2012/05/12 | 193 views | Permalink |
This week I highlight one of Korea's living national treasures, the Korean Jindo, as I tip my hat to this amazing breed. In 1962, the Jindo was officially recognised as a national treasure and as such these dogs are held in high esteem here in Korea. The finger goes to the heads of Jogye Buddhist order, six of whom were exposed in a video this past week and found to be unfit to act as spiritual leaders.
The Hat: The Korean Jindo
My experience of Koreans and animals has deeply saddened me of late. Last week there were two reports of dogs being dragged to their deaths that had my stomach in knots and my fists clenched. But despite my objection to animal rights in Korea this week I wanted to tip my hat to Korea's own special breed - the Korean Jindo.
These medium-sized dogs have no written history to track their exact origin, but they are believed to have come from 'Jindo Island' along the south-eastern coast of Korea. In 1962, the Korean government proclaimed them as the country's 53rd 'National Treasure' and passed the Jindo Preservation Ordinance to protect and monitor this unique breed.
Jindos are said to be extremely loyal, cunning, and generally good-natured. The dogs are also known for their hunting abilities and pack sensibility and there is even a Korean legend of three Jindos who were able to bring down a Siberian Tiger. Their abilities and traits lead the L.A.P.D to attempts to recruit four Jidos into their program. Although the dogs excelled during training, real-world practice showed them to be too easily distracted by the hustle and bustle of the world and they were also too focused on pleasing their masters. This eagerness to please and strong single owner loyal also lead the Jindo to be dismissed as being fit for military service here in Korea.
Pure breed Jindos are rather expensive and can cost up to few thousand dollars. However, there are a number of crossbreeds that are very common and they still posses the desirable traits of the main branch that many dog owners are looking for. The Korean government closely controls purebred Jindos and that makes it hard to find one that is registered with them. Their export to other countries is also closely monitored and regulated.
The state of Korea's animals rights, or rather the lack their of, has really upset me this past month. That is why I wanted to highlight this beautiful creature in this week's post so that more people might become aware of its existence in Korean society. For more information on the Korean Jindo I have included a few links below:
The Finger: Jogye Buddhist Order
Christianity and Buddhism are the two main religions in South Korea, but this past week saw the latter fall into disrepute as a video emerged that showed six leaders from the Jogye Buddhist order partaking in behaviour unbecoming of their positions as spiritual leaders. The video was taken from a hidden camera and shows the monks playing high-stakes poker (estimated to be around 1 billion won or $ 875,300), smoking and drinking at a luxury lakeside hotel.
The video was submitted to the authorities by Ven. Jaseung, a previous candidate for head of the Jogye order, who said that he found the video on a USB drive on the floor of his temple. Ven. Jaseung had already filled a number of complaints against the head of the Jogye order, but those previous complaints were since dismissed. Ven. Jaseung went on to make a public statement were he apologised to Korea's Buddhist followers for this scandalous act, vowing the order will conduct 108-bow ritual for 100 days as repentance for the six's dishonourable conduct.
"To all citizens and Buddhists we express repentance. We deeply show penitence for causing anxiety and worry to those who support Buddhism...Ascetics and mentors, who should be all the more restrained from material desires, instead recently committed acts that are too embarrassing to even speak of...There are many who shave their heads and enter monkhood but cannot escape from their previous habits"," – Ven. Jaseung
Of course this is not the first time the world has heard about hypocrisy within religious orders, but this blatant misuse of position by spiritual leaders has had the South Korean public rightfully up in arms. The money that was being thrown around has been reported to most likely come from donations from the public. Religious groups in Korea don't have to pay any tax on the donations they receive; so many religious leaders/groups make their living solely through the generosity of their followers, of which the Jogye order has around 10 million.
Below are a few links to news articles that reported the incident. Amoung them you can also view the view that forced these six monks to resigned:
"[HanCinema Korea's Diary] Korea's Own Unique Canine & Religious Leaders' Scandalous Behaviour Exposed"
by HanCinema is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported License.
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