Christian vandalism and violence against the Buddhist religion in South Korea




Translation: May veneration be presented to the exalted one who is a Buddha and who has achieved enlightenment by himself righteously. x3




Recently I had a conversation with a Christian man at the Khmer language school that I attend, and he seemed to feel that because I presumed than there is a connection between the Christian influence in South Korea and Vandalism against the Buddhist community as something factual, that this was an “inflammatory” statement. He questioned me as to where the empirical evidence was.

I on the contrary, believe that a presumption is not necessarily just simply one’s opinion and nothing more than that nor an illogical thing, and if one should wish to consider such a presumption “inflammatory” then they should be welcome to do so. If after reviewing the evidence below, if any of you still believe that such a presumption is not supported well enough, I will simply ask that you go back to your cartoon styled candy land of self delusional self denial, and kindly stop masquerading as an intelligent human being.
If you find the above statement “inflammatory”, I’m sure that when (to name here  just but two brief examples) you find that your house of religious observance has been vandalized with red crosses and Christian slogans painted with red spray paint, or that a Christian Priest has urinated on your religious shrine and vandalized it with permanent marker,  you might very well feel this to be “inflammatory” in a way that is substantially more meaningful than as a way of saying that you’ve gotten your feelings hurt because you don’t like what someone has said.
Can any Christian reading this inform me of any similar act of disrespect committed by a professed Buddhist or Buddhist monk? You will be a long time looking for that. Go ahead and research to your heart’s content….I’ll be waiting.
Another example? How about an entire stadium of South Korean Christians praying that their Christian God destroy all Buddhist temples in Korea? Find me a Buddhist prayer service where we pray that all the Christian churches or the houses of worship of any faith are demolished … look as hard as you may…you won’t.
Why do Christians do such things? It’s the same reason that a Muslim man can walk into a restaurant, scream that his God is great, and start murdering people.
Wait a minute you say! “Not all Christian or Muslim are like that! True. I have known many peace loving Christian and Muslim. The point is, when you worship a God that you believe can murder and torture people for whatever self-righteous reason, and that’s o.k. because he’s your God, and that is your epitome of all that is pure and good, that’s an invitation for bad things to happen ala Jewish or Christian or Muslim style.
But can’t Buddhists go astray and do wrong also? Yes, of course. But when your murdering God displays it as a virtue of his righteousness and certainly not a moral slip up, that can but only make it all so much easier.
Does the language sound strong? “Inflammatory” perhaps? Deal with the truth. As an example to be found in the New Testament, Acts Ch.5, a husband and wife are both murdered by the Christian “holy”spirit for selling some land and then lying about how much they sold it for, instead of coughing it all up for the apostle Peter.
The Apostle Peter in this section, even gloats about the fact that one was taken out feet first and that the other was soon to follow! This is an example of why the Abramic lineage of religion has a God that is worshiped out of fear while they pay lip service to love. The very little that we may know about the life of Jesus from the New Testament, if to be believed can in no way invalidate this. After all, if you believe in the Trinity, then Jesus is in the same car as his father and holy spirit, both of whom are known in the Christian Bible as guilty of murder, only well um… you know… they would rather not you know….call it murder. Perhaps they would rather use the wholesale discounter term and call it “liquidation”, or perhaps the C.I.A. type of reference to those who have been “neutralized” would be better for them to help sterilize the concept well enough.

When they speak of Jesus however, all of a sudden he should be seen as more separate than the same! Do they believe in their “Trinity” or not?

The reason why I discuss this is because comparatively, urinating on a religious shrine or decapitating a Buddha statue or vandalizing a Buddhist temple with some red spray paint is small potatoes! I’m sure that Christians who behave this way are well aware of that fact as it may even give some encouragement. After all, if your God can righteously murder (oops! I mean “neutralize”) untold masses of humanity throughout the course of history whether it’s by flood or raining fire or whatever the method for the perceived crime of disobedience or immortality, or if it should simply choose to kill a husband and wife for telling a lie, what’s some mere Buddhist temple burning or vandalizing?

