Famous Buddhist Monk Compares Park Geun-hye to Shinzo Abe

During a late November speech, the most famous Buddhist monk in Korea grabbed media attention when he implied that President Park closely resembled Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe for refusing to apologize for obvious historic wrongdoing. The Venerable Pomyun said that Park’s refusal to apologize for the National Intelligence Service interfering in the election because she did not order it is like Prime Minister Abe refusing to apologize for the invasion of Korea because he didn’t personally participate.

Pomyun, famous for his eternal wide grin, first threw his weight into politics when he appeared with Ahn Cheol-soo in a series of wildly popular speeches across the country in 2011. The monk maintains close ties with Ahn and consulted with Moon Jae-in in August 2012 during his presidential campaign. South Korea’s Buddhists have traditionally stayed out of politics except in rare circumstances, and notably Pomyun does not belong to the majority Jogye Order.

Article from The Kyunghyang Shinmun:

Buddhist Monk: “President Park Must Not Act like Abe”

korea-pomyun-pomnyun-monk-buddhist-park-speech

On November 25th, the Venerable Pomyun criticized President Park while bringing up the behavior of Japan’s Prime Minister Abe at Chonnam National University’s convention hall, site of the “New Century Gwangju Book Concert”, an event sponsored by the Foundation for Peace, Oh My Book, and other organizations.

Starting from when the emcee asked his opinion about misconduct in the national presidential election, he responded emphatically with “she must apologize.”

The buddhist monk began saying “You can’t say something like this.” He said Pres. Park can’t say “I never ordered it and never participated in it, so there’s no need to apologize for anything.” He objected to President Park refusing to offer an apology.

The Venerable Pomnyun said, “Prime Minister Abe, what to do about him. Abe has said, ‘I never ordered an invasion of Korea, so why should I apologize for it?’ Well, since he’s the head of the government that inherited Japan’s former government he certainly needs to offer an apology.” The comments were an indirect way of calling for an apology from President Park for the election misconduct.

The Venerable Pomnyun pointed out, “Do our constitution and national legislation allow the military units under the Ministry of Defense or any government organizations to interfere with elections? No.” He added, “If our laws are infringed upon, there must be punishment and there need to be promises to prevent such acts from recurring again in the future.”

Professor “K” from the Liberal Arts College at Chonnam National University who attended today’s talks said, “If we follow President Park’s logic, then the apology from Prime Minister Abe regarding Japanese colonialism and brutality would be unfair.” He went on to say, “The Venerable Pomnyun’s remarkable analogy really struck a chord with the approximately 400 students in attendance.”

Comments from Daum:
쉬엄쉬엄님:

I sympathize with and fully support the Venerable Pomnyun’s words.

so attractive:

Naturally, nutty conservatives just wanna do what they want~ They have no logic whatsoever. Using sophistry and black-and-white reasoning to cover up any point under discussion is the trademark of nutjob conservatives!

사람향기:

The Saenuri Party will foam at the mouth saying the Venerable Pomnyun is also a sympathizer to the North.

이정진님:

The Venerable Pomnyun is awesome^^ Let the Buddhist monks participate in issuing statements about the current affairs.

korea-pomyun-pomnyun-monk-buddhist-park

오뤄봇:

Park Geun-hye has something in common with Syngman Rhee… Syngman Rhee’s rigged election was on March 15th… He slandered his opponent as part of the “Communist Party” before finally getting out of here. Park Geun-hye’s rigged election via general government intervention was on December 19th… She called her opponents Commies and sympathizers to the North. History repeats itself….

o0o:

You can’t also be like your dad. [Referring to Park Chung-hee. ‘Aebi’ meaning dad in Korean sounds similar to ‘Abe’.]

띠아블:

His words are simple but strongly sympathizable!

sangdo:

How great it would be if there were more like the Venerable Pomnyun we could find in the world of Buddhism.

살로메:

Park Geun-hye is a moron, Abe is a moron, and Kim Jong-un is a moron. East Asia’s 3 clowns, get out!

잔차:

The only right answer is President Park Geun-hye’s resignation.

빌리지피플:

Miss Park is just plugging her ear and trying to ignore the rigged election.

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  • Mighty曹

    Religion and politics should NEVER mix.
    But I agree with his analogy of Park to Abe.

    • lonetrey / Dan

      Separation of church and state, right?

      • Mighty曹

        Separation of church and state allows co-existence to an extent. ‘Separation’ being the distance/gap between the two. I want the two to never co-exist. But I guess it’s still better than Iran, where the Supreme Leader has the final say in politics.

