The spring of 2022 has arrived. The English version of the online Jungto Dharma School, which will run for 22 weeks, is scheduled to begin on March 22nd. It is one of the many programs being offered by Jungto Society to spread the wisdom of the Buddha around the world as the organization wraps up its first 10,000-Day Practice. This means people around the globe, including North America, Europe, and Asia will be able to take this course. At Jungto Dharma School, students learn the Buddha’s teachings through a series of Dharma talks by Ven Pomnyun Sunim. Through the course, students will obtain an insight into how the mind works and experience how to change their perspectives on life. Not only does the course focus on the theoretical aspect of Buddhism, but it also equips you with practical wisdom to deal with various difficulties in life.
As the opening of the Jungto Dharma School draws closer, Jungto practitioners all over the world, especially in North America, are actively promoting the program. The International Division of Junto Society is carrying out various promotional initiatives.
Since Jungto Society transitioned into an online format, we have only been able to promote Jungto programs online, using our computers. Recently, Jungto volunteers have been putting up posters in offline venues to promote the Jungto Dharma School. Soonyoung Kim and Ji Hyun Kim who live in the Eastern US said that they felt cheerful as they put up posters in places such as supermarkets, Panera Bread, Starbucks, and several restaurants. They shared, “Since we have a lot of prior experience, we were able to divide up the work among us efficiently, and everything went like clockwork. We had a great time.”
Additionally, Jungto volunteers in the Northwestern U.S., the Western U.S., and Canada have also been putting up promotional posters. In particular, the story of a Jungto Society member in the Western U.S. evening group caught our attention. While her son was at school, she spent time surveying her neighborhood to identify places where she could put up posters now as well as when it’s time to promote the next Jungto Dharma School, which will begin in September. She put up posters at three Starbucks, REI, and Rachel’s Kitchen. Although she was not allowed to put up posters in some venues, she managed to collect useful information there. For example, libraries charge a fee to put up posters, and the recreation center only permits public material authorized by city hall. She found out that she can put up posters about upcoming Live Dharma talk and Sunday meditation, which she plans on doing in the future.
Also, Sangjin Kim of Vancouver, Canada shared that she felt grateful to a fellow practitioner who came to pick up the Dharma School posters at her office.
Various types of online promotional activities are also in full swing. One key example is the “300-likes challenge.” It consists of “liking” the listed Dharma talk videos by Ven. Pomnyun Sunim on YouTube, adding a comment in English to each video with hashtags (#pomnyun, #JungtoSociety). This challenge started out in the Northern U.S. and spread globally. Because 300 likes were reached very quickly, the goal was adjusted to 1000 likes. The online challenge was a huge success, reaching a total of 1204 likes in total. Yejeong Lee from the Northwestern group said, “This really isn’t something that can be done alone. It was possible thanks to the combined efforts of all the volunteers.”
We also can’t leave out our pre-existing SNS activities. In the Northwestern U.S. group, the volunteers uploaded and liked the Jungto Dharma School promotional posts almost every day. One person even uploaded them on a social facebook page, where people gather once a month with their pet dogs. E-mails have also been a big part of our promotional activities.
A significant portion of the promotional activities was directed toward family and friends. One volunteer shared the news that she invited her son to register for the Dharma School. Some of the volunteers shared information about the Dharma School with the 28 existing English-speaking 1000-day practitioners and Sunday Meditation participants, and answered their questions. Some of the volunteers from the Western U.S. spread the news to their friends at the Korean-American Women’s Association of the USA, Inc (KAWA) and held a short Q&A session. As most of the KAWA members are Christian, it was a great opportunity to increase their awareness of Buddha’s teachings.
The Dharma School registration period overlapped with the South Korean presidential election period. So naturally, Dharma School posters were posted at various overseas voting locations. In Saitama and Yokohama in Japan, the volunteers spent their time efficiently by voting and promoting Dharma School at the same time. The volunteers from East Asia changed the lyrics to the BTS song Permission to Dance into Permission to Spread Dharma and are preparing to record a video of the song.
Lastly, the North America Chapter and the Asia Pacific-Europe Chapter of the Jungo Society International Division are holding Thematic Dharma Talks for people in different countries in their respective languages. In Europe, the Germany Chapter has been holding Thematic Dharma Talks in German once a month since October 2021. They advertised the Jungto Dharma School actively to local participants and 4 people registered for the Dharma School.
A total of 92 people enrolled in Jungto Dharma School, which started on March 22, 2022. We have 13 student groups divided by region: Oceania, Asia, Europe, and North America. We hope that the Jungto Dharma School will flourish like the blooming flowers in the spring.