The Words of the Sang Hun Lee
Dr. Sang Hun Lee
The following testimony was given by Dr. Sang Hun Lee at an advanced seminar on Unification Thought, sponsored by New ERA, which took place in Athens, Greece on June 12-17, 1984.
Dr. Lee is the author of Communism: Critique and Counterproposal, Unification Thought and Explaining Unification Thought. His mission has been to develop Father's revelation in a systematic, philosophical direction. Quietly, almost behind the scenes, Dr. Lee has been working to lay the foundation for Father's VOC work and Unificationism's outreach to the academic world. This testimony of Dr. Lee's earnest struggle to go beyond his intellectual understanding, to connect with and experience the heart of God, shows the necessity for a heartistic foundation underlying and penetrating even the most intellectual and academic work.
Dr. Lee gave this testimony as part of his opening remarks to the 17 professors from eight countries who participated in the Athens seminar. It was significant that this seminar, the first of its kind, was held at the birthplace of Western civilization. There in Athens, where Plato and Aristotle taught and wrote works that are the basis for Western philosophy. Dr. Lee spoke about the formation of Unification Thought, and more importantly of the need for God's love and heart in intellectual activity.
Before I joined the Unification Church, I had many problems that I felt were unsolvable. So when these problems were solved after entering the church, my joy was inexpressible. I was so elated that I felt if I pursued this path I would easily be saved and go to heaven. In the early years of the church, Rev. Moon always emphasized in his sermons that unless one understood the heart of God, one could not enter the Kingdom of Heaven. I was told that in order to fathom God's heart, one must shed many tears. During the entire 6,000 years since humankind fell away from God, there has not been one moment when God did not feel grief. So, one must often melt in tears when one is together with such a God. Moreover, one needs to grieve with a compassionate heart for all created things. Although it seems there is nothing significantly wrong in creation because we "see" with the blind eyes of fallen men, here on earth all things are groaning in pain. To discover such a reality would bring one to tears.
Rev. Moon used to talk about these things in almost every sermon, and yet this matter was my weakest area. I had developed my intellect, but emotionally I was nearly paralyzed. In fact, each person I encountered seemed detestable to me. While I suffered so deeply from life's questions before I joined the church, it seemed that all people were filled with defects, resembling maggots in a toilet. A maggot moves up higher and higher, pushing away other maggots, covered with excrement. I decided that all of the world's people were just like that. Although others are degenerate and corrupt, each individual considers himself to be important and wants to advance himself, pushing others aside. That is what I mean by the analogy of maggots. I could never imagine that people were aching and miserable inside.
So I did not expect to become able to comprehend the heart of God. I was grateful that the Principle had answered many of life's questions for me, but still I maintained all of my former attitudes toward life. I found myself in a paradox when I was told that in order to follow the path of the church, one must without fail understand the realm of heart. I tried to grasp the meaning of God's heart from many directions, but I could not succeed. Finally I asked an old colleague who had understood the meaning of true love. He replied, "You must offer a desperate prayer." That was the first time
I had heard the term "desperate prayer," the type of prayer wherein one fasts and clings to God in search of an answer.
Many times before, in anguish over life's unanswered questions, I had tried to commit suicide with no fear of death. So this time with similar determination I decided to fast without fear of death; I was determined to continue the fast until a response came from God. I set no limit to the fast.
A few days after I started, while I was praying upstairs, something like a vision appeared. Two gray puppies jumped out of my shoulder and sat beside me. My personal interpretation of this was that it might have been Satan, who had influenced me from within but finally left. This experience encouraged me to continue fasting for nearly a week, but nothing further happened. Yet I continued for a second week. My body lost all strength, but with an earnest longing to fathom God's heart, I continued. Then another vision took form. I was standing on a platform when many images of Satan, which seemingly took the shape of dogs, came to attack me. I felt as if I were in the jaws of danger. Then Rev. Moon appeared, standing upon an even higher platform, and snapped a long whip. All the images of Satan were destroyed. To think that Rev. Moon had protected me made me so happy!
However, this experience had nothing to do with my being able to comprehend the innermost love of God, which was the aim of my prayers. Thus, I continued for another week. On the 17th day of my fast, a letter arrived from the church headquarters informing me that a seven-day workshop would be held at the Kunsan Church, beginning December 25, where 16 church leaders from that province would gather. The leader of that prefecture and I were appointed as lecturers.
I later discovered that he was also in the midst of a 21-day fast. I had not let anyone know of my fasting, so that neither of us knew of the other's situation. When appointed to teach at the workshop, all I could do was obey. But that was a public type of work, and my fast was private. In order to avoid confusing public affairs with private, I decided to discontinue the fast. However, the fast had begun on December 1, 1959, and between the 17th and the 25th there was no other principled number except 21. So I chose to continue until 21 days passed, and then finish it. With the same urgent plea I proceeded on, yet even on the 21st day there came no answer from heaven. I could only suppose that I did not deserve to catch a glimpse of God's heart, and I decided to end the fast, feeling very frustrated.
