Ján Valkovič, Retreat manager, Slovakia


Dear Sir,

I’m a manager of Buddhist meditation center Javorie in Slovakia. We invite meditation teachers from all around the world and organize vipassana retreats for meditators also from the whole world. The current situation limits our possibilities, but nevertheless we still have courses going on. 

 As you may know Buddhism is very tolerant religion. And even though we do not agree with many theories of other theistic religions, I personally think that the decision whether to believe in something or not has to be made by every person individually. Everybody has the right to believe in whatever they want to. If someone believes in Elves or Dwarfs we might laugh, but if someone believes in some different god we will hurt him? 

 It has come to my attention that members of  Shincheonji Church (also known as Shincheonji Church of Jesus, the Temple of the Tabernacle of Testimony) are being scapegoated by South Korean government. This is very unfortunate and unwise, but very common in mankind history. All throughout the history the minorities have been persecuted or mistreated. The best example would be Jews. Not just during the WW2. Here in Europe they have been put on the edge of the society in many towns and cities in many countries or kingdoms. Would you agree with such a horrific action as happened to them in concentration camps? Why it all happened? Because they have been used as scapegoat by the Nazi propaganda. 

Other example, maybe less know in your part of the world are gypsies. Here in Slovakia we have quite a lot of them. This problematic is deep, but they are struggling to survive and one of the reasons is that the majority just does not want to have anything in common with them – so they are segregated on every level starting in schools and finishing in work opportunities.

From my point of view, the Sinchenoijis problem seems similar. A small religios group is now suffering because majority of people needed to find a victim for what have had happened. At the beginning of the pandemic in February or March nobody really knew how deep the problem is and how we have to face it. Here in Europe we didn’t even had enough tests. I did not follow the situation in South Korea, but I assume that the outbreak of Covid was similar allround the world. Nobody really knew what is coming. 

In today’s world freedom of religion and basic human’s rights should be granted for everybody. Nobody should be discriminated because of their nationality, physical appearance or mental ability. The same hold true for religious believes. I will repeat myself once more: even if one believes in Aliens that is no sound reason to persecute the person physically neither by any other form of mistreatment. 

With regards

Ján  Valkovič

Retreat manager


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