  • chucky3176

    I wish Korean monks and priests stay out of politics. Did Buddha get involved in politics? Did Jesus speak out against the ruling Romans? No. Both of them stayed out of politics, and both of them preached not the way of the material world and told their followers, that the kings and rulers on earth have nothing to do with what your personal relations with the higher beings should be. But here we have stupid monks and Catholic priests encouraging their followers to stage a civil disobedience over some politics. This is why I have a problem with religion in South Korea. They are just convenient fronts for people to further their selfish personal goals, whether they’re going after monetary riches, or a tool to further their fame and status. Please, no more organized religions!

    • Daniel Russell

      I cant tell if you’re being sarcastic or not. Jesus didn’t speak out against the ruling Romans? All Jesus did WAS speak out against the Romans. Sometimes even violently. That was his life’s purpose. This monk has every right (democratic society) to speak his mind. And continue he should too, for he speaketh the truth.

      • David

        I am not sure what you are referring to. Jesus made a few comments regarding the Romans but certainly most of his words/works were aimed at people and how they behaved, not which government they were under. In response to whether the Jews should pay taxes, he said “render unto Caesar what is Caesars”. He was not the savior sent to free them from the yoke of the Romans as most Jews thought the messiah would be.

        • Daniel Russell

          I urge you to read Zealot: the life and times of Jesus of Nazareth by Reza Aslan. Then you’ll understand what Jesus was all about: liberating Palestine from the Romans and removing the corrupt Jewish priests.

          • David

            I see, and what does Aslan use as sources? I have read the bible as well as writings by contemporary historians like Josephus, Don’t take this the wrong way but I don’t think Christianity had to wait 2000 years for this man to write a book to tell us his interpretation of what Jesus was all about. However, I will look into it when I have time.

          • Daniel Russell

            Sources? Well the bible amongst many others. He’s a scholar of religions and a professor at the university of California. So his credentials are pretty solid. Check out the book. It’s interesting.

          • David

            I will do that.

          • chucky3176

            Who is this Aslan? Didn’t Jesus constantly warn of false prophets who claim lies as truths and who distort the word of God? Christians hold the Bible as the absolute truth, if it’s not in the Bible, then it is the not the truth. What some guy claims in his book means zip.

          • Daniel Russell

            Yeh, you’re right – what ‘some guy’ says in his book does mean zip. Except this guy is a scholar of religion and a professor who’s life’s work has been to study the bible and other religious texts. An expert.

          • Anthony M Ludovici

            Aslan had his own agenda to push, he’s a Muslim and fairly emphatic leftist sympathizer isn’t he?

            Jesus spoke out against the Pharisees. To most people living in the provinces, their concern wasn’t the Romans since the Romans did not affect them on a day to day basis. Rome delegated responsibility and allowed the constitutions of things like the Greek city states to continue.

          • Daniel Russell

            You just simplified and glossed over a major part of human history in a couple of sentences.

          • Lois

            As did you. Except we can add distortion to the list.

          • Anthony M Ludovici

            Because I don’t agree with massaging Biblical History into a “Jesus was an anti-Roman rebel, just like us liberals are countercultural rebels” narrative, I’m “simplifying” it?

            The universal target of the Nazarene’s anger was nearly always the Jewish establishment. The Pharisees. Not the Romans. You have no idea how Roman governance worked in Judea at that time, there was no such thing as a widespread provincial bureaucracy until Diocletian.

          • Daniel Russell

            Is it relevant to the argument – his Muslim faith? And his leftist sympathies (Is he a leftist sympathiser? I’d be interested to know where you got that information from) or are they just tools to simplify the narrative and therefore discredit him?

          • Anthony M Ludovici

            Yes, it is relevant. Why do you think any literary analysis begins with an examination of the author’s life and background?

            Derp.

          • Daniel Russell

            Ok then fair enough. In that case, if it’s relevant, as you say, please tell me your chosen religion and political stand (left or right). So I can understand your agenda.

            Thanks.

          • Anthony M Ludovici

            I am an Orthodox Christian reactionary rightist. Politically I believe in elitism, inequality, aristocratic tradition etc.
            These manifest themselves in a belief in Monarchism and Aristocratic Republicanism (as opposed to plutocratic/underclass Republicanism).

