As A Peace-Loving Global Citizen: Episode 67
As A Peace-Loving Global Citizen: An Autobiography by Rev. Sun Myung Moon
Chapter 8: New Vision for Youth
Everything We Have Is Borrowed from Heaven, pg 244-246
Everything We Have Is Borrowed from Heaven
People say I am one of the richest people in the world, but they don’t know what they are talking about. I have worked hard all my life, but I don’t own so much as a single house in my name. Everything is for the public. Virtually every adult Korean has his official stamp that he registers with the government and uses to sign legal documents. I don’t have such a stamp.
You may wonder, then, what benefit I have received from working hard and not eating or sleeping while others ate and slept. I didn’t work so I could be rich. Money has no meaning to me. Any money not used for the sake of humanity, or for the sake of my neighbor who is dying in poverty, is nothing more than a piece of paper. Money earned through hard work should always be used to love the world and carry out projects that benefit the world.
When I send missionaries overseas, I don’t give them a lot of money. Yet, they survive wherever they go. It takes very little for us to support ourselves. If we have a sleeping bag, that is enough for us to sleep anywhere. What is important is not how we live but the kind of life we lead. Material affluence is not a condition for happiness. It is sad to me that the phrase “to live well” has come to be defined in terms of material affluence. To live well means to live a life that has meaning.
I wear a necktie only for worship services or special events. I don’t wear a suit often, either. I generally wear a sweater when I am at home. I sometimes imagine how much money is spent on neckties in Western societies. Necktie pins, dress shirts, and cuff links are very expensive. If everyone stopped buying neckties and used the money instead for the sake of our neighbors who suffer from hunger, the world would be a little bit better place to live.
Expensive things are not necessarily the best to have. Imagine what it would be like if the building were on fire. Who would be the first to get out—I in my sweater, or someone in a suit and tie? I am always ready to go outside.
Some people might think I take conservation to extremes. I’m not in favor of taking a bath every day. Once every three days is enough. I also don’t wash my socks every day. In the evening, I take off my socks and put them in my back pocket so I can wear them again the next day. When I am in a hotel, I use only the smallest of the towels that are hanging in the bathroom. I flush the toilet only after I have urinated in it three times. I use only a single square of toilet paper after folding it in half three times. I don’t care if you call me uncivilized or barbaric for this.
The same desire to conserve is true at mealtime. I have no interest in elaborate meals. There may be all sorts of exotic foods and different types of desserts in front of me, but I am not interested in those. I don’t fill my rice bowl completely. It’s enough if it is three-fifths full.
The shoes I prefer most in Korea cost 49,000 won ($40) at a large discount store. The pants I wear every day are well over five years old. The meal I enjoy the most in America is McDonald’s. Some people call it junk food and don’t eat it, but I like eating at McDonald’s for two reasons. It’s cheap, and it saves time. When I take the children out to eat, we often go to McDonald’s. I don’t know how it came to be known that I often go to McDonald’s, but now the chairman of the McDonald’s Corporation sends me a New Year’s greeting card every year.
The message I give to our members every year is “spend money carefully, and conserve on everything.” I don’t tell them this so they can save money and become rich. I want them to have a consciousness of conserving in order to help the country and save humanity. We don’t take anything with us when we leave this world. Everyone knows this, and yet for some reason, people are desperate to get their hands on as many things as possible. I plan to give away everything I have built up during my life before leaving this world. The Heavenly Kingdom has plenty of treasure, and there is no need to take anything there from this world. When we understand that we are going to a place that is better than where we are now, there is no need to become attached to things of this world.
There is a song I have always liked to sing. It’s an old popular song that many Koreans know. Every time I sing this song it sets my heart at ease, and tears come to my eyes. It reminds me of my boyhood when I used to lie in the fields near home.
Happiness is always waiting for us. The reason we can’t find happiness is that our own desires block the way. As long as our eyes are fixed on our desires, they cannot see the path we should follow. We are so busy trying to pick up the scraps of gold lying on the ground near us that we do not see the huge pile of gold a little way up the road. We are so busy stuffing things into our pockets that we don’t realize there are holes in those pockets.
I have not forgotten what it was like to live in Heungnam prison. Even the most terrible place in this world is more comfortable and more materially abundant than Heungnam prison. Every object belongs to Heaven. We are only its stewards.