Chapter 7: The Education of Reverend Sun Myung Moon
7.1 In what environment did Sun Myung Moon grow up?
Korea in the 1920s, the time that I was born, was going through a very difficult period - during which there was a three-year famine. It was also a time when a new struggle against Japanese oppression started, based on the March 1st Movement [a nationwide uprising against Japan's colonial rule in 1919]. I was born based on the foundation of the difficulties my family had to undergo in relation to the March 1st Movement.
I was born in 1920 during the Japanese colonial administration of Korea. I have experienced firsthand the pain and sorrow of a weak nation trampled on by a powerful neighbor. During my youth, I thought seriously about how to bring salvation to this tragic world of war and evil.
In my family, there is a tradition to not let hungry people leave our house empty-handed. When we had a guest, we would never just send him back where he came from. We had such a family custom. We gave food to many people from all parts of Korea. During the Japanese occupation, as the Japanese came and made people's lives difficult, many escaped to Manchuria. As our house was by the highway, people from all the eight provinces of Korea dropped by and had a meal. My mother made food for thirty to forty people every day. She followed this family tradition throughout her life without uttering a word of complaint
Our house was located by the highway and well known for our tradition; there were even times when we had some thirty people in our living room. Though my mother had quite a temper, she never complained about having to cook for them and having to serve her father-in-law as well.
My grandfather had two brothers, and the youngest of them (Moon Yoon-guk) was a Christian minister. He was the North Pyeongan Provincial leader for the March 1st Movement as well as being a member of their national planning committee. He led school staff members, church followers and residents of Osan town in the Mansei Resistance March. Consequently, the Japanese police arrested him for organizing the march and imprisoned him for two years. After serving out his sentence he was forced to live in hiding away from his hometown and passed away in Jeongseon, Kangwon Province.
My father (Moon Kyung-yoo) was known to be a man who could live without laws to regulate his actions. If he owed money, he could not bear the idea of being in default, and always acquitted his debts on the due date with interest. He kept his promises without fail regardless of circumstances. He was exemplary in this.
My father knew all the songs in the 400-page standard hymnal and would not take it with him to church on Sunday. When I asked him why, he said, "It's cumbersome to have to carry it around. I'll probably end up losing it anyway. I'll leave it at home." Then I asked him how he was going to sing the hymns, to which he replied, "What do you mean how will I sing the songs? I'll follow everyone else's singing, and if I don't know the words, I can always look at the book of the person in front of me." That's how he memorized all the hymns.
My mother (Kim Kyeong-gye) was an exceedingly strong woman, resilient and as tough as a battle-hardened soldier. I take after her in terms of muscular physique and sheer physical strength.
Looking back upon my life as well as my family's experiences, I see that at one point God gives a blessing but later He is harsh and merciless. Our family experienced much grace at the time of my great-grandfather, but by my grandfather's time, we underwent a course of indemnity. Indemnity would always follow a blessing, similar to the history of the Israelites. After receiving ten blessings, there would have to be that much indemnity received. In order to keep something strong, and to leave a seed, indemnity must be received. Especially if it was to leave a seed for the clan rather than for the family, Satan would pour more trials onto the family than the blessings they had received. Therefore, until I received the call from God there was great confusion in my family. Our family lost its entire fortune, including some of its members as well. Prior to my embarking on this mission, there had been indemnity in three generations of my family. There was indemnity during my grandfather's generation and during my father's generation, and in my generation my older brother paid indemnity.
7.2 A child with much curiosity
Because someone's hometown is the place that contributes more than 80 percent of the important educational materials in life, one's connection to one's hometown can't be severed.
I want to conduct education in the land in which I was born, the field I grew up on, the neighborhood I played in, using those things as textbooks. You will know my history once you have heard from me directly about the time I played under the mountain.