Here’s a short list of some of the more recent examples with the sources given in the notes and reference section.(1) After this we will have a video presentation for your viewing pleasure. Watch as a stadium of Christians in South Korea pray to their Christian God that the Buddhist temples are all collapsed (destroyed).

1982 May.A man by the name of Myông Chinhong organizes religious gatherings in Seoul to publicly denounce Buddhism.  He erects a banner “Jesus Heaven, Buddhism Hell!” He claims to have once been a Buddhist monk who has “repented,” though no records can be found to support the claim of his ordination.  Using this claim, he puts up posters claiming: “A Dharma Hall is a hall of demons.”

1983 March 1. During a Christian revival meeting held on the occasion of Korean Independence Day observations, a woman falsely claims to have been the daughter of a famous Zen master and revered national independence hero, Paek Yongsông.  She makes statements denouncing Buddhism.

1984 February. Red crucifixes are painted on priceless temple wall paintings at Muryangsa Temple and Ilsônsa on Samgaksan Mountain outside Seoul. Dirt is smeared on the paintings and on a statue of the Buddha located outside one of the temples.  A large ancient carving of the Buddha chiselled into stone is damaged with axe-like instruments.

May. Ignoring the pleas of Buddhist leaders, the Roman Catholic Church invites Pope John Paul II to visit South Korea to celebrate the bicentennial of the church in Korea. This event happens to fall during the annual national Buddha’s Birthday holiday celebrations.  Because it is the first ever visit of a Roman pontiff to South Korea, and because the Vatican announces that 93 Koreans and 10 French missionary martyrs will be beatified as saints during the visit, the visit becomes a major national event. It is the first time that a canonization ceremony is held outside of Rome and the largest number ever canonized at one time. This ceremony gives Korea the fourth largest number of Catholic saints in the world.  When the Pope tours the country, in the days immediately preceding and during Buddha’s Birthday, there are immense traffic jams which diminish attendance at Buddhist events in several key cities. Buddhist leaders protest the timing of the event as “disrespectful” and “in bad taste” because the Korean and Roman Catholic Churches schedule the mass beatification ceremonies to take place during Buddha’s Birthday celebrations, a day sacred to Buddhists and a national holiday.

November. In an official Korean textbook, Buddhism is called ” a fading religion.”

1985 April. Four major daily newspapers accept and publish advertisements which assert that the content of the Buddhist scriptures are “selfish” in intent.

May. A Protestant minister named Kim Jingyu publicly claims to have once been an ordained monk in the Chogye Order. Though there is no record of his ever having been a Buddhist monk, he hangs up banners which read “Why I Became a Protestant Minister,” and organizes meetings to denounce the Buddhist faith.

September. An individual by the name of Kim Sônghwa organizes a series of mass gatherings to denounce Buddhism in the cities of Pusan, Taegu, Kwangju, and Taejon. (This individual and his wife Kim Mija  regularly advertise their mission to convert the “25 million Buddhists of Korea” in the Christian Newspaper Kitokkyo Shinmun, July 1996).

October. An unidentified man disrupts a Dharma talk at the Nûngin Zen Center by driving nails into the tires of believers’ automobiles parked outside. The perpetrator also pours corrosive chemicals into various car engines. An accomplice meanwhile uses portable amplification equipment to sing Gospel songs up at the Buddhist gathering, located on the third and fourth floors.

1986 December 6. Several days before the annual Buddha’s Enlightenment celebrations, the Taejôkkwangjôn, the main Dharma Hall, a large building of ancient  origin at Kûmsansa Temple is completely burned to the ground in an event which makes top news throughout the nation.  The Hall is listed as National Treasure Number 476, and is the central hall in a temple which is a regional headquarters and major monastic training center for the Chogye Order.  A man active in a local church is apprehended at the scene, but is released because the police claim that, since the fire consumed everything, there is “no evidence.” Although he admitted to the crime, he is released without being charged.  Discounting widespread opinion and belief, local police claim that “religious heretics” are not suspected.  However, in an unprecedented move, the Korean government pays to have the building quickly rebuilt. It is widely believed that this unusual action was undertaken to preempt the possibility of interreligious strife.

