15th Annual New York Martin Luther King, Jr.
Interfaith Observation for Religious and Racial Harmony
Jan/20/2013, Sunday, 4:00 – 5:30pm
Location: St. Bartholomew’s Church (Park Ave. & 51st Street)
Speech by Ven. Chung Ohun Lee, Ph.D.
Dear Sisters and Brothers
It is my honor to celebrate the life of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. with you today. The symbol of Won Buddhism is the circle. The circle represents unity and harmony among nations, people and all living beings. Won Buddhists practice Dr. King’s vision of sister and brotherhood and dedication to the practice of non-violence to promote peace for co-existence and harmony in the world.
I was inspired by the following words of Dr. King: “All life is interrelated, that somehow we are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality tied in a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one directly affects all indirectly. For some strange reason, I can never be what I ought to be until you are what you ought to be. You can never be what you ought to be until am what I ought to be. This is the interrelated structure of reality.”
Twenty five hundred years ago, the Buddha also recognized this principles as the ‘inter-dependent, inter connected nature of reality.’ In Buddhist practice, we make every effort to see the interrelated structure of reality and to live a life of unity with our fellow beings. Without this understanding of interconnectedness, we cannot practice nonviolence; we cannot build peace on earth. In Won Buddhism, true nature of reality is non-dualistic; dichotomy and dualism of us and them is mistaken view according to Won Buddhist teaching.
Won Buddhism highly recognizes the leadership role Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. played in advancing peace, religious and racial harmony, reconciliation and cooperation throughout the world community. We pay tribute to him and honor his legacy today.
As we commemorate Dr. Martin Luther King’s life, we make our promise and renew our commitment to continue his legacy to promote harmony and peace through the world.