The Korean Buddhist News, USA was established in 1984 to represent the Korean Buddhist community in America. It was published as a hard-copy newspaper for seventeen years until 2001, when we were forced to stop for financial reasons. In 2011, The Korean Buddhist News, USA was revived when our second publisher, the late Ven. Kyong Am (1943-2014), appointed Jong Kweon Yi (aka. Dharma BOOM), as Editor in chief on the Buddha's Birthday at Borim Buddhist Temple in Fairfax, VA.
The 2012 Sangha BOOK of Korean Buddhism in America was the first achievement after restoring our editorial system. In the book, we defined and declared the boundary of what we call “our community.” We compiled the diverse groups and centers comprising this extended community into one book. To be sure, it was the first meaningful effort to recognize and connect a Sangha that is widely scattered around the continent.
One of the notable things about the Sangha book was that it included the English-speaking Korean Buddhist groups in America as an independent category. Although there are many English-speaking practitioners in the New World, many of them remain unknown to Koreans. We believe that Korean Buddhism is not about language, but about lineage. In this regard, it is natural that they should be considered as part of the Korean Buddhist community. Once we believe, we just do it.
Korean Buddhism offers a wide spectrum of Buddhist practices and teachings. Some of these were brought to Korea; others were created in Korea throughout a long and illustrious history. There are twenty-nine Buddhist Orders affiliated with The Association of Korean Buddhist Orders, including the four major orders: Jogye, Taego, Chontae and Jingak. Even more are registered with the government.
The Korean Buddhist News, USA does not just represent a single path or Order. We are a non-denominational and all-inclusive Korean Buddhist newspaper. We respect and listen to all traditions equally. Not just Korean Buddhism, but also world Buddhism. We love to be connected to all Buddhist groups and individuals following the Dharma. As a Buddhist publisher, we strive to stand on the Middle Path.
The Buddhist community is composed of monastics and lay people. These are two wheels turning toward awakening. Both must turn together or the vehicle of Dharma cannot proceed forward. All are equally important. Whether monastics, lay people, Koreans or Americans, all are already buddhas and bodhisattvas. We pay equal attention to everybody in search of news and stories that we would like to share.
The coverage of The Korean Buddhist News, USA is wide. We write about anything relevant to the extended Sangha of the Korean lineage in America. With our content, we hope to support all practitioners of our tradition in becoming better students of the Buddha, and better members of this society.
Two Korean mottos express our values and mission: “Jung Gyeon Je Il," meaning "The Best in Right View,” and “Su Cho Jak Ju," which means to "Make yourself a master of every situation."
"The Best in Right View" was inspired from the honorary titles of the original ten disciples of the Buddha. Each disciple had a specialty which became their nickname. Shariputra was called “The Best in Wisdom”; Maudgalyayana, “The Best in Supernatural Power”; Mah?k??yapa, “The Best in Ascetic Training”; Subhuti, “The Best in Understanding Emptiness”; Purna Maitrayani-putra, “The Best in Preaching”; Katyayana, “The Best in Discourse”; Anuruddha, “The Best in Clairvoyance”; Upali, “The Best in Vinaya”, R?hula, “The Best in Honest Action”; and Ananda, “The one who heard the most Dharma.” The Korean Buddhist News, USA vows to be “The Best in Right View” as a younger sibling of the noble ten original disciples.
As everybody knows, Right View is the first practice of the Buddha’s original teaching of The Eightfold Noble Path. It is also the most essential value that a Buddhist newspaper should maintain. The Korean Buddhist News, USA will do our best not to be prejudiced or opinionated in advance. We will endeavor to diligently practice Don’t Know mind, and Knowing and Seeing as It Is, in every moment to aid in our pursuit of being "The Best in Right View."
"Su-Cho-Jak-Ju Ip-Cho-Gae-Jin", which is usually shortened to "Su Cho Jak Ju", is a very famous phrase in The Record of Linji authored by Master Linji. It means: “Make yourself a master of every situation, and wherever you stand is the true (place)."
Master Linji was a quintessential Chinese Zen teacher. His powerful teaching has transcended time and space, and the teaching of "Su Cho Jak Ju" especially appeals to those of us living in the New World. We hope Dharma will thrive, and everyone in our Sangha will become the master of every situation here in America. Towards this end we do whatever is necessary to realize Su Cho Jak Ju in the Dharma. This is our editorial policy.
Finally, I would like to introduce our lineage:
The famous Zen Master Seung Sahn (1927-2004) was our Honorary Chairperson. ZMSS supported the newspaper both spiritually and financially for many years. In the early years, he also offered us a place to work at Chogyesa in NYC, one of the temples he founded in America. Thanks to his support, our fledgling minority newspaper was able to take roots in this frontier country. As the founder of the modern Korean Buddhist community in America, ZMSS still remains the spiritual ancestor of The Korean Buddhist News, USA.
Venerable Do Chul was the founding publisher of The Korean Buddhist News, USA. Having served from 1984 to 1988, he was truly a master of every situation. He personally handled everything necessary to publish the newspaper, from writing, editing, fundraising, mailing, and delivery. This great pioneer worked tirelessly to run the successful paper, and took measures to ensure its continuation.
The second publisher to head the paper was the late Ven. Kyong Am (1942-2014). He took up the noble mission in 1988 as his predecessor returned to Korea. Ven. Kyong Am represented the Korean Buddhist community in the DC area for about thirty years. While abbot of Borim Buddhist Temple in Fairfax, VA, he continued to publish the hard-copy version of our paper for twelve years. Although he had to stop publishing the paper for financial reasons, he never gave up the dream. He always remained hopeful that the paper would be revived, and it was. The torch was passed to a successor that he trusted and supported until the last moment of his life. We are honored and gratified that he approved of the transition to an online format, and gave it his blessing before passing away.
We created an online Hall of Fame to honor our early heros and preserve their memory. Our lineage is built on the power of their strong vows that are directly inspired by the Buddha. Thanks to their passion, dedication and commitment, The Korean Buddhist News, USA is still steadfastly pursuing our bodhisattva mission.
In the name of the Buddha and the three great founding fathers, today, we vow again. The Korean Buddhist News, USA will continue to make our best efforts for the benefit of all beings. In this way we will pioneer the history of Buddhism in this great continent to turn it into a Buddhist Paradise. Thank you.
Jong Kweon Yi (Aka. Dharma BOOM)
Editor in Chief