(1 building)

1987 December. A fundamentalist Christian by the name of Yang Shinha from the Tamna Church on Chejudo Island is apprehended after setting fire to two temples – Kwanûmjôngsa and Taegaksa – completely burning them to the ground.
(2 buildings)

1988 September 25. In the early morning hours, a fire is set at Pômôsa Temple in Pusan, a major monastic training center of the Chogye Order and regional headquarters. The fire completely destroys the Myôngbujôn (Chijang Bodhisattva Hall- a funeral hall), taking with it 16 priceless altar paintings of the Buddha.  The paintings were considered treasures and the hall a registered Cultural Asset. The cause of the fire is unknown but deemed “highly suspicious” by Pusan city authorities.
(1 building)

December 8. Several days before the annual Buddha’s Enlightenment celebrations, the Chônggagwôn, the main Dharma Hall on the Kyôngju campus of Dongguk University is completely burned to the ground. Arson is suspected but no one is apprehended.
(1 building)

1989 January. A stone lantern and pagoda is destroyed and statements attacking Buddhism are painted on the temple’s gates Okch’ôn Am Hermitage located in the Sôdaemun (Hongûndong), Seoul.

March. Several individuals enter Kupok Am Hermitageon Samgaksan Mountain on the outskirts of Seoul and destroy a stone lantern and stone pagoda, seriously damage a Ch’ilsônggak (Big Dipper Hall), and paint red crucifixes on a large gilded Buddha statue.

April. Five to six individuals destroy a Buddha statue and paint red crucifixes on a large outdoor Ma-ae Buddha figure carved into the rock on Samgaksan Mountain on the outskirts of Seoul.  In all, some 10 temples are severely damaged or desecrated in the days immediately before and after the national Buddha’s Birthday holidays.April. The Hyangmok Committee of the Seoul City Government gathers military reserve forces under its control for a (taesônghoe) church service. Some of the members are compelled to attend even though they are not Christian.

July 29. The huge main Dharma Hall and a temple dormitory at Potasa Temple, Oksudong, Sôngdonggu, Seoul are completely burned to the ground. A 23-year old follower of the Taesônjillihoe (Great Conversion Truth Church) is arrested at the scene.  Damage is estimated at $1.1 million according to the Chogye Order report.
(2 buildings)

October 27. The huge Taeunjôn, the main Dharma Hall, and a temple dormitory at Pohyônsa Temple in Taegu are completely burned to the ground. Though the modern buildings were erected in 1985, the police determine that each building must have suffered an “electrical short circuit,” and no further investigations are conducted.
(2 buildings)

1990 May 2. Two men break into the Buddhist Broadcasting System (BBS, the first Buddhist radio station in Korea) in Seoul, two days before it is due to begin broadcasting a combination of popular music and Buddhist teaching and cultural programs. They tie up two guards, and proceed to destroy all of the radio station’s recording and transmission equipment. They smash expensive electronic gear and tear up several state-of-the-art recording booths. At one point, they use a statue of the Buddha as a battering ram to break through several plate-glass recording booth windows and use the Buddha’s head to damage computer equipment, sound boards, reel-to-reel decks, and screens. Damage is estimated in the millions of dollars, and delays the opening of the station by several months. No arrests are ever made.

November. A man by the name of Myông Chinhong falsely claims to have been a Buddhist monk some 20 years before, and organizes mass spiritual revivals under the heading, “Why I Became a Minister.”  In the course of his “revivals,” this purported “ex-monk-turned minister” makes inflammatory and abusive statements about the Buddhist religion.  There is no record of his ever having been ordained a monk, or living in any temple. (See May 1982)

Students and parishioners at a Christian theological school in Pusan misinterpret an ancient, traditional Buddhist death ceremony as being “slanderous” of Jesus Christ.  The name of the ceremony, for many centuries called “Yesu-jae,” sounds similar to the Korean pronunciation and Korean spelling of “Jesus” (Yesu), though the Chinese characters are unrelated to Christian vocabulary or sacraments. (It is a traditional merit-making ceremony in anticipation of death).  The students and parishioners mail a letter of “warning” to Buddhist leaders at several area temples, schools, and organizations.  The letters slander Buddhist teachings, and are plastered on the walls of Buddhist temples and organizations throughout the city of Pusan.

