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Koreans celebrate Buddha's Birthday at ceremonies nationwide Updated: 2013-05-17 14:31:23 KST

But first
Today is Buddha's birthday here in Korea, in fact, it's the two,five-hundred-fifty-seventh birthday of Buddha, and to mark the occasion, Buddhist religious ceremonies were held this morning at some 20-thousand temples across the country.
At Jogye Temple in central Seoul,.. some five-thousand people attended the hour-long ceremony there,.. including many politicians and high-ranking officials.
The highlight of the religious service was the message of celebration delivered by the Venerable Ja-seung, the head of the Jogye Order of Korean Buddhism, the largest Buddhist sect in the country.
He emphasized compassion for all living things,.. which was one of the Buddha's key teachings.
He said that only by ridding oneself of hatred and greed,.. can society be at peace and find happiness.
President Park Geun-hye also delivered a message in honor of today's event,.. relayed by the nation's culture minister.
Buddhism was first introduced to Korea 17-hundred years ago, in the 4th century.
Only about 22 percent of Koreans are Buddhist now,.. but Korea still preserves its rich heritage of Buddhist culture.

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