For 2007 Won Buddhist Studies graduate Doyeon Park, putting words into action has true meaning. Since 2008 Doyeon has served at the Won Buddhist temple on the upper east side of Manhattan where she is active in the interfaith community, as well as with the United Nations where she a member of the Committee of Religious NGO’s (non-governmental organizations) at the United Nations. As the representative for Won Buddhism, Doyeon meets regularly with representatives of other religious, spiritual and ethical organizations to share information and insights about complex issues and events including poverty, women’s rights and the environment. As Doyeon explains, “Won Buddhism is very active in applying religious practice with secular life through interfaith dialogue. We meet regularly to find practical ways to inform and educate the community about current global challenges and issues of today.”
In addition, Doyeon is the only Buddhist Chaplain at both NYU and Colombia University. Meeting once a week at each location, Doyeon ministers to graduates, undergraduates and faculty members providing meditation exercises as well as leading on going conversations about Won Buddhism and its practical application in day-to-day life. “When I was invited by the students to Colombia, it was to teach meditation,” Doyeon explains. “I began with sitting, moving and walking meditation and then I made Won Buddhism relatable by integrating spirituality with science, social justice and the equality between men and women.” Doyeon’s efforts paid off and shortly thereafter she was approached by the students at Colombia to become the campus Chaplain at the school where she still conducts meditation each week.
When Doyeon graduated from the Won Institute she was assigned to the Manhattan temple where she currently performs services to the American congregation. “On Sundays we receive about 30 congregants. It’s a nice mix of ages, culture and races,” according to Doyeon, “often they stay after the service and we provide tea and fellowship.” Doyeon enjoys serving and ministering to the people in her adopted homeland, “It’s challenging; not so much the culture, but sometimes the language can be a small obstacle.” Today, Doyeon is sharing the values she learned at the Won Institute that included an emphasis on contemplation, self-reflection and the healing arts.