1991 April. Yun Ch’anggyu and Shim Yôngch’o, teachers at the Taesông High School in Kôch’ang, direct their students (many of them Buddhist) to recite Biblical passages and sing Christian hymns in class.  In the same month, the Buddha statue of the Buddhist student club at Ch’ôngju University is vandalized.

Sept. 23. Pudo Am Hermitage at Tonghwasa Temple is destroyed by fire.
(1 building)

Oct. 15. Haeundae Buddhist Mission Bldg in Pusan is destroyed by fire.
(1 building)

October. The huge main Dharma Hall (Taeunjôn) at Pongwônsa Temple in the Shinch’on district of Seoul is totally destroyed by fire.  The hall was registered as Seoul city Cultural Asset Number 68. This temple was the headquarters of the T’aego Order, the second-largest Buddhist sect in Korea at the time of the incident. A guard at the temple testified to seeing two men flee into the mountains behind the temple as the building burst into flames.  Local police conclude that there is no evidence, that there was probably an “electrical short circuit,” and the fire was quickly declared “an accident.” Three large Buddha statues and altar portraits considered treasures are destroyed.
(1 building)

November. Military reserves stationed in Kyôngnam Province (many of them Buddhist) are forced to attend a Protestant revival meeting, presumably by a superior officer.The Kwanûmjôn, the Kwanûm Bodhisattva Hall and a large Dharma Teaching Hall (Sôlpôpchôn) at Sôngjusa in Changwôn city are completely burned to the ground.
(2 buildings)

P’yo Ch’ajong, a member of the Pedel Church in Pusan, publicly declares that the world-famous Sôkkuram Buddha statue is a subject of “idol-worship” and the product of “a heretical religion”. He attempts to damage the priceless statue, but is stopped.  The Sokkuram Buddha was declared a “World Cultural Treasure” by Unesco in 1995, and has twice been renovated and preserved with Unesco financial and technical involvement.

1992 April. The Main Dharma Hall on the Kyôngju campus of Dongguk University is completely burned to the ground a second time.  The event makes national news. No arrests are made.
(1 building)

December. An unknown assailant cuts the two arms off a statue of Maitreya Buddha at Puljosa Temple in Wonju. Various temple artifacts are burned and over 100 threatening phone calls are made to the temple office.1993 February. Colonel (battalion commander) Cho Pyôngshik of the 17th Tank Battalion, claiming a lack of warehouse space, has the Dharma Hall on his base dismantled. The gilded statue of the Buddha is taken from the Hall, burned, and openly discarded behind the mountain.  Taejon. The event makes national news.
(1 building)

April. Within two months of  Cho’s actions, the Dharma Hall and stone lantern are damaged at Kimhae Air Base.

The Yôngdo Church in Pusan organizes to prevent a temple from being built beside them, claiming that they “cannot accept the construction of a place of idol worship” near them.

May. At Hyundai High School, all students are required to attend church services, and their attendance at these services is reflected in their school records.

Lee Yun-sun, a teacher at the Paegun Primary School in Uidong, Seoul, teaches the Christian Bible in his class and declares that any Buddhist children in the class are “followers of the Satan,” and excludes them from certain class activities.Professor Im In-hûi rejects the admission application of a Buddhist student. He claims he was only following the orders of the board chairman of Taejôn Junior College Lee Pyông-ik.Lotus lanterns prepared for Buddha’s Birthday celebrations are destroyed at Pongguksa Temple and Chonjôngsa Temple in the Chôngnûng district of Seoul.

