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Pomnyun in seoul in 2014.jpg
Pomnyun in seoul in 2014
Hangul 법륜
Hanja 法輪
Revised Romanization Beomnyun
McCune–Reischauer Pŏmnyun
Birth name
Hangul 최석호
Revised Romanization Choe Seokho
McCune–Reischauer Ch'oe Sŏkho

Venerable Pomnyun Sunim (Korean: 법륜, Hanja: 法輪; born 11 April 1953) is a Korean Buddhist monk and a Zen master renowned for the humanitarian efforts.[1] He is also a social activist who leads various movements such as ecological awareness campaign; promotion of human rights and world peace; and eradication of famine, disease, and illiteracy.[2] In recognition of his efforts, Pomnyun Sunim won the Ramon Magsaysay Award for Peace and International Understanding in September 2002.[3]

Venerable Pomnyun Sunim is the head master of Jungto Society Korea, an organization dedicated to a life of sharing, educated by Buddhist teachings, environmental outreach, and supporting peace in Korea and around the world.[3] He addressed the role Buddhism has played in defining modern Asia’s religious, cultural, social, political, and economic dynamics. His dedication to Buddhist ideals has not only brought accolades to his work, but has shaped his outlook on the prospects for peace and reconciliation between North and South Korea.[3] Rather than leading a secluded life of quiet contemplation, Pomnyun took on an unlikely role for a Buddhist monk, focusing on bringing peace, accord, and eventually unity between the two Koreas. Pomnyun Sunim established the Peace Foundation to engage experts in analyzing how best to bring about peace between the two Koreas and between North Korea and the United States, as well as to bring together Buddhists and Christians in a dialogue about peace.[3][4] He also established Good Friends for Peace, Human Rights, and Refugee Issues, an organization which has been instrumental in his quest for peace in North Korea.[5]

When the tragic flood of 1995 occurred in North Korea, Pomnyun was quick in extending a helping hand to those across the border. Since then, he has constantly and consistently campaigned for the rights and struggles of the North Korean people.[5] Through his work, thousands of people in North Korea have received aid during times of famine.[1][3] When Good Friends began publishing its newsletter in 2004, it became an important source of information smuggled out of the isolated country and quickly became a must-read among South Korean policy makers and journalists.[4] He has worked extensively to supply humanitarian aid to famine victims in North Korea and defend the human rights of North Korean refugees in China.[3] He appealed to the world and South Korean government to put politics aside and help North Korea, and encouraged South Koreans to give liberally to their starving neighbors.[2]


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  1. ^ a b Kim, Kristie (September 19, 2013). "Buddhist monk and activist Pomnyun shares advice, opinions on North Korea". The chronicle. Retrieved August 5, 2015. 
  2. ^ a b "PAP PROJECTS". www.rmaf.org.ph. 2006. Retrieved August 5, 2015. 
  3. ^ a b c d e f "Buddhism in Asia: Peace and Reconciliation on the Korean Peninsula". The U.S.-Korea Institute at SAIS. September 16, 2009. Retrieved August 5, 2015. 
  4. ^ a b Cho, Woohae (April 27, 2012). "A Monk's Earthly Mission: Easing North Koreans' Pain". The New York Times. Retrieved August 5, 2015. 
  5. ^ a b MURDOCH, EMILY (October 16, 2014). "HOW ONE BUDDHIST MONK DEVOTED HIS LIFE TO NORTH KOREANS". World Religion News. Retrieved August 5, 2015. 

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