Dear readers: so, you can’t guess who I bumped into on the downtown streets of Wonju tonight on my way to pick up some items at the AK Plaza department store.
Remember a few blogs back about the lady who belonged to a cult and claimed that my ancestors’ spirits were roaming the earth looking for me? She told me then, like she told me tonight, that I needed to perform a ritualistic ceremony that would unlock the doors of heaven for them so their spirits can be delivered from this earth.
I told my family about the situation and all had the same skeptical response: never to talk to these people again and just walk away. But it’s in my nature, whomever it may be, to treat people with respect and dignity and give them the same treatment I would want treated unto me. So we talked a bit. I am a bit skeptical as well, but I still have it in me that perhaps it could be true that the negative energy that floats around me could be due to the leftover negative energies of my ancestors. I see it as a possibility.
Naturally, I drilled her with a few questions, like the name of her church. She adamantly replied it wasn’t a church that she belongs to, but a Buddhist religion that follows Miruk Buddha, the Buddha who existed after Shakyamuni. The majority of the conversation was basically questioning each other, me asking why they didn’t they have a more convenient location nearby to perform the ceremony and why they were asking for money. This time, she said she didn’t need my money and all I needed was to bring an offering of fruit from the nearby market as a sacrifice, and of course, it would have to be for tonight. I said I needed to go on my way, but if we could meet say, in a couple of weeks, that I would like to enlist her for her services. She was as shocked as I was that we would bump into each other again. This, to her, meant that my ancestors were in desperate search of me. She told me that my ancestors would perish if I did not take care of ushering them right away to heaven’s gate. My reply was that if I was strong enough, then my ancestors’ spirits would be strong enough to survive as well. To this she smirked. We cordially bid each other farewell and departed ways. And as we were leaving each other’s company, she said, “Let’s see each other again!” I laughed enthusiastically.
It just didn’t seem right that she wouldn’t want to set up a future date when circumstances were a bit more conducive in my mind. I wanted her to know, as much as she wanted me to know, that my ancestors must be really in need of me, that my ancestors were as much calling upon her to carry out this duty of sorts, but she would not accommodate my request of meeting at a future date. She must be vexing about our coincidental bump in this very moment as I write this blog. That is my hope anyways.
As I went on with my nightly crawl, it came to me that it is possible that people’s ancestors are stuck on this planet searching for their way, if you subscribe to believing in spirits. It is then my supposition that it is possible that the earth that we live in or on, here and now, is a kind of heaven. Much like the Christian religion professes that we humans are a reflection of God, spirit, body, and mind, could it be that the earth we live on is also a reflection of heaven? It must be that our earth contains elements of heaven on it much like our physical, mental, and spiritual bodies are a direct reflection of our God. At which time I realized there is heaven in Korea. Don’t misunderstand me. I am not saying that Korea is heaven, but that heaven is in Korea. Korea, from what I have heard, has some very modern mythological beliefs about their country, such as that their people are the chosen people of the modern era, much like the Jews were God’s chosen people of historical times. I have also heard that if you marry a person of Korean ancestry, then your soul is saved, which gives credence to the massive marriage ceremonies that are performed by the Moonies, a Christian cult that is led by the now deceased, Reverend Sun Myung Moon.
People can believe what they want. I will from time to time ponder upon the idea that heaven exists on our planet, even in this day and age. I mean, am I so far off-base to think this when since I was a child growing up in a Presbyterian church, I was taught that the Kingdom of God will reign on earth after the tribulation? Are we now living in this time prophesied to us by the Christian faith? Some theologians may agree with what I am saying, and it is then our responsibility as Christians, or rather moral human beings ,to give people, living creatures, and the earth the respect that it deserves. A heavenly mandate. That’s really all I’m saying.
Today our Korean Cultural Experience class visited Yeoju, a city not too far west of Wonju, for their annual ceremony celebrating ceramics. We saw many different works by artists and were also privy to peruse the grounds of a famous Buddhist temple, Shilleuksa, whose resident once was the Monk Wonhyo. It is claimed that he achieved nirvana and, therefore, the people built a stone monument for him. It’s one of the few Buddhist temples located away from a mountain landscape, directly beside a river which empties out into the Han. I felt consoled and comforted this day.
There isn’t much time left for me here in Wonju, Korea. There are about five weeks left of my stay. I’ve learned a lot about Korean Modern history (we are now onto studying about the heart-wrenching Korean War), improved my Korean language ability through my advanced Korean Conversation, Reading and Writing class, lost 30 pounds of weight (by avoiding bad eating habits and staying active on a daily regimen), and I am figuring out how my Korean identity fits in with the person inside me. So, I’ve had a productive time here thus far. What the next handful of weeks has in store for me, only time will tell. I hope it will be as smooth as the past 11 weeks have been. I perform better in a stress-free environment, wherever that may be. Oh yeah, it must be here in Wonju because heaven is in Korea! Thanks for reading. TTFN, ta ta for now!