July. An assailant severely damages the Buddha statue and other Buddhist artifacts in a Buddhist meeting room at Sônggyungwan University in Seoul. Valuable religious objects are not stolen but thrown into a garbage basket.

1994 May. Before and after Buddha’s Birthday, various acts of vandalism and desecration are inflicted upon the properties (especially the richly painted gates) of Daesôngsa Temple and Kwanûmsa Temple in the Saegômjông and Shinch’on districts of Seoul. Approximately 30 acts of vandalism against Buddhist temples in Seoul are recorded during this period.The Rev. Yu Sûng-hwan of Yuchongni Church declares that Buddhism is “idol worship.”  He forcibly attempts to “convert” the abbot of Sudosa Temple to Christianity, even mentioning Korean President Kim Young-sam, a Presbyterian.
According to Dr. Pyôn Sôn-hwan, “the thoughtless speech and behavior of this minister who understood that the government was protecting Christianity simply because Kim Young-sam is an elder and the alleged remark by the President that he would make ‘hymn songs reverberate throughout the Blue House’ at the time of the presidential election damaged confidence in the government that was supposedly based on the principle of religion and state (politics).

June.  A fundamentalist Christian enters Mirûk Chôngsa Temple in Kwangju and damages the Buddha statue and Dharma Hall.

1995 September.  A fundamentalist Christian by the name of Pak Oh-Sun is apprehended after entering and causing serious damage to five temples on Chejudo. He burns Buddha statues at the temples, in addition to other damage.A Protestant minister is apprehended after painting a large red cross onto the altar painting behind the Buddha at Mu-ûi sa Temple in Kangjin, Chollanamdo. He is released without charges. Later an unknown person carves a crucifix below the same Buddha image.

1995-96. Students belonging to a fundamentalist Christian group begin an aggressive campaign of proselytizing on the campus of Dongguk University (Seoul), Korea’s main Buddhist university. The students proselytize directly in front of a large statue of the Buddha – the campus symbol and central meeting-point – making anti-Buddhist statements and handing out Christian literature to ordained sangha members.

  1. President Kim Young Sam attends services at a Protestant church located on the nation’s central military base at Kyeryôngsan Mountain. In an event which sends shock waves throughout Buddhist and Catholic circles in Korea, many troops based there are compelled to attend the service in order to create the appearance of a larger number of Protestant troops.  (Many of the troops are not Protestant Christians, and many are not even Christian.) Moreover, people attending services at a nearby temple and Catholic church are placed under virtual “house arrest,” their religious sanctuaries being encircled with troops while the President makes what is deemed a “preferential” visit to the Protestant chapel. Those inside the Buddhist temple and Catholic church were made to remain inside for several hours while President Kim completed his visit.  Buddhist and Catholic leaders lodge strong protests. Some Buddhist leaders perceive  the President’s actions as a license, a virtual “green light” for abusive actions to be taken against them, citing the centuries-old tradition in Korea of leaders signalling, through thinly-veiled actions, the unstated “allowances” that the government will make for actions which coincide with “non-legislateable” policies.
  2. The long-awaited tentative plans related to the new Education Law are announced by the government’s Education Reform Committee. The plans are based on the educational system of the Renewal Church of Christ, and include plans to establish (with government money) a special graduate school for the education and training of Christian ministers. Buddhists lodge strong protests, which are initially ignored. Eventually the Committee agrees to restate their objectives at a later date.The Wônmi ward office of Puch’on city near Seoul sends official letters to several Buddhist kindergartens, primary schools, and other Buddhist organizations and temples. Language in the letters beseeches them to find “the peace of God and the comfort of Jesus Christ.The swastika – for centuries a symbol of good fortune throughout Asia, and also a Buddhist symbol of the same – is replaced on many flagpoles in Seoul with crucifixes. A large red crucifix is painted in a concrete shelter used by Buddhist monks for meditation, located one hundred meters above Hwagyesa Temple on Samgaksan Mountain on the outskirts of Seoul.A school teacher by the name of “Lee” at Songwu Primary School in P’och’ôn, Kyônggi Province, urges students to attend church services as part of their lessons. She forces them to sing certain Christian hymns in class to confirm their attendance, and does other “missionary work” in her capacity as schoolteacher.

