In fact, Dongguk University has a large Buddhist infrastructure. There are Korean Buddhist Research Institute, Buddhism Museum, Chongakwon (the Hall of Right Awakening) and Yokkyungwon (Translation Center for Buddhism Scripture). Also, if you are a DU student, Buddhist liberal arts courses, "Buddhism and Human" and "Self and Meditation" are compulsory. Because DU was founded according to the principles of Buddhist teachings.
But many DU students don't believe in Buddhism. A lot of students are Christians or atheists. Although they are DU students, it is not easy for them to study the compulsory Buddhist courses. Thus we met with "Bup san" priest (director of the Chongakwon) to ask him about this. "You can study the relationship between Buddhism and humans precisely. Also, through meditation you can clean your mind and find your real ego."
"We teach about Buddhism but we never force students to believe in Buddha. Assume that you visit your friend's house. Although you don't like the custom of your friend's house, you will try to enjoy it. You might become estranged from your friend if you didn't try. Your school life is similar to this. As you know, Dongguk University was founded according to the principles of Buddhism. You must try to accommodate yourself to this Buddhism environment. When I lectured on "Self and Meditation" last spring semester, twenty percent of my students were Buddhist, another twenty percent were Christian, fifteen percent were Roman Catholic and the rest of them didn't have any religion. I talked to my students about Buddhism and explained why you have to bow one hundred and eight times to an image of Buddha. Then, all of my students bowed to Buddha with a comfortable mind. I think the most important thing is mutual understanding."
If you don't believe Buddha, have an open mind. If you don't have an open mind and dislike Buddhism, your campus life will be difficult. It's up to you. Just try to enjoy learning about Buddha.
Park Min-hee firstname.lastname@example.org
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