Jungto Society, the international Buddhist community founded by the revered Korean Dharma master and social activist Venerable Pomnyun Sunim (법륜스님), has conducted its 33rd annual pilgrimage across India and to Nepal. Held under the theme “Following in the Footsteps of the Buddha,” the pilgrimage, which ran from 19 January to 2 February, was attended by more 500 practitioners.
The pilgrimage was particularly notable for two reasons: this year saw the participation, for the first time in the Jungto pilgrimage’s 33-year history, of non-Korean practitioners. It also celebrated the 30th anniversary of Sujata Academy, a remarkable community school established by Ven. Pomnyun Sunim in Dungheswari, Bihar, that has transformed the lives of an entire community of people who have faced systemic social and economic exclusion as a result of India’s conservative Hindu caste hierarchy.1
Because of the unique significance of the Sujata Academy’s 30th anniversary, BDG will cover that event in more depth in a separate upcoming report and interview.
Jungto Society is a volunteer-run community of practitioners that aspires to embody the Buddhist teachings through social engagement, and by promoting a simple lifestyle centered on sustainable living. The community seeks to address the crises of modern society, such as greed, poverty, conflict, and environmental degradation, by applying a Buddhist worldview of interconnectedness and living in line with the principle that everyone can find happiness through Buddhist practice and active participation in social movements.
Although fewer in number than the 1,250 practitioners who attended Jungto Society’s 2023 pilgrimage,2 the 500-plus Korean Buddhist pilgrims who recently returned from India were accompanied nine practitioners from Italy, Japan, Thailand, the United Kingdom, the United States, and Vietnam—some of whom are members of the the International Network of Engaged Buddhists (INEB), including two bhikkhunis from Thailand, while others are graduates of Jungto Society’s English-language Dharma School.3
▶️ Published by BDG on February 7, 2024