02/17/2020, 13.13
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The winner of the 37th Niwano Peace Prize is a Korean Zen master

The Venerable Pomnyun has worked for peace both on the Korean peninsula and abroad. He has tried to alleviate the suffering caused by famine and natural disasters in North Korea. He has brought humanitarian aid and sustainable development initiatives to India, the Philippines, Indonesia as well as to Rohingya Muslim refugees who fled Myanmar.

Tokyo (AsiaNews) – Venerable Pomnyun, the winner of the 37th Niwano Peace Prize, is a Zen master.

The prize is awarded, reads in the motivation, “in recognition of his extraordinary humanitarian work, environmental and social activism, and his inspiring effort to build relationships of trust and good will between those of different faiths and cultures as a central component of his work for peace.”

The award ceremony will take place in Tokyo, Japan, on Wednesday, 3 June at 10:30 am. In addition to the certificate of recognition, the Venerable Pomnyun will receive a medal and 20 million yen (around US0,000).

Venerable Pomnyun was born in 1953 into a farming family in rural South Korea and became a Buddhist monk at the age of 16.

At 35 he founded the Jungto Society, a community based on the teachings and principles of Buddhism, dedicated to addressing modern problems that cause suffering, including environmental degradation, poverty and conflicts.

Jungto Society members of te are taught to appreciate the interconnectedness of all living things and to contribute to the well-being of the world community through the development of inner peace and compassionate action towards others.

Venerable Pomnyun worked for peace both on the Korean peninsula and abroad. His organisation Good Friends has tried to alleviate suffering caused by famine and natural disasters in North Korea through humanitarian aid, whilst the research institute he founded, the Peace Foundation, generates insights aimed at encouraging Korean unification.

His international aid organisation, the Join Together Society, has sought to eradicate poverty and hunger through humanitarian aid and sustainable development initiatives in India, the Philippines, Indonesia and further afield.

In 2019, Venerable Pomnyun travelled to Bangladesh to deliver 100,000 stoves to Rohingya Muslim refugees who fled Myanmar.

The Niwano Peace Prize was established by the Niwano Peace Foundation to honour and encourage people and organisations who contribute significantly to interfaith cooperation, thus promoting the cause of world peace.

The Foundation hopes that its work will both improve understanding and interfaith cooperation and encourage even more people to commit to working for peace in the world.

The award is named after Nikkyo Niwano, the founder and first president of the lay Buddhist organisation Rissho Kosei-kai.

For Niwano, peace was not simply the absence of conflict between nations, but a dynamic form of harmony in people's inner lives, as well as in our communities, nations and in the world.

Considering peace the goal of Buddhism, Niwano devoted much of the last half of his life to promoting peace in the world, particularly through interfaith exchange and cooperation.

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