As A Peace-Loving Global Citizen: Episode 22

As A Peace-Loving Global Citizen: An Autobiography by Rev. Sun Myung Moon
Chapter 3: Internal Riches Through Struggles and Suffering
"You Are My Spiritual Teacher", pg 83-86

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CHAPTER 3 Internal Riches Through Struggles And Suffering

“You Are My Spiritual Teacher”

After crossing the Imjin River, we traveled by way of Seoul, Wonju, and Kyungju to Busan. We arrived finally on January 27, 1951. Busan was filled with refugees from the North. It felt like the whole country had gathered there. Any accommodation fit to live in was already occupied. Our tiny place had barely enough room to sit. Our only option was to go into the woods at night, keeping warm as best we could, and then return to the city by day to look for food.

My hair, which was kept short during my prison time, had now grown back. My trousers, mended from the inside with cotton from a sleeping quilt, had become threadbare. My clothes were saturated so fully with an oily grime that raindrops in heavy rain were not absorbed into the cloth but simply rolled off.

Almost nothing was left of the soles of my shoes, although the upper part was mostly still there. I might as well have been walking barefoot. The fact was simply that I was the lowest of the low, a beggar among beggars. There was no work to be had, and we had no money in our pockets. The only way we could eat was to beg.

Yet even while begging for food, I maintained my dignity. If someone refused to help, I would say in a clear and confident voice, “Listen. If you do not help people like us who are in need, you will have great difficulties if you hope to receive blessings in the future!” People would give when faced with such thoughts. We took the food we gathered this way to a flat area where we all could sit together. Dozens of people like us ate in such places. We had nothing and even had to beg for food, but a warm friendship always flowed among us.

Once in the middle of a day like this, suddenly I heard someone shout, “Look here! How long has it been?”

I turned to see standing before me Duk Mun Eom, a friend from my days in Japan. Duk Mun Eom had become my friend for life back then after having been so moved by a patriotic song I sang. Today he is one of Korea’s most prominent architects, having designed the Sejong Cultural Center and the Lotte Hotel.

“Let’s go,” he said, as he embraced me in my wretched clothes. “Let’s go to my home.”

By that time, Duk Mun Eom had married. He lived together with his family in a single room. To make room for me, he hung a quilt down the middle of that room, dividing it, with one side for me. On the other, he slept with his wife and two young children.

“Now,” he said, “tell me about your life lately. I always wondered where you were and what you might be doing. We were close friends,” he said, “but you have always been more than a friend to me. Did you know that I always held you in great respect?”

Up to that point, I had never shared my heart candidly with any of my friends. In Japan, I went so far as to hide the fact that I often read the Bible. If someone came into my room when I was reading, I would quickly put the Bible away. But in the home of Duk Mun Eom, I shared my story for the first time. I spoke throughout the night. I told him of my encounter with God, crossing the 38th parallel, starting a church, and surviving Heungnam prison. My story took a full three days to tell. When I finished, Duk Mun Eom stood and knelt down before me in a full ceremonial bow.

“What are you doing?” I asked in shock and surprise. I grabbed his hand and tried to stop him, but it was no use. I could not.

“From this moment on,” said Duk Mun Eom, “you are my great spiritual teacher. This bow is my greeting to you as my teacher, so please accept it.”

He has been with me ever since, both as my friend and as my disciple. Soon after this, I found a job on Pier 4 in Busan harbor. I worked only at night. With my pay, I bought bean porridge at Choryang Station. The hot porridge was sold with a rag wrapped around the container to keep it hot. I always held the porridge container against my body for more than an hour before eating it. This helped to warm my body, which froze from working throughout the long, cold night.

I found lodging in a shelter for laborers located in the Choryang neighborhood. My room was so small that I could not lie down, even diagonally, without my feet pressing against the wall. But this was the room where I sharpened a pencil and solemnly wrote the first draft of Wolli Wonbon (the original version of the Divine Principle). I was financially destitute, but this was of no importance to me. Even living in a slum, there is nothing a determined soul cannot do. All we need is the will.

Won Pil Kim had just turned twenty. He did all sorts of jobs. He worked in a restaurant and brought home the scorched rice that couldn’t be served to the customers. We ate this together. Because of his gift for drawing, he soon got a job with the U.S. military as a painter.

Eventually, he and I climbed up to Beomnetgol in Beomil-Dong and built a house. Because this area was near a cemetery, there was nothing nearby except a rocky ravine. We had no land we could call our own, so we leveled a section of the steep slope and built a home there. We didn’t even have a shovel! We borrowed a small shovel from someone’s kitchen and returned it before the owner realized it was missing. Won Pil Kim and I broke rocks, dug the earth, and carried up gravel. We mixed mud and straw to make bricks, then stacked them up to make the walls. We got some empty ration boxes from an American base, flattened them out, and used them as the roof. We laid down a sheet of black plastic for the floor.

Even simple huts are built better than this. Ours was built against a boulder, so a big piece of rock stuck up in the middle of the room. Our only possessions were the small desk that sat behind that rock and Won Pil Kim’s easel. When it rained, a spring would bubble up inside our room. How romantic to hear the sound of water flowing beneath us where we sat! In the morning, after sleeping in this unheated room with a leaking roof and water still flowing below, we would arise with runny noses. Even so, we still were happy for our small space where we could lie down and put our minds at ease. The surroundings were miserable, but we were filled with hope from living on the path of God’s will.

Each morning, when Won Pil Kim went to work at the American base, I accompanied him to the bottom of the hill. When he returned home in the evening, I went out to welcome him home. The remainder of my time I spent writing the Wolli Wonbon. Our room always had plenty of sharpened pencils. Even when there was no rice in the rice jar, we always had pencils.

Won Pil Kim helped in many ways, both materially and spiritually. Through this I could concentrate on my writing. Even when exhausted from a full day’s work, he followed me around, looking for ways to help. I was getting so little sleep those days that I could fall asleep anywhere. Sometimes I even fell asleep on the toilet. Won Pil Kim followed me to the toilet to make sure I was all right.

But that was not all. He wanted so much to contribute even a little to the book I was writing. He began to draw portraits for American soldiers, and in this way, he earned money to keep me supplied with pencils. At the time, it was popular among American soldiers to have a portrait drawn of their wife or girlfriend before returning to America. Won Pil Kim glued sheets of silk on wooden frames, painted the portraits, and sold them for four dollars each.

I felt grateful for his dedication. I sat beside him when he painted and did all I could to help him. When he was away at his job on the American base, I would put the glue on the silk, cut the wood for frames, and put them together. Before he came home, I washed his brushes and bought the paints he needed. After coming home, he would take a 4B pencil and draw the portrait. At first, he was drawing only one or two, but soon word of his work spread. He became so well known among the soldiers that he was drawing twenty and thirty at a time. It got to where our home was filled with portraits, and we had trouble finding room to sleep at night.

As the workload increased, I started to do more than just help on the sidelines. Won Pil drew outlines of the faces, and I colored the lips and clothing. From the money we earned together, we bought pencils and drawing materials and spent the rest for witnessing. It is important to record God’s words in writing, but even more important is to tell people about His will.

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