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Leaders of South Korea & Sri Lanka visit historic Jogyesa temple

29 November 2017 - 143   - 0

South Korean President Moon Jae-in made a visit to historic Jogyesa Temple to welcome visiting President Maithripala Sirisena who is on a three day official visit to the country, Office of South Korean President said.

President Sirisena is on a state visit that comes in the significant year marking the 40th anniversary of diplomatic ties between Korea and Sri Lanka. The first event on his itinerary in Korea was a visit to Jogyesa Temple where President Moon joined him.

President Moon greeted President Sirisena at Iljumun (One Pillar Gate) on the temple grounds, and the two Presidents paid homage to Buddha at Daeungjeon (Main Dharma Hall). Afterward, they moved to the administrative headquarters of the temple to sit down with the Most Venerable Seoljeong, President of the Jogye Order.

President Moon said that it was his pleasure to come to welcome President Sirisena ahead of an official welcoming ceremony and a summit scheduled for tomorrow. He also congratulated the Most Venerable Seoljeong, who is esteemed for his virtue and high moral character, on his recent inauguration as the President. He went on to say he was all the more pleased to have a chance to meet him on this occasion.

President Moon said that it was his pleasure to come to welcome President Sirisena ahead of an official welcoming ceremony and a summit scheduled for tomorrow. He also congratulated the Most Venerable Seoljeong, who is esteemed for his virtue and high moral character, on his recent inauguration as the President. He went on to say he was all the more pleased to have a chance to meet him on this occasion.

President Moon noted there are many things in common between the two countries as both share Buddhist culture. Sri Lanka is one of the leading Buddhist countries and Buddhism has long flourished in Korea. He also explained that the holy sarira of Sakyamuni Buddha gifted by Sri Lankan Buddhist monk Anagarika Dharmapala is enshrined in the Ten Story Buddha Relic Stupa at Jogyesa Temple, home to the Jogye Order, the most prominent Buddhist sect in Korea. He also reminded President Sirisena that the Mahabodhi Tree he donated to Korea is growing on the grounds of Jogyesa Temple. Considering all this, President Moon added, it was especially meaningful to meet President Sirisena in Jogyesa Temple today.

In reply, the Sri Lankan President said it was an honor to meet with President Moon and the President of the Jogye Order of Korean Buddhism and expressed his appreciation for having been invited so soon after President Moon’s recent swearing-in. He went on to give special thanks to Korea for dispatching a delegation to the United Nations Day of Vesak 2017 observed in Sri Lanka. President Sirisena also added that it was a great honor to himself as well as to his country and people for President Moon to take the time to greet him ahead of the official schedule tomorrow. Noting that he has met with numerous other heads of state over the past three years following his inauguration, President Sirisena emphasized that President Moon was the first head of state to receive him before an official schedule. The President once again expressed his appreciation to President Moon for greeting him in a down-to-earth and comfortable manner. 

President Sirisena also said that Korea has rendered significant assistance to his country over the past four decades, especially through the financial aid of the Korea International Cooperation Agency (KOICA). The President continued that the two countries needed to work toward a closer, future-oriented relationship, marking the 40th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic ties this year. The President then extended congratulations to the Most Venerable Seoljeong on his inauguration as the President of the Jogye Order of Korean Buddhism, adding that he was delighted to meet him in person. He said he came to understand that many Koreans respected the Most Venerable Seoljeong. Noting that he was from a Buddhist country, President Sirisena expressed the hope that the Most Venerable Seoljeong would be able to commit himself to the development of Buddhism and proposed that the two nations work together to improve ties between Buddhists in both nations. 

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