Ven. Chung Ohun Lee, Executive Director

Ven. Chung Ohun LeeVen. Dr. Chung Ohun Lee is on the Supreme Council of Won Buddhism, spiritual teacher, visionary activist and international leader in the movement of interreligious dialogue and cooperation. As the Guiding Spiritual Teacher of Won Buddhism of Manhattan (WBM), Chung brings Won Buddhist spirituality to her Sangha (community) and international audiences. She teaches the Won Buddhist philosophy of spiritual stability and freedom from the mindless and unceasing pursuit of materialism. Chung is noted for imparting Buddha dharma on a personal, community and global level. She established a thriving Buddhist temple in the middle of Manhattan through the embodiment of spiritual cultivation in the midst of our materialistic society, which is the hallmark of Won Buddhism.

Ven. Lee serves as the Co-President of Religions for Peace International, the largest international interfaith organization, a position she has held since 1999. Dr. Lee has represented Won Buddhism to the United Nations since 1992 and held many important UN Committees, working for peace and security, climate change, human right, universal ethics, gender equality and addressed ethical, moral and spiritual perspective on the work of the United Nations.

Dr. Lee is the author of Gender Equality, Women in Won Buddhism (2013), Living Dharma: A Guide to Daily Practice of Won Buddhism (2012), Vision for a New Civilization: Spiritual and Ethical Values in the New Millennium (2000) and Dharma Record: New Mind and New Body (1994). She holds a M.A. and a Ph.D. from New York University. Ven. Lee received full ordination in 1981 in Korea.

Rev. Doyeon Park, Alternative Representative to the United Nations

Rev. Doyeon ParkRev. Doyeon Park is a Kyomunim, literally meaning one who devotes oneself to teach Buddha dharma in the Won Buddhist tradition. She has served as a minister of the Manhattan Won Buddhist temple and Alternative Representative of Won Buddhism to the United Nations since 2008. Also, she is the Buddhist chaplain at Columbia University and New York University.

Rev. Doyeon focuses on creating a sangha (spiritual community) where various individuals and groups can cultivate their inner wisdom and compassion to live with peace and dignity based on the teachings of Won Buddhism. Realizing the interconnectedness of all through her spiritual practice, she is also actively engaged in interfaith dialogue and cooperation to promote mutual understanding and respect among different religions.

Inspired by the Buddhist idea of inner freedom and happiness, Rev. Park started her monastic training in 1998. She graduated from Dept. of Won Buddhism, Won Kwang University, Iksan, Korea and earned M.A. of Won Buddhist Studies from Won Institute of Graduate Studies, Glenside, Pennsylvania, USA. She received full ordination in 2007.

Laura Samuels, Programming Consultant

Laura SamuelsLaura (Won Do) began attending the Manhattan Temple since it opened in 1994. She actively supports various special events held by the Temple and leads moving meditation and chi kung practice during retreats. She integrates Won Buddhist practice into her daily life to balance the demands of family and a career in health care.

After sixteen years of consistent practice of Won Buddhism, Laura was appointed to the position of WBM Lay Teacher by Ven. Ohun Lee in April 2010. She received the Won Buddhism Dharma Practice award in 2012. Laura holds a master’s degree in social policy and helps coordinate special programs for the Won Buddhism UN Office.

Laura is a long time advocate of healthy living and has practiced chi kung, yoga and tai chi for many years. She is a former instructor of chi kung at the Flushing YMCA where she taught for ten years. She was recently accepted as a disciple of Master Chen Zhongua, the international standard bearer for Chen Style Taijiquan. She trains in Chen Style Practical Method Taijiquan near her home in Queens.

Laura has also designed Won Motion, a meditation and exercise fusion that strengthens the body and enhances sitting practice. This graceful-aging practice is designed especially for Westerners, who tend to have lots of stiffness and weakness due to a sedentary lifestyle. Laura teaches Won Motion at the Manhattan Temple and privately.