You must know that you can liberate and indemnify the truth that no one celebrated my birth and no one followed me, through going to Jeongju, in North Korea, where I grew up. You can do this by drinking the water I drank there when I was young, and playing in the garden I ran around and played in as a boy, and through your children singing holy songs and raising a toast to God in that place. I want to use my homeland and that neighborhood as textbooks to educate you. Once you hear my explanation of those times under the mountain directly from me, during your life, you will surely know my history. There will anyway be a time when you must visit the mountains and rivers in your teacher's homeland while you are alive. All of the animals and plants on the mountains of one's homeland, the natural world can help to grow abundance in the heart of a person. That's why we miss the mountains and rivers of our homelands, and we love nature.
From the time I was young I would look at a mountain and think, "What's the name of that mountain? I wonder what's in that mountain." I always went to see those places I pondered about. So I knew well all the things within an eight-kilometer radius.
The limits of my activity when I was young were great and wide. There was almost nowhere in Jeongju that I hadn't been to. I had been to all of the high mountain tops. But I even felt that I had to go beyond that. Only then could I know what was contained in all that was visible in the morning sunlight. All of those places were the mountains and rivers in which I cultivated the devotion of my faith. The water of my homeland, the trees of my homeland, the land of my homeland, the spring breeze of my homeland, all the things that I experienced in the past are vividly alive to me.
There was no flower among those I saw that I didn't directly touch when I was young and going around the mountains. There was no flower I didn't know. There were many times when I stayed out in the creation after the sun had gone down. I would fall asleep and, at midnight, I would be found by my parents who would take me back to the house. I liked nature so much. (203-185, 1990.06.24)
At my house, there is a great chestnut tree which is around two hundred years old, and is so beautiful. I don't know if it was because I was born in the year of the monkey, but I was very good at climbing trees. It was such fun to climb chestnut trees and knock the chestnuts to the ground with a wooden staff I had made.
I only let the birds flying in the mountains fly in peace after having examined them. I didn't let any kind of bird be free until I had examined it. If I saw a pretty swallow for the first time, I would first wonder what the male and female of that kind of bird looked like. Was there a book I could use to figure that out? No. So I had to go to the birds and study them directly. I would wait for a week without eating.
At one point, I wondered about crows laying eggs. I couldn't sleep until I knew for sure. I would go in the evening, and then again in the early morning before the crow would leave its nest. After visiting this one crow everyday, I became familiar with it. At first, it would caw a lot at me, but after I had visited it everyday without doing it any harm, it just stayed calm. So I watched what it would catch and feed its babies, and everything it did.
Because I lived in the country, I caught a lot of insects. There was probably no kind of insect I hadn't caught. Moreover, there was no kind of animal I hadn't caught and brought home. Well, I didn't catch a tiger! I caught wildcat, raccoon and rabbit, among other animals. It was of such a great interest to me. I thought they were living alone but they all had partners. All things come in twos.
When it snowed, I hunted at night for weasels with my staff, in a garden that stretched for tens of kilometers, and in the day for rabbits. Or I would make a dog bark at me and make him follow me, and after having gone up the hill a way, I would get a stick and throw it for him to chase.
During the vacation, I went out to the sea to learn about it. I examined all sorts of places - dirty ponds, marshlands and crab holes. Then I would fish. I was a champion at catching eels.
If a guest would come and we needed an eel for supper, it would only take me thirty minutes to an hour. I was a good runner. I would run around six kilometers to a pond and within 15 minutes catch five eels.
We did a lot of beekeeping. Acacia honey tasted so good. When a bee sits on an acacia and sticks its head inside and feeds, it spreads its front and back legs and sets its behind under it and sucks. If you try to pull its behind with a pair of tweezers, it won't let go even if its behind falls off. How serious is that bee? The guy who is pulling the bee so that its body will fall off may be brutal, but the bee that won't let go of the flower for the taste it's experiencing is so serious! I saw that and thought that's how I should act as well.
I can't live with the knowledge that there's something I don't know. If some old person in our town died, I would ask from what disease he had died. If I was curious about why someone had died, I would go to where they were doing the funeral ceremony and ask. So I knew what was going on in my town.