After midnight, my wife brought a cup of rice gruel to me, with side dishes of kimchi and fish. As soon as I took a spoonful of the gruel-like rice broth, the fishes began to speak. I had been so exhausted that I was in a state of being half awake and half asleep. Even so, there was no doubt that I had heard a voice which said, You do not deserve to eat us. For 6,000 years we have been the victims of fallen mankind. The score has not been accounted for. You must not eat." I was shocked! In the early period of the church, members had a strong consciousness of sin. Rev. Moon always said. "You must control your body. The body is sinful; it is the source of sin." So everyone had a clear sense of sin. I had hoped that I would solve to a certain extent some of my sinfulness through the fast. But after I heard these words of the fishes, I was stricken with pain again. I felt my conscience being struck by the fact that I was truly sinful. So I kept silent and still, not even moving my chopsticks.
After a while, the vision I was seeing in the room suddenly changed. A desolate mountain appeared. The trees on the mountain were all dead, and the foot of the mountain had collapsed. I could not look at it without feeling sad. I asked myself what it meant, and a reply came immediately. I realized that this was the Garden of Eden where Adam and Eve once lived. Because they fell away it had become desolate.
Again the scene changed. An old man was climbing a mountain, perspiring as he carried a big tree. I wondered what it was, and it occurred to me. It is Noah climbing the mountain, carrying a log to build the ark." I remembered the substance of Rev. Moon's sermon about Noah. He said that Noah had received the instructions from God, "Build an ark," only once in all those 120 years. The person who is called to do God's will does not hear an order two or three times from heaven. He does not hear it again once he has already heard it, nor does he hear it again after he has failed. Once he who is called by God has heard directions, it should be his attitude to keep his promise with God until the very end. Because of this point Noah became the father of faith. Though many people ridiculed Noah and denounced him, he climbed, up the mountain, sweating, in order to fulfill his promise to God. I looked at Noah's back, remembering this account of Rev. Moon, and he appeared to be in such a wretched state. I became quite serious, reflecting on how much the person who is called to do God's will must suffer.
Again the scene changed. Now an old person and a child were walking up a mountain path. I questioned its meaning, and again a reply came. "This is the scene of Abraham going toward the hill in Moriah, in order to give Isaac as a sacrifice." Once more, the content of a speech by Rev. Moon came to mind. Abraham was given only one son, and at the age of 100, no less. God ordered him to offer that child as a sacrifice. In fact, Abraham would much rather have given his own life than take Isaac's. Therefore, in this scene, Abraham looked so serious. I thought that Abraham also had to overcome his humanistic anguish.
Once more the scene changed. Moses stood on top of a mountain, looking at a distant place absentmindedly, his white beard being blown by the wind. He then wearily descended the mountain, his head hung down, a very troubled expression on his face. Associating the whole image with the words of Rev. Moon, I could interpret the situation myself. Living altogether for 120 years, Moses led the Israelites out of Egypt with untold hardship. His one desire was to lead this beloved people into Canaan. This he could never forget. However much the Israelites opposed and complained against him, he did not hate them, and with earnest hope he entertained the desire to lead them until the end of their journey.
By God's order, Moses climbed Mount Sinai and completed a 40-day fast. When he received the tablets from God and returned below, however, the people had set up Aaron as their leader and erected a golden calf as their god. They were worshiping it. Moses witnessed this blasphemy as he descended the mountain. He became so enraged that he smashed the tablets into pieces. Then, perhaps to console Moses, God said that He would destroy all of these people, that such a faithless generation should not be tolerated, and that He would raise up a new nation by multiplying Moses' descendants. Moses prayed earnestly, however: Why will you destroy these people'? Aren't they the ones who have endured persecution for so long? Haven't you guided them here? Why will you destroy them? Because of this prayer, God refrained from destroying the Israelites. It was Moses' fervent hope and unforgettable wish that he return with his people to the land of Canaan.
Yet Moses ultimately became furious with the constant faithlessness of the Israelites, especially at Kadesh-Barnea, when he struck the rock twice in his anger. Because of this Moses was called by God to Mount Pisgah. When he was looking over to the land of Canaan from afar, God said to him, "You cannot enter into Canaan. You must die outside of the land of Canaan, in the s tune way your ancestors did." Moses wanted so much to enter this land, but he could do nothing about it, since these were God's strict orders. Calmly he walked down to his dying place.
When I saw this scene I was overcome with sympathy. I realized that the path of someone who is called by God is such a miserable one. Since Moses had sacrificed everything for the accomplishment of God's will, he would absolutely obey the order from heaven. I felt infinite sympathy for his lonely face, and tears streamed from my eyes.
