Fw: Dr. Biden Pool Report #2

From: Sarah Kim [mailto:xxx@email.com]
Sent: Saturday, July 18, 2015 05:27 PM
To: Suber, Kellen C. EOP; Gleeson, James M. EOP; Spector, Stephen I. EOP
Subject: Dr. Biden Pool Report #2

Dr. Biden Pool Report #2

Dr. Jill Biden arrived at the Jinkwansa Temple, which dates back to 1011, in Eunpyeong District, northern Seoul, where she met with female monks who also serve as leaders of their community.

The Abbott of the Jinkwansa Temple, Venerable Gye-ho, and Ven. Beop-hae, the nun in charge of general affairs, greeted Dr. Biden and her party which included Valerie Biden Owens, sister to Vice President Joe Biden, Catherine Russell, U.S. Ambassador-at-Large for Global Women's Issues, and U.S. Ambassador to Korea Mark Lippert.

Ven. Gye-ho, holding Dr. Biden’s hand, led her around the temple grounds, explaining its history as well as significance of temple cuisine, or sachal eumsik. They rang a bell, which is usually rung at the temple during morning and evening to herald the beginning of the new day and the end.

The female monks also showed Dr. Biden where dozens of black pots stored doenjang, or fermented soybeans. “The soy beans are fermented for three years to make the doenjang, which is good for boosting immunity,” said Ven. Beop-hae. She also explained a symbol unique to the Jinkwansa Temple, three dots in a pyramid over two parallel lines, which represents the temple cuisine.

Dr. Biden then spoke with the nuns of the temple for an hour in closed-door talks on topics about the temple’s history, the lives of the female monks, food and its contributions to community and education, as well as its temple stay program, open to people of any religious background who wants to seek healing there, according to temple officials.

The group was served freshly brewed green tea and rice cakes. The baby green tea leaves are grown wildly and handpicked by monks, and the rice cakes are made at the temple, said a nun. Dr. Biden was also presented with a “Buddha’s Bowl” set, which includes the bowl, spoon, placemat and towel used by monks to eat their meals with. The towel is used to wipe down the bowl and utensils.

After the talks, Dr. Biden walked out holding hands with the nuns. She told reporters, “We just wanted to say how excited we are to be here in Korea, and how wonderful the sisters have been to us today. They are educating women, they’re empowering women; we talked about that. That’s one of the purposes of our trip. And they’ve shown such kindness to us. We are very grateful for this visit.”

Dr. Biden wrote in the visitors’ log of the temple, “Sisters, Thank you for sharing the beauty and serenity of your life with us. We are honored to spend this time with you. Love, Jill Biden, Lady of the United States, July 18, 2015.”

Sarah Kim, Korea JoongAng Daily

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