April 6. Fires are set to the Abbot’s quarters, the lawn  (dried from the recent spell) and nine other places (out-buildings) at Pulguksa Temple in Kyôngju, the most famous Buddhist temple in Korea, seen on travel posters everywhere.According to the report filed with the headquarters of the Chogye Order, a Mr. Kim Yông-shik was caught on the spot and reported to the police. The police transferred him to a Taegu city mental hospital. Although he admitted to the crime as “a follower of another religion,” he was released without being charged because there was no material evidence.
(1 building)

April 19. Two temples on Samgaksan Mountain on the outskirts of Seoul are severely damaged by fires which are set within an hour of each other. The two-year-old large bell platform at Samsông Am Hermitage is burned to its foundation. The assailant(s) also cause damage to the Main Dharma Hall, burning holes in the locked doors while trying to gain access to the sanctuary containing the temple’s main Buddha statue. Damage to the ruined bell platform is estimated at $250,000 according to police.
(1 building)

April 20. Two recently-constructed Dharma Halls at Pônwôn Chôngsa Temple are burnt to the ground, and another is severely damaged by flames, just after midnight. The Nahanjôn enshrined 519 wood statues of arhats and bodhisattvas, each of which was painstakingly hand-carved and hand-painted over a period of seven years. Damage at Pônwôn Chôngsa Temple is estimated at $5.6 million according to the local police. The unfinished buildings were not insured.
(3 buildings)

April 21. The next day, fire is set to the Taejôkkwangjôn, the main Dharma Hall at Hwagyesa Temple, also located on Samgaksan Mountain, within a short walk of Samsông Am Hermitage and Pônwôn Chôngsa Temple.  Damage is minimal. Two police guarding the temple fail to catch the assailant, who is interrupted in his task when a monk spots him while walking to the outhouse. (1st attack on Hwagyesa, home of the Seoul International Zen Center and living quarters of more than twenty North American and European monks and disciples of most successful Korean Buddhist international teacher, Master Seung Sahn (Haengwôn Sûngsan sônsa).

May 12. Arsonists attack the main Buddha statue in the Taejôkkwangjôn at Hwagyesa Temple in Seoul for the second time.  A lit candle is placed in a box of papers and wisk brooms under the main altar. The fire is quickly extinguished by a passing monk.  At the time, more than 30 police and army are patrolling the temple in plainclothes in broad daylight, but fail to apprehend the assailant. (2rd attack on Hwagyesa)

May 14. Two days later, again with over 30 police and military patrolling the temple, a massive fire is set beneath the main Buddha statue in the Taejôkkwangjôn at Hwagyesa Temple in Seoul for the third time.  Superb altar paintings, ornate woodcarvings and traditional wall paintings are lost.  Damage estimated at about $775,000 according to the police.
(3rd attack, 1 building seriously damaged).

May.  Rev. Pae Sông-ho, a Protestant minister, enters the main Buddha Hall at Ch’ôngryongsa Temple in Chinhae on the southern coast of the peninsula. He swings a microphone over his head like a bolo, smashing the main Buddha statue and damaging beyond repair the altar paintings hanging behind the main altar. Witnesses who apprehend him hear him shouting abusive statements about “idol worship” and that “now [he] will go to heaven for destroying these craven images.” Though taken into custody by police, the minister is released within hours with no charges filed by the local authorities.  Damage to the Dharma Hall is extensive.

May 22. Two days before Buddha’s Birthday, the main Dharma Hall at Mangyông Am Hermitage in Sôngnam, a city bordering Seoul, is burned to the ground. Christian fundamentalists active in the area are suspected but not investigated.

In August 2008 an estimated 60,000 people, including about 7000 monks, rallied in front of the Seoul city hall to protest religious discrimination.(2)

Whenever I speak with my Christian friends about these activities they seem to have been living in a bubble of a secluded mind world, however, if you were to ask some of these same people about the Christian churches burned to the ground in the middle east, they of course will know exactly what you are talking about!

