The Words of Reverend Chung Hwan Kwak
The Development of Heart and Love
International Federation for World Peace First International Seminar
Opening Plenary Address
Reverend Chung Hwan Kwak
July 31, 1999
Esteemed leaders from religion, politics and the academy. It is an honor to see a group of such prominence and prestige gathered here. I thank you for your foresight, your willingness to attend this conference and to invest your talents in this time of study. Please accept my greetings and welcome on behalf of the founders of our sponsoring organizations, Reverend and Mrs. Sun Myung Moon.
As many of you may know, I have followed Reverend Moon for over 40 years, beginning as a young man. I am sure you can imagine how thrilling each day has been as our little group passed from times when it was rare to eat a whole bowl of rice, to times like today in which we travel the world to bring a message of hope and new life to millions. You may know Mrs. Moon spoke in 80 cities around the world this year alone! We are so proud of her effort and sacrifice.
I can never feel thankful enough that my daily life has been guided by Reverend Moonís teachings and personal attention. So many of Unification members tell me how their lives changed 180 degrees by experiencing God, and learning about the ideal of True Family from Reverend and Mrs. Moon. As time went on, I would hear the same thing from people and leaders not only in Unification but from all religions, nations, and walks of life.
In recent years Reverend Moon and his family pioneered a tradition called "hoon dok hae," which roughly translates as "gathering for reading and learning." Each morning at 6:00 am millions of families around the world gather in a warm and loving atmosphere to read passages of spiritual guidance from the many decades of Reverend Moonís teaching. This practice is the cornerstone for each family member throughout the day. For the Dad or Mom on their way to work, the kids on their way to school and so on. Each family member carries some special thought or insight that helps them be a better and more loving person as the challenges of each day arise.
This is wonderful, no question about that, but we must seriously examine if this teaching is applicable beyond simple, personal inspiration on a day to day basis. Our current world is literally fraught with horrible disasters and social breakdown. We witness perverse and terrifying events domestically and internationally. The corrupt edifice of politics, media, and business threatens to leave us hopeless and cynical. Even leaders doubt that they can really effect change for the better and can become cynical and abuse their office. All the while innocent citizens in our respective nations and religions, and the young people in our schools suffer. The world of ideology and analysis is literally barren. No voice sounds persuasive.
Under such urgent circumstances, it is my sincere view that the long overlooked thought of Reverend Moon must be considered. We can begin that process here at this conference, and I am sure it will be an interesting exercise.
Reverend Moonís teaching and thought challenges conventional starting points for most political and social analysis. It presents a challenge to the very basis for understanding life on earth and in the afterlife, divine-human relations, and human relationships. This teaching comes at a time of great expectation. Reverend Moonís biography and teaching has reached its zenith on the eve of a new millennium. This is not by mere chance or accident. In our busy lives we often fail to recognize and investigate new religious and philosophical systems. This is why we invited you to this conference.
When we look at the history of human progress there is a tragic aspect of our race which is often missed by historians. That is the fact that humankind is always blind to seizing the right moment of Godís blessing. If we look at the history of saints, prophets, and religious founders we see that these people are never received in their own time. It is always after several hundred years that people begin to realize the treasure that walked among us. Always when it is too late. There is little more woeful than to prove blind to that which is most precious again and again. Losing the opportunity to share first hand, face to face, in the physical presence of those whom God has blessed with world-saving qualities, and always waking up 100's of years late is the worst part of the human record.
As we ponder a future world and the new millennium, we must consider which human habits and habits of mind are responsible for the chaos and suffering in our history. The point is that people and thinkers approach the world based on the concepts of power, knowledge, and technical mastery over the environment. These are always taken as the basic starting point and guiding force for thought and action. From there comes the desire of average people for greater comfort and greater prosperity; in short, an easier life. Common people desire technology that will make their lives easier and more filled with pleasure. This in itself is not necessarily bad. Reverend Moonís teaching is not ascetic, anti-worldly, or Luddite. The problem lies in priorities and starting points. Thought and human action leads to suffering because it is out of order. External emphases should be secondary to the deeper desires of original human character, they should not be master over our pure, original nature.
Human beings in their original minds desire peace, happiness, serenity, and the security which derives from giving and receiving true love. Every kind of love exists in the family. Conversely, absolutely ALL social, political, and cultural problems can be traced to breakdown and mal-adjusted families. This goes for drugs, violence, international warfare, oppression of minorities and so on. The crimes of person against person are perpetrated by people who lack true love; people who become dry and barren from the absence of the different sorts of family love. Once this emptiness happens people become prone to fighting and lose the ability to understand and appreciate others. They become selfish and defensive, and lose any sense of the human qualities of their neighbors and others. All of this comes from basically lacking the experience and peace of mind brought by true love. Reverend Moonís life and teaching are not that of an ordinary person. He deals with the fundamental area in which God, human beings, values, and original love intersect. Those who can meet him in his own physical time can gain vital wisdom, not just for this world, but more importantly for the next world; the eternal world.
Actually every person has this quality of true love as an original source element in their natural human make-up. The problem is that it remains underdeveloped, not properly cultivated, and never matures to bear fruit in a humane character. This original true love element must be nurtured by the precious gift of warm love from Mommy and Daddy, brothers and sisters, a caring and supportive spouse, and eventually from our own children. Without these influences the original seed of love in each person remains dormant. And then when these people who lack human feeling and compassion gain education and power they cause trouble.
In the coming new millennium, there will be a shift in the basic orientation of human life, moving away from obsession with technological development and material excess, toward an era of internal development of heart and true love. We will shift away from fixation on external civilization and move toward internal development of the original human nature.
We have gathered leaders from religion, politics, and education to press for urgent attention to this new orientation. Leaders such as yourselves must be the first to note the coming sea change. A shift from external emphasis to the new focus on the true love characteristics of human life and society. As religious leaders, political leaders, and educators please do not cling to present, outdated systems. Rather stay open to emerging changes toward God-centered, internal starting points. With this we can build a peaceful and lovely world. Without it we will continue to be haunted by the runaway forces of technology and social disintegration. The rise of conflict and human misery will grow worse and worse. In fact many have warned that the entire fruits of historical human achievement could be lost in a single moment. Such warnings have come from visionaries and analysts both in the hard sciences and in the social sciences.
Higher education has come to concentrate too much on the transfer of knowledge, and has abandoned a commitment to raising up human character and imparting wisdom to young people. If we can anticipate the keynote of the coming era and chart this new brand of education and leadership, we can usher in a new era and stem the rise of social breakdown and human suffering.
This week we are reflecting upon teachings derived from 80 years of life. This philosophical structure and orientation is already here in our midst. As a practical method, and as a foundation for creating substantial results, it is already here. These readings offer insights into the establishment of individuals, ideal families, and indeed peaceful societies and nations. It is my hope that these days of research can be just the beginning, and that upon returning to our respective nations and institutions we can continue to invest in a leadership pattern that conforms to the ideal of true love and ideal families.
Once again I thank you from the bottom of my heart for your attendance and sincere commitment to ushering in an era of peace and human happiness.
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