English Library Seeks Globalization Of Buddhism

April 29, 2009

Author: Han Sang-hee

Source: The Buddhist Channel/The Korea Times


People no longer have to visit temples hidden among serene mountaintops to learn about the Buddhist faith. Just across from the Jogye Temple, the headquarters of the biggest Jogye Order in Korea, there is a small, yet lively library called the Buddhist English Library of Seoul (BELS). Here, you can learn, read and talk about the religion at any time.

The library celebrated its second birthday last Sunday, but director Kang Hoh-shik admitted that they have a long way to go.

``Many people stress the importance of the globalization of Korean Buddhism, but that's just talk. We are not prepared for such a trend yet, and that is why we started the library,'' he said Tuesday as The Korea Times visited the library.

BELS opened in May 2007 to offer a venue where foreign monks, Zen masters and Buddhists, both local and foreign, could get together, share their studies and learn about the religion in depth with special lectures and events.

Although the world recognizes Tibetan and Indian Buddhism more than Korean, experts and believers abroad have recognized the unique culture and teachings of Korean Buddhism, which stresses meditation.