2010 In October 2010, students from Church Equipping Worship School posted a clip on YouTube professing a hope that God would destroy a Buddhist temple in Seoul. Later they claimed being taught such by God.”This place (Bongeunsa Temple) will be demolished and God will win it back….Useless idols (Buddha’s statue) here made me really sad,” the student said in the clip.(3)

Following public outrages sparked by the video, Reverend Choi Ji-ho and students from the school went to Bongeunsa Temple to apologize for the comments made by the student.
That was a nice gesture, but one must ask themselves just what would influence this sort of thing?

Try the fact that Christianity teaches that the Christian is the only one truly favored by their God deity and that the rest will be deserving of anilation or an eternity of being horrifically tortured.
This very well highlights the fact that by the sole virtue of pledging allegiance to their religious belief, they are taught a morally depraved form of moral superiority. While they may wish to deny this, ask them then just how is it that they believe that they will go to “heaven” and the unbeliever to “hell” if they as Christian’s are not morally superior? 

November 2011, near the Haewundae in Busan, Korea. Four Buddhist temples reported vandalism and invasion by the Korean Christian community, as they spray painted red lacquer on the hands and faces of the Buddha statues.(4)November 2011, the stele that accompanied the stupa of National Preceptor Jigwangguksa of Beopcheonsa temple, Korean National Treasure No. 59 was vandalized. A giant cross was drawn across the five meter stone statue and was opened to public on a christian man’s Facebook and twitter page.(5)October 4th, 2012, an arson tried to burn down the Gakhwangjeon Hall of Hwaomsa Temple in Gurye County, Korea. Fortunately, the fire only made a small damage to the gate of the hall due to quick actions of the monks and the fire prevention restoration made in 2008.(6)


August 20th, 2012 a Protestant pastor, Seong, vandalized the dharma hall of Donghwasa Temple. This pastor self-proclaimed that he was from the Soon Bok Eum Church, was caught urinating in the dharma hall on a Buddhist shrine and vandalizing the Buddhist portraits with a permanent marker. His poor actions were captured on the CCTV of the dharma hall.(7)

Here now is the video of a stadium full of Christians praying that the Buddhist temples in Korea should be destroyed….

What will be the response from some so well steeped in self denial? I’m waiting for someone to tell me next that because they weren’t acting like real Christians, they were in fact not Christian at all, and  therefore can’t really say that any Christians were actually involved in any of this! Remember that the next time a fundamentalist Muslim goes on a killing spree and others try to convince you that such actions aren’t really you know, the real Islam and somehow have nothing to do with Islam, and so you shouldn’t call them Islamic terrorists!

 The new administration of the first woman ever elected to the Presidency of South Korea, Park Geun-hye, has aimed to help contribute to the suppression of Protestant attacks against Buddhists in South Korea, with increasing calls for religious cooperation in the country under her administration. This is a certainly a good thing. Park Heun-hye is an atheist, and it is very telling that it has taken the presidency of an atheist (8) not that of a Jesus loving Protestant Christian like  Lee Myung-bak (who is seen giving the opening message in the above video where they all prayed for the destruction of the Buddhist temples in South Korea) to help calm things down a bit. A few years back the atheist President Park Heun-hye was the first South Korean President that I am aware of to give a message on the day observed by Buddhists as the Buddha’s birthday. I’m sure that her efforts have been well appreciated by all peace loving people regardless of their religious affiliation. Something that I’m sure has helped is the understanding that if any of these fools should go and vandalise or burn down a Buddhist temple or shrine, they might have very well actually been prosecuted.

I do hope that now that she is no longer in office as President, that it all now will not return to business as usual.