    • JoeChicago

      Yeah, I am also for keeping religion out of politics, but this monk was talking nothing about religion but about how Park’s lack of comment on the election scandal has caused her to lose ground against the Japanese in asking for an apology and made people lose faith in Korean democracy. He mentions nothing about buddhism when he criticizes Park, only talks about the law. Seems to me like he is keeping his religion and the law seperate.

      Also, Jesus did speak out against the ruling Romans and Jew in the area during his time. That is why they wanted him dead. You can read about it here http://www.bbc.co.uk/religion/religions/christianity/history/whokilledjesus_1.shtml

      • nqk123

        Jesus is just a guy fighting for his religious belief. people need to stop worshiping like he’s a god

    • KCdude

      I’m a semi-religious Anglican (neutral church) and I can’t bet that religion would stay away from politics forever. Religion is another form of politics that controls the heart and mind of humans.

    • nqk123

      religion yield too much influence on people. this is why I always support the idea of keeping religion out of politic

  • bultak23

    Venerable Pomnyun does not only sit and meditate in a temple somewhere, he helps others and sets a good example.

  • commander

    The primary reason religion authorities remaind separated from the secular affairs is that religio-fueled conflict could be the more ferocious than anything else. Not only that, a religious element is taken advantage of for political gain, regardless of opinions from religous leaders or not.

    Of course, in the event of emergencies such as grave suppression of basic human rights or restriction of faith freedom, religious leaders or groups can come to the fore to fight for what they believe is right. Barring that case, religious movement needs to remain out of the picture.

    The intelligence agenc’s intrusion into the 2012 presidential election is not that kind of emergency that warranties religious interventions.

    The supporters of the President Park view the monk’s remarks as politically motivated while critics call it legitimate.

    This means the monk’s comparison is the opposite of his intention: deepened political discord.

    He needs to remaind aloof from secular political affairs.

    • JoeChicago

      But he does not seem to be grounding his opinion in religion, but in law. When a religious figure comes out against abortion that is one thing because usually there view is shaped by their religion. But when speaking about an election scandal, his was speaking of the law and not of his religion. Those are important distinctions to consider. You should not accept an illegitimate election just to avoid political discord. Political discord is an important part of democracy.

      • commander

        The primary task of Buddhist monks lies in sharing religious teachings with the mass to help them lead a balanced healthy life without transgressions.

        If he want to speak of politics, he needs to defrock himself and walk into the secular world.

        And he should been careful in making comparions. He shoud have highlighted the importance of transparency in presidential elections if he would really and really want to get his case across to the public on political matters.

        Few could say that there is no problem with the 2012 presidential election where it turned out the spy’s agency meddled in favor of the sitting president.

        And logically speaking, before the president makes any apology in relation with the last presidential poll, the scope and depth of the spy agency’s unjustifiable intervention shouls be first delved into.

        Demanding any apology from the president at best takes on secondart importance.

        You can imagine the Roman Catholic Pope criticized the younger Bush’s invasion of Iraq without finding evidence of WMD to back his declaration of war against terror?

        History shows that religion turned a multitude disputes into deadly armed clashes, infusing opposing sides with the mindset of “we are absolutely right.”

        I am worried that his remarks open the floodgate of other religious groups making divergent political statements, making the already messy political landscape in the nation more dim and opaque with raw emotions replacing reason, debate and compromises.

      • commander

        Any apology from the president have deep, wide collateral damage of political nature.

        All political players in parliment know in principle that the spy agency’s inteventory move is worng.

        But ackniwledging and apologizing for that is a politically big deal.

        His comment will not help defuse a simmering politcal standoff but may serve to provide the opposition parties with ammunition for their attacks on the president and the governing party, which in turn will hit back vigorgously for that.

      • chucky3176

        JoeChicago, the vast majority of Koreans could careless about some twitter comments made by Park’s supporters within the NIS. I highly doubt internet comments could sway voters to vote the way they did. And there’s no evidence that Park had anything to do with those NIS internet trolls. What does she have to apologize for? That she won the election? Her approval rating remains strong, despite this scandal. Which tells me the outcome of the voters were never in doubt in the first place, and proves that troll comments really were never a big factor. Those responsible for the NIS wrongdoings should be punished. But at the same time, the opposition political parties must accept their election defeat that they took over a year ago, and work with the ruling party to govern the nation. It’s time to move on. Their bickering over this matter means that the bills that are needing to be voted on, are being held up due to constant political battles such as these. Koreans want the governments to come together and work for the country, not just for their respective parties.

