Bhikkhuni Whajeong, ordained half-a-century, was born in the year the Korean War broke out. She experienced poverty and the deaths were personal and many. When she became 16, she asked herself, “What is life?” She became a Buddhist monastic, and practiced asceticism for 3 years. After that, she took her full vows.
Since then, she has researched and studied Buddhism--going to various traditional Buddhist schools and colleges for 10 years, graduating from Sam Seon Buddhist Sangha Graduate School. Subsequently, Bhikkuni Whajeong established a Student Union and Youth Group consecutively. She guided these early disciples and developed a small temple, which later grew into a large temple, Myungbubsa Temple of Pyeongtak, Korea. Her temple and subsequent Welfare Center (Children’s Day Care Center & Senior Welfare Facility) now have 1,000 volunteers. They are recognized as the foremost religious facility and welfare center of Pyeongtak, a city of 500,000 inhabitants.
Bhikkhuni Whajeong believes that Buddhism should benefit society; so, she began to serve free meals to the homeless each week, and help workers who are in need. For 35 years she organized her own soup kitchen. In addition, she developed a children’s day care center, as well as, facilities for the differently-abled. Then she established a foundation to attend to these projects. She visits seniors at home who cannot move well, and she cleans their houses and bathes them. She has done these activities for 30 years.
Bhikkhuni Whajeong travelled to Gyeonggido, Chungcheongbukdo, and other cities and provinces to volunteer during natural disasters. She invited famous monastics to offer talks at her temple and translated and published Buddhist scriptures. She asks others, “What are the appropriate values for our society?” And, encourages them to contemplate.
She offers monastic scholarships.
Bhikkhuni Whajeong taught her disciples to do volunteer work for society and now it is a 30 year tradition at Myungbubsa Temple.
Bhikkhuni Whajeong sets an extraordinary example of a Bhikkhuni, and has received honors from the Jogye Order of Buddhism in Korea. She has received many awards for her work. Even a stamp was issued in memory of the volunteer activities of Myungbubsa Temple.
Her message is that the Buddha’s teachings should not be confined to only Dhamma talks. The Buddha’s teachings can be practiced in society so that they are most beautiful.