It is my belief that because of their scripture and history it doesn’t take a lot of encouragement for either Christians or Muslim in particular to become violent, because as previously mentioned, the Abrahamic God that is worshipped by them has a long history of “righteous” violence that the Christian is taught never to question. As a last thought on this, I will say that if America were to elect someone like Pat Robertson, (the Christian evangelical preacher who ran for the Republican nomination a few years back) as President then there is no good reason why America would not experience the same unfortunate circumstance. As they would not of course be legal in South Korea the Buddhist temple burnings and vandalism would not be legal in America either.

We need to watch and be mindful of these Christians, and in case anyone should suggest otherwise, the fact that Buddhists or anyone for that matter can perhaps fall prey to the temptation of such unwarranted violence does not alleviate the matter.

I sincerely wish everyone reading this, a blessed and prosperous spiritual life.

Bhikkhu Aggacitto  a.k.a. Brother Mark:)


Notes and references:

1.   OR

The following is an incomplete listing of defamation’s, acts of vandalism and arson attacks against Buddhist temples and facilities in South Korea which have occurred since 1982 and which have earned the attention of the news media and the dismay of the Buddhist population in the country.

Buddhism under Siege 1982-1996 : Fifteen Years of Incidents Against Buddhism in South Korea including at least twenty temples or Buddhist shrines seriously damaged or totally destroyed by arson since 1986.

Sources :
Newspapers :
Dong A Ilbo daily newspaper (Seoul), May 2, 1990, p. 1
Pulgyo Shinmun weekly newspaper (Seoul), May 28, 1996, p. 4
Pôp Po Shinmun weekly newspaper (Seoul), May 15, 1996
Hyôndae Pulgyo weekly newspaper (Seoul), May 22, 1996
Kitokkyo Shinmun weekly newspaper (Seoul), July, 1996  advertisement
(Other major dailies and such weeklies as the Haedong Pulgyo and regional papers have not been consulted at this time.)

Reports :
We have also corroborated and compared reports of incidents with records maintained in the headquarters of the Chogye Order in Seoul and the official written police report on the incidents at Hwagyesa, Pônwôn Chôngsa and Samsông Am (Hermitage).

TV :
A cable TV report (BTN) of the Pônwôn Chôngsa and Samsông Am incidents was also consulted.

(The modified McCune-Reischauer system of transliteration as appears in the Korea Journal of the Korean National Commission for Unesco is utilized for Korean names)

2. OR

3.”Pastor apologizes for anti-Buddhist slur”. 2010-10-27. Archived from the original on December 7, 2011. Retrieved2012-03-06. OR

4.,11172,0,0,1,05. OR,11172,0,0,1,0 OR

6.,11172,0,0,1,0 OR

7. OR

8.  OR

5 thoughts on “Christian vandalism and violence against the Buddhist religion in South Korea”

  1. I can imagine a better world in next 3 generations if we introduce fact based curriculums “History and Evolution of Gods and Religions” and “Basic Psychology of Human Religious Emotions” throughout our schooling system. This will be particularly true in the middle-east.

  2. I met you some years ago at a fitness center in Phnom Penh. Sometimes i wonder what you are doing nowadays. Your belief in reincarnation is probably still the same. Mine too, even if i consider it more like knowledge and a fact. Watch the documentary below. Like an awful and eternal rape on all living things…

    I hope but i’m not sure if hinduism or buddhism is the answer. I think mankind somehow needs to blow up the entire universe or even more to get rest or maybe there’s no escape from Saṃsāra, just acceptance // Regards Nouel, Kerala

  3. I disagree with those things. But, It is strange, how Christians says, that tolerate every religion and are same, like islamic fundamentalists or radicals, sorry for that. In Sri-lanka too, same in South Korea. I don’t heard about Budhistic vandalism or attacking on Christians, because of religion.

    1. This is the best translation of Slovak that I could get from Google Translate:

      […] evil things in Buddhist centers and temples. My question got drunk, why? I think about this article in English. I already know from personal experience that thanks to how Christianity now differs […]

      I know this may be difficult for you to understand, but when you burn down someone’s house of worship because they are of a different faith than yours, then that would make YOU the one doing something evil.
      I know that for the reasons discussed in this article, many of the Abramic religious lineage seem to have trouble coping with this reality.

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