        • Racist bozos are brainless

          What iota of a difference does it make if NIS comments were effective or not ? The issue is this- what is SUPPOSED to be a neutral agency is trying to pick winners and losers, trying to muck up the true will of the people. How can they just be simple NIS trolls ? People can get into serious trouble for trolling WHILE holding down an NIS job, no way a subordinates are going to muck around with their own lives,this is the work of higher ups with a lot of power. In a DEMOCRACY- its not important to just win the election, whether you played fair is a much more important question and public opinion also depends on the media- if the media’s not going to say how politicians renege on their election promises and are only talking bout how abe’s ass is being kicked around ofcourse polls will be good ! What about the chae dong wook incident ? -That story stinks to high heaven-Look chucky im not interested in attacking you personally, you’re a decent enough guy, but you are so fast to wish justice for usbeki sub-contractors & mongolian mrs kims, why are you so accepting of the REAL crimes?

          • Chucky3176

            Fine! Punish the NIS for the wrong doing. I never defended them. But once again it goes back the original question. What does this got to do with Park Geun Hye?

          • Racist bozos are brainless

            A blue house guy actually admitted to having fingered chae dong wook (metaphorically ofcourse) http://koreajoongangdaily.joins.com/news/article/article.aspx?aid=2981540&cloc=joongangdaily%7Chome%7Cnewslist1 How much stink should come out of the blue house for a park loyalist like you to have some introspection ? Shouldn’t a loyalist also be pragmatic ? The guy who will give actual evidence against the most powerful person in korea will have to rot minimum for a month at a russian airport- & then become the neutered pet of a russian dictator. We can only read between the lines and connect the dots. As an asian my perspective is- india has a lot of ground to cover, japan is getting ossified, china, admirable though it may be, is communist, right now korea is the one to look up to. But if korea turns a blind eye to corruption sucking away power from the common man, well it is then staring at a future of mediocrity.

          • Chucky3176

            I still fail to see where the dots that implicate Park rigged the elections. If this kind of media manipulation by some of her supporters is considered enough to invalidate her election win, then all the US elections would also be invalidated. Because this type of media manipulation is not unique to South Korea.

            http://spectrum.ieee.org/telecom/internet/computer-scientist-warns-of-social-media-manipulation-in-us-election

            Why is it that only in South Korea, this is even an issue?

          • JoeChicago

            What the professor talked about and what the NIS is similar but different. While a political party should have a favored candidate to win, a government organization should never have a favored candidate. That is why it is more egregious what the NIS, they are suppose to be neutral. If a political party is falsely creating support, they should be called out by the news (ie the Swift Boat against John Kerry, which was proven as a false allegation) If what they do to manipulate public support is illegal, there should be an inquiry and people should be arrested (ie Nixon’s Watergate). Those are two instances of manipulation by political parties in the USA that made very big news, so this is not an instance of South Korea being picked on.

          • JoeChicago

            Park Geun Hye is the face of democracy in Korea right now. Currently peoples faith in democracy is a bit shaken. All she has to say is, “I am sorry for the election manipulation that happen before I came into office, without my knowledge. Under my leadership this will not happen. An inquiry will be launched and those caught in wrong doing will be punished.” Something to this effect would silence all the critics. By saying nothing and not pushing for an inquiry she causing people to question how much she knew about the situation. That is what it has to do with Park Geun Hye.

      • Daniel Russell

        Exactly!

  • bumfromkorea

    I’d rather have President Park not act like her father. But given the way NIS and the Saenuri have been acting during her presidency, I’d say that ship has long sailed. All hail the Yushin Queen! May the Glorious and Ever-Benevolent Leader’s Rule Last a Hundred Years!

  • Bintaokwa

    She’s considerably more like Abe for an even dirtier reason than the monk highlighted. She reprimanded a South Korean politician politician for apologizing to the people and government Vietnam over massacres committed by South Korean troops in which more than 5,000 innocent Vietnamese civilians were slaughtered. Her reason? She claimed it ‘dishonoured’ South Korean soldiers who had served there. The sooner these two kindred sit down and share experience, the better.

  • KCdude

    President Park GH is bringing down the whole economy down. I can no longer support this president. I seriously hate North Korea and why are her presidential policies transforming South Korea into North Korea? She is the enemy of Conservatism by promoting some sensational nationalism. Be careful. She is dangerous because she doesn’t serve the Conservative cause.

  • TheCorean

    The monk needs to look at himself in the mirror and see Abe looking back at him, they both suffer from uncontrollable shitting.

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