I was very interested in everything. If there was an old person defecating in a neighborhood, I wouldn't just pass by. I would wonder why, when everyone else covered their nose to keep out the smell, this old man could not smell what everyone else smelt. So I would ask.
Even if my mother would give me an apple or a melon, I would ask my mother from where she had got it. Then my mother would say, "What do you mean, Where did I get it? Your older brother bought it in the market." Then I would ask my mother which orchard the fruit was picked from, if it was an old lady who had picked the fruit, or if it was picked by a middle-aged man, a young man, or a young woman. I was very curious about that.
Do you know how many teachers ran away from me when I asked them questions they couldn't answer? I would ask questions like, "Who worked out this physics formula? I can't accept it. Please explain it so I can understand.
I believed nothing before I had made sure it was right myself. If a math teacher taught me a formula, I would get on that teacher about that formula. I would think, "Who created such a formula?" I felt bad that someone had made the formula before I had. I thought, "I should have made this formula before so-and-so made it." So I would examine and look at the formula from many different angles to figure it out. There was nothing I did in a half-hearted way.
What I studied the day before the test my mind was always on what was on the test. I picked the three things that had the most chance of being on the test and only studied them. I would always put those as answers on the test. I would analyze the teacher psychologically and guess what he or she was going to put in the test. Studying like that, I got 70 percent right on the test.
I never lost in a wrestling match. I was also good at soccer. Even with my large body, I am fast. When I was young, I did iron bar exercises. I trained myself with many kinds of exercises. I even exercise now, with exercises no one else knows. I devised some exercises of my own.
For six months, I went into a room by myself and practiced pronunciation from the basics. I trained myself until I got all the sounds right. So I learned to speak faster. I also practiced my delivery.
A long time ago, when I was a teenager, I liked music a lot. The person who owned the house I was staying in was the first son of a rich family in Kang-won Province, who even owned and drove a car. Someone who could drive a car thirty years ago was from the elite. There was no place in Korea this person hadn't been to. He knew all the folk songs, and owned hundreds of records. So I decided to make myself into someone the landlady would always listen to. I brought in the food tray every evening. I did anything she asked me to do. After I had done this according to my plan, the landlady was very pleased to have me there. She even said that she wanted me to be her son-in-law. Well, why wouldn't she be?! And she let us listen to all of the records she had. She let us listen to a few at a time. After having listened to some of the records, we would get to listen to a few more. So in the end we listened to all of the records there. I decided to listen to all the records within a few days and would leave the records on all day.
There are good points to being able to sing well. A filial son drums on his mother's back while singing. If a young man and woman sing to each other about their hearts of love for each other, they reach that level. Shouldn't a person standing on the front line trying to bring about restoration be able to achieve his wishes, no matter how? This is all a part of making oneself into a whole person. It's a necessary process. I would stay up all night listening to music. When I went to sleep, I had the volume on low, and with a blanket over my head, listened to the music. That's how impatient I am. No matter what I do, I try not to lose to anybody.
When I was in high school, I was a wrestling champion. There was no sport that I wasn't good at. I even boxed. If some bad person came and punched me, I could land him a hook and he'd be on the floor! I even did such training. Why did I do that? Not to fight. Since I had the determination to make a great revolution, to repair this world and initiate a world of peace that follows natural laws, I had to have a healthy body.
7.3 Determination and insight
If I started to cry, I didn't stop in just an hour. So I had a nickname, "day-crier" Because it took me a day to finish crying, I got that nickname. I wanted all of the old people in the town to come out and see me cry. I cried to make the whole town start talking and to even make those asleep wake up. I didn't stay still and cry by myself. I continued crying as if something terrible had happened. My throat would hurt and I would get a frog in my throat, so I couldn't even speak afterwards. And I didn't just sit down and cry. I ran around, would get hurt and start bleeding so I was covered in blood. You can tell what kind of personality I have, then.
