association of Japan (JYBA), Fellowship Gem Buddhist, from Malaysia, from the Young Buddhist Association. of Indonesia (YBAI), the Buddhist Missionary Society of Malaysia (BMSM) and the ZKDM of Mongolia all benefited from this unique opportunity to meet, exchange views, embrace each other's cultural differences and facilitate exchanges between young Buddhists from diverse cultures.
The World Fellowship of Buddhist Youth (WFBY) is an international network of Buddhist organizations sharing the goal of propagating Buddhadharma and promoting solidarity among young Buddhists around the world. Headquartered in Bangkok, the World Brotherhood Buddhist Youth first began life within the Colombo Young Men's Buddhist Association in Borella, Sri Lanka in 1972. Today, the number of members of WFBY has expanded to 38 regional centers in 18 countries.
Representatives of Buddhist youth from many countries displayed their incredible talents, calling for strengthening the bonds of friendship and unity under the One Dharma during the opening ceremony evening.
On the second day, participants visited Bulguk-sa, a UNESCO World Heritage Site and the main temple of the Jogye order of Korean Buddhism. The temple contains many masterpieces of Buddhist art with images of Buddhas, bodhisattvas and disciples, all realistically and delicately carved in high and low relief.
The wooden buildings of Bulguk-sa, which date from the mid-XNUMXth century, and the nearby Seokguram Cave form a religious architectural complex of exceptional importance. Every corner of the complex is full of historical stories, such as the Jahamun Gate, the main entrance to the Daeungjeon Hall courtyard, where Shakyamuni Buddha is worshipped. Jahamun Gate means "Purple Sunset Gate", referring to the halo of wisdom emanating from the Buddha. The famous Cheongungyo and Baegungyo bridges are also part of the temple complex.
The tour program also allowed the young delegates to visit the Gyeongju World Theme Park, while the board members of the World Buddhist Youth Federation gathered for a meeting, as the meeting required a more formal environment expected to find solutions to certain controversial issues. The program also aimed to promote interpersonal exchanges, the idea being that if young people are happy, they should be able to channel their minds towards motivation.
On another day of the program, participants were invited to visit Uiduk University to experience a taekwondo exhibition and tour the university's extensive library. As part of this traditional Korean martial arts experience, young participants were able to hit targets with all their might without injuring their training partners. Afterwards, they attended a tea ceremony and dessert-making workshops at Ansimjeong-sa in nearby Daegu, the base temple of the Taego order of Korean Buddhism.
On the last day, participants stayed at Eunhae-sa Temple (or “Silver Sea Temple”), a main temple of the Jogye Order.
The Jogye Order, the largest Buddhist order in South Korea, represents traditional Korean Buddhism with roots dating back approximately 1 years, making it the oldest surviving Buddhist lineage in Korea.