The Russian invasion of Ukraine has reached its seventh day, with media reports telling of rapidly escalating violence accompanied by mounting suffering and loss of life. As spiritual leaders and peacemakers across the planet join a worldwide chorus of opposition to the senseless bloodshed, the revered Korean Seon (Zen) master and social activist Venerable Pomnyun Sunim* on Sunday issued a heartfelt statement for peace in Ukraine that emphasized the need for peaceful Russians and the global community to bring their collective voices to bear in a united call for the restoration of peace.
Decrying the human cost wrought by the tyranny of state-led violence, Ven. Pomnyun Sunim appealed for an immediate end to the hostilities in Ukraine and a united international front against unjustified oppression.
Ven. Pomnyun Sunim’s full statement, shared with BDG, reads:
A Call for Peace and Action
The Russian invasion of Ukraine and the death and the destruction that we see on the media are heartbreaking. In all conflicts, each side has justifiable reasons, but it is not right to resort to military intervention to resolve disputes. I sincerely hope that the current military conflict comes to an end as soon as possible and that the Ukrainian people can quickly recover their sense of normalcy and peace. Let’s take a moment of silence (and meditation) to wish for peace.
For the war to end as soon as possible, the international community must come together and send a unified message that it is not right to settle disputes with military force. However, the most effective solution will be for the Russian citizens to raise their collective voices in asking the Russian government for a prompt end to the war.
The crucial factor in ending the Vietnam War was not military victories or defeats. Ultimately, it was the anti-war movements by many people asking for peace within the U.S. that helped to end the war. It is necessary for the international community to cooperate to restrain Russia’s unjustifiable actions with economic and diplomatic sanctions. However, it is also very important for people in all corners of the world to continuously raise their voices for peace.
May all living beings be happy and peaceful.
February 27, 2022
Ven. Pomnyun Sunim
Ven. Pomnyun Sunim is a widely respected Dharma teacher, author, and social activist. He has founded numerous organizations, initiatives, and projects across the world, based on the Buddha’s teaching to respect all living beings. Among them, JTS Korea is active as an international aid organization working to eradicate poverty and hunger, while Jungto Society is a volunteer-based community founded on the Buddhist teachings and dedicated to addressing modern social issues that lead to suffering. Ven. Pomnyun Sunim also works closely with the International Network of Engaged Buddhists (INEB).
After entering the monkhood as a novice in 1969 under the guidance of his teacher Ven. Bulshim Domoon Sunim, Ven. Pomnyun Sunim has sought to spread the Buddha’s teaching in order to help individuals to free themselves from suffering. The scope of his work now encompasses raising awareness about ecological conservation, working toward the eradication of famine, disease, and illiteracy, and advocacy for human rights and world peace.
In October 2020, the Niwano Peace Foundation in Japan presented the 37th Niwano Peace Prize to Ven. Pomnyun Sunim in recognition of the revered monk’s international humanitarian work, environmental and social activism, and his tireless efforts to build trust and goodwill between communities of different faiths and cultures, toward the goal of world peace.**
* Sunim is a Korean title of respect for Buddhist monks.
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