Monday, October 14, 2013

Choe Kyung-Yo / Character Sketch 2nd draft / Tue 3,4

<A Character Sketch _ Second draft> 201203511 Choe Kyung-Yo


There is a man. No. There was a man. He was a Buddhist monk. And he was a bestselling author at the same time. Many people, including me, have loved him and deeply respected him. He is Beop Jeong, the most respected and beloved Buddhist leader in Korea.

He was born in Haenam in 1932 which is famous for its nickname, "the end of the South Korea". His real name is Park Jae-Cheol. He, of course, was not a monk at first. When he was 20, The Korean War(1950~1953) broke out, which made him think intensely about life and death. When he was a junior in college, he eventually left his school in search of the truth.

He became a monk at Songgwang Temple in Suncheon. Unlike most monks, he participated in society. He raised his voice about things that he thought were wrong and not right. And he also tried to deliver Buddhist teachings to many people in a way that is easier and more understandable. 

Not only as a monk, but also as a writer he was very exceptional. Among them, his first book, "Non-possession"(or "Musoyu") particularly made him famous and beloved. In this book, he urged us to live a life where we are not ruled by material things. Non-possession does not mean you should not possess anything, it has something to do with not possessing unnecessary things.

The more he became popular, however, the more he got tired. He wanted to get away from the spotlight. That's why he moved to a small cottage. He lived alone there and practiced himself what he told people to do.

I remember my first time I saw him. I didn't know how he looks until then. Whenever I hated to study, but had to do something that looks productive I used to go to the library. There, I met him and his book.

The first word that stroke me was overwhelm. I literally felt like I was overwhelmed by him. To be more specific, his eyes did impress me. We, Korean, often say like "Your eyes are alive!". I came to understand what exactly it means seeing him. His eyes are alive. Imagine elderly we usually see around us. Imagine there eyes. And then, look at his picture again. His eyes are full of the sharpness and the brightness. That's the difference.

He passed away at the age of 78. He had suffered from lung cancer for several years. Before he died, he expressed his wish that his books should not be published anymore. In accordance with his last will, all publishers decided to discontinue sales of his books. I remember many people rushing into buying his books in case of their being out of print.

Even thought he left this world, all his teaching will last forever.

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