The Words of Hyung Jin Moon

A Natural Affinity - Hyung-Jin Visits The Leader Of The Jogye Order Of Korean Buddhism

Ken Doo
May 13, 2008

In commemoration of Buddha's May 12 birthday, the following day, Hyung-jin nin, Yeon-ah nim and a group of senior members made a courtesy call on the Supreme Patriarch of the Jogye Order of Korean Buddhism and solidified the friendship between the two faiths. [The largest Buddhist order in South Korea, comprising 90 percent of Korean Buddhists] The Supreme Patriarch resides at Hae-in Temple in Hapcheon. South Gyeongsang Province, some four hours drive from Seoul. The group arrived at the temple grounds at 2:00 pm. Upon their arrival, the temple's chief of staff led them on a tour of the temple grounds. Hae-in Temple is located in a large park. Around a hundred smaller temples exist in the general vicinity of Hae-in temple, with around forty of them within the park proper. Following the tour, the chief of staff led the way to the annex where the Supreme Patriarch, Venerable Beop Joen, resides.

At the annex, Hyung-jin nim and his party offered three full bows to the Supreme Patriarch. Cups of schizandra berry tea, kindly prepared by the staff, were brought and there was time to study each other's faces for the first time. At that very moment, as if to break the lengthening silence, we heard loud peals of thunder and hail as big as beans fell from the sky.

As if he had been waiting for the thunder, the Supreme Patriarch asked Hyung-jin nim, "How and where did you learn about Buddhism?" Though they had not met before, it seemed Venerable Beop Joen knew that Hyung-jin nim had immersed himself in Buddhism at one time.

To this question, Hyung-jin nim replied, "My Korean is still not good enough for me to read about Buddhism in Korean texts, but I learned about Buddhism through English translations" He went on to say, "Through the death of my brother, I came to realize the ephemeral nature of life, which led to my becoming deeply interested in Buddhism." He expressed his gratitude to Buddhism for enlightening him.

As the conversation deepened, the Supreme Patriarch handed to Hyung-jin nim a book he had written and some others he enjoyed reading. It is not possible to exchange many words in a short time, the Buddhist leader explained, so he asked that Hyung-jin nim read the books because they contained all he wanted to say. He added, "If you become attached to the image or form of something, its essence will be hidden from you." He further explained, "If you hold fast to appearances, you will forget the essential aspect, so always empty your mind and embrace all of heaven and earth as your own home." He then blessed Hyung-jin nim's future path.

The Supreme Patriarch also explained the importance of meditation, quoting the words of Confucius: "If you cultivate your mind in the morning, it is all right to die in the evening." Hyung-jin nin knew that the Supreme Patriarch had continued to meditate even during the Korean War bombing raids and asked him about it. He answered, "True meditation is achieved in the complicated secular world, not in a quiet environment."

Hyung-jin nim was inaugurated international president of the Family Federation on April 18; this visit took place a few weeks after and is consistent with the tradition of True Father, who has promoted and invested himself in interfaith activities. The Buddhist hierarch asked Hyung-jin nim about his father's health. "He is still strong enough to start his work early in the morning," Hyung-jin nim replied. By the time the meeting ended, laughter could be heard coming from the annex; the thunder and pouring hail had ceased, and quiet came to the residence of the Supreme Patriarch. Venerable Beep Joen told Hyung-jin nim that anytime he wanted to learn about meditation based on Zen teachings he was welcome to come to Hae-in Temple, the center of Korean Zen Buddhism. The Patriarch personally saw Hyung-jin nim out. Not a trace of the walls between religions could be found between the two.

After the meeting, the group was shown around Janggyeong Gak, a large hall on the temple grounds, which is registered with UNESCO as a World Heritage Site, because it is where the eighty thousand woodblocks of the Tripiinka Korrinur are stored.

For dinner, we were served a temple meal cordially prepared by the staff.

As we were about to leave, the chief of staff invited us to stay the night but because of Hyung-jin nim's schedule, we said our good-byes and promised to visit again.

Hyung-jin nim's visit to Hae-in Temple did not come about simply by chance. In his early twenties and despite some criticism from those around him, Hyung-jin nim shaved his head and underwent strict Buddhist training for five years. In the course of his pursuit of understanding, he personally met with the Tibetan Buddhist leader, the Dalai Lama, and received teachings from him. Furthermore, he made a call of condolence, wearing monk's attire, in September 2005 at the time of the passing of Venerable Beop Jang, a figure analogous to the prime minister of the Jogye Order of Korean Buddhism.

Based on the precious connection thus formed, we hope that the global religions of Buddhism and Unificationism can work together and realize a world of peace and benevolence. 

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