I then saw a vision of Jesus going the way of crucifixion. Immediately I recalled the accounts of Jesus which I had heard from Rev. Moon, and again I melted into tears. Jesus came to earth as the Savior, the Messiah. He whom all the earth was to excitedly welcome was rejected in his lifetime. His family neglected him, the leaders of the Jewish religion opposed him, and the Jewish people disassociated themselves from him. Finally, he had nowhere to go. He was alone, a solitary figure for 33 years, with no one to rely upon for understanding. Yet he had the deepest feelings of love for his people. If he saw a cloud floating in the sky, he would say, "Cloud in heaven, please understand my suffering heart." Or speaking to the trees, he would say, "Who can know this anguish of mine? You know it!" Whether wandering along the coast of Galilee, or speaking to a Samaritan woman, he must have led a very lonely life. In the early years of the church, Rev. Moon gave this kind of a sermon about Jesus, crying during the entire talk.
When I saw this scene of Jesus I could not keep the tears from welling up in my eyes. It was clear how painfully hard the path of the Messiah was.
The scene was changed again. A man was creeping up a rocky mountainside which appeared to be like a steep precipice. As he slipped down and crawled back, once, twice, again and again, his hands began to bleed, leaving crimson stains on the rocks behind him. A wind picked up and soon grew into a storm. I asked myself who this person was, and I instantly realized that this was Rev. Moon, and that the storm meant persecution. At that moment I cried out loudly in anguish. This is the man who has come to free humankind. I myself have been a witness to it. I became filled with indignation and intense pain, asking why those whom this very man came to heal persecute him so tremendously. In this state of heart I broke into stricken cries. And I cried, and cried, and cried. I felt a sharp pain tearing at my intestines, breaking my heart, as if there were a knife inside my body.
At this moment another surge of sadness came over me. I felt that God was so miserable and pitiful. I felt as if I could see the image of God, grieving and looking very shabby, walking with many righteous men. I felt intuitively that when the righteous men fell down, when Jesus was dying on the cross, and while watching Rev. Moon's suffering, God was weeping bitterly. With the image of that miserable God I wept once again. This was the first such experience I had ever had. Staring at the forsaken figure of Rev. Moon and of God in misery, I lamented for about an hour, unable to stop the stream of tears.
At last things became calm. I was very quiet. After a few moments I heard a voice from heaven say, "Sang Hun Lee, eat." Immediately I realized that it was God's voice. I ate the fish. When I remembered the appeal of that fish, however, it stuck in my throat and I needed to make extra effort to swallow it down. Thus I gained strength.
When I awoke the next morning, all the scenery had been transformed. Everything was so beautiful! And yet, everything seemed to be clothed in a veil of sadness. Beautiful, but sad, I sensed that the trees were weeping even while they appeared so elegant. To me, nature was not only exquisite but also good and true. I used to hear from Rev. Moon that truth, beauty, and goodness can be found on the basis of love. I realized it was true through my own experience. If we look at the world from the viewpoint of God, who sees all things with compassion, then we come to the understanding that everything is true, good, and beautiful. Through that experience I felt that I had grasped the truth about the whole universe, the truth about its goodness and its beauty.
Even during the fast I saw patients, although my body had become very weak and I had to take frequent rests. Since the day after the experience I mentioned above, I came to have a problem. As soon as I saw a patient coming into my office, tears would fill my eyes, because I became so overwhelmed with tenderness for him. I wished that I did not have tears in my eyes while I was with my patients, but mercilessly, during visits the tears would stream down my face.
The patients would ask, "Dr. Lee, are you in pain? Is there something wrong?", and they would try to console me. When I could finally hold back the tears enough to see my patients off, I would return to my room and begin weeping again. I realized that God's children had been brought into such a pitiful situation. Who among them would truly know that God exists or that the Messiah has come on earth? Without knowing this at all, everyone was working desperately just to live, becoming sick in the meantime. My heart became filled with compassion toward each patient.
About a month later I climbed a mountain behind my house, and saw some children cutting branches from a pine tree. The moment I said to myself they should not cut them off, my arms began to ache. I wondered what kind of phenomenon this was. Also while on a bus that same winter, I passed a snow-covered field and saw a dog trying to bite a chicken to death. The moment the dog bit the chicken, I felt the teeth of the dog go into my chest, and I experienced excruciating pain. I felt intense pity for the chicken. I have realized, consequently, that within all created things there exists "heart," although it may not be of the same dimension as the "heart" of man.
From that time onward I genuinely changed, and I have come to ask many times since, "Who is this person who has been able to recreate so critical, intellectual, and cold a personality as mine into that of a tearful man?" It was through the guidance of Rev. Moon that so immense a revolution in so short a time occurred within my personality. But it is not only I who changed like this; many other Unification Church members have turned around like me. And such changes will most certainly continue in the future. The Principle is excellent; but through my own experience as well, I can witness to the greatness of Rev. Moon.