The 18th International Sakyadhita Conference kicked off Friday in Seoul under the theme "Living in a Precarious World: Impermanence, Resilience, Awakening." Held June 23-27 and co-hosted by the Korean Bhikshuni Association and Sakyadhita Korea, this international event brings together some 3 Buddhist monks, lay people, guests and dignitaries from South Korea and around the world.
The International Association of Buddhist Women Sakyadhita is the leading global body committed to transforming the lives of women in Buddhist societies, aspiring to empower and unite Buddhist women, promote their well-being and facilitate their work for the benefit of the Dharma and all sentient beings. "Sakyadhita" means Daughter of Shakya (the historical Buddha's clan name). Working locally, Sakyadhita provides an international network among Buddhist women, promoting research and publications and striving to create equal opportunities for women in all Buddhist traditions.
The theme of this year's conference, "Living in a Precarious World: Impermanence, Resilience, Awakening", refers to the increasingly evident nature of impermanence in the world around us, as evidenced by the climate crisis. , environmental destruction, political extremism, social instability and the growing incidence and threat of violent conflict. Directly addressing this theme, the conference program includes a wide range of programs, including paper presentations, workshops, exhibitions, meditation sessions and cultural performances.
Presentations and workshops will focus on the life of female monastics in contemporary Korea and look to the future, gender stereotypes and impermanence, the revival and evolution of female ordination in various Buddhist traditions, as well as than reviews of the practice and application of Buddhadharma in modern society.
In his address at the opening ceremony of the conference on Friday, Ven. Bon-gak, president of the 18th Sakyadhita Conference and president of the Korean Bhiksuni Association of the Jogye Order, the largest Buddhist order in South Korea, shared: "Today the world is in the throes of war. and pandemics, the climate crisis caused by a rapidly changing environment and regional disparities. We live in a time of mistrust and suspicion.
“We, even in times of crisis, cared and showed consideration for each other, overcoming many challenges together. However, now is the time to seek better guidelines for life and find a direction where everyone can come together in harmony.
“A heart full of greed will lead to wars and all kinds of crises, but true happiness will come when one maintains inner peace by emptying desire and greed. That's probably the sense of awakening,” said Ven. Bon-gak.
“In order to navigate through these crises and problems of the modern world, the 18th International Sakyadhita Conference, held today under the theme “Living in a Precarious World,” will undertake a five-day pilgrimage with you. Starting today, we will join over 3 participants from over 000 countries to discuss, experience and empathize with each other on how to stay awake properly.
This year's conference was sponsored by: the Jogye Order of Korean Buddhism; the XNUMXth-century Bong Eun Sa Korean Buddhist temple; Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism of South Korea; Seoul Metropolitan Government; Gang Nam Gu District Government; and the Korea Tourism Organization.
With representatives from Buddhist communities around the world, the 18th International Sakyadhita Conference promises five days of conscious reflection and wisdom on compassionate action and social engagement in the face of impermanence from the perspective of the sacred feminine and through the Buddhadharma prism.
Speaking at the conference's opening ceremony on Friday, Sakyadhita President Prof. Sharon Suh observed, "These are indeed unprecedented times and how wonderful it is to come together in person after the pandemic. If the pandemic has taught us anything, it's that we need each other, and that resilience and awakening come through collective effort. This is what the International Association of Sakyadhita Buddhist Women has always been: to bring us together, to hold us together and to lift us all towards liberation.