I didn't yield to others. Even if I would break a bone, I wouldn't yield. I would never yield to another. This was before I knew how the world worked, before I was even in my teens. If my mother did something wrong and then gave me advice, I would say, "No!" If I was told that I shouldn't just do things my way, I would stand up and fight. It was quite something. I never gave up.
It was the same with my grandfather. My grandfather heard advice from me. He once said something to me with his cigarette in his hand, trying to educate his grandson, and I said to him, "How can a grandfather educate his grandson with a cigarette in his hand? Is that our family tradition?" So what could he do? He had thought I was just a silly kid, but when I said that, he said, "You are right. I'll put it away."
It was said that the small kid in the house in Osan would do anything if he put his mind to it. It was said that he would burn his house if he decided to. If he wanted to cut down a wooden column, he would. He could kill a cow if he wanted to. Anything he said he would do, he did. So if I said something, everyone had to surrender. I was satisfied only when the three generations, up to the grandparents came and surrendered to me.
Once a kid gave me a bloody nose and ran away. So I waited in front of the guy's house for thirty days and finally got an apology from his mother and father. I even got some rice cake to take home with me. (46-161, 1971.08.13)
I used to be very good at the picture-card game. Do you know that game? We also played a game where we threw coins up against a wall and saw how far they could go. I was a champion at that, and at making a hole and throwing coins into it.
I never lost in an arm wrestling match when I was young, and I never lost a wrestling match. There was someone three years older than me in town and I lost in a wrestling match against him once.
People who live in the country should know. The water comes up in an acacia tree in the spring, so if you take off the bark, it comes off as well as the bark of a pine tree. So in the spring when the water comes up, if you bend the wood, the bark falls off, you just get all the bark off and the tree is really tough.
After I lost, I wrestled with such an acacia tree for six months. I would say to the tree, "You! I won't eat until I sit on you!" So for six months, I slept only after having bent the tree over so I could sit on it. I forgot about eating and sleeping. That's how serious I was. (139-52, 1986.01.26)
In the old days, when I wasn't even ten years old, all the kids within an eight kilometer radius were afraid of me. I would get the guys together and we would go and fight with the neighboring village kids. I even did that kind of thing. If another kid was angry and crying because he had been hit by some kid in another village, I would go alone to the other village, even without sleeping that night. I went and called the culprit out. "Hey, you're the one who hit so and so, aren't you? How many times did you hit him? Hey, you!" Such were my dealings.
When I was young, if I said it was going to rain, it rained. If I said that within a week someone in town was going to die, or an old lady in another town was going to die, it happened. There were many such stories.
I was quite different. If I sat down in town and said, "Today so-and-so uptown is not alright, he'll be sick," that's what happened. I knew everything. From when I was eight years old, I could tell which couples would make a good match. If I looked at two pictures and thought these two people wouldn't make a good couple, I was right. All such marriages failed miserably. I have this kind of a history
7.4 Empathy and compassion
When I was old enough, I started to give food to birds and dig wells for them. I dug wells with all my power and told the birds, "You should come here and drink the water." Then they would come and drink water there. They would come and eat the food I gave them. They did not fly away when I went closer to them.
I thought fish could live in any kind of water. So I dug a hole, filled it with water, and put fish in, but they died overnight. I cried and cried saying, "I wanted to take care of you with all my heart. Why did you die on me?" I think I am quite an emotional person. When I looked at a fish separated from the group, I would say, "Your mom must be crying because you're away."
My father hated it when people killed dogs. One day, people from my village came and caught the dog I loved most. They threw a rope around its neck and hanged it. It did not even know what was going to happen to it. It used to wag its tail to show its joy to see me coming home. Holding the dog that had been hanged, I cried and cried. I realized then that people were not as trustworthy as dogs were
After having seen a beggar shivering in the winter, I could not eat or sleep when I was young. That was the way I was. I told my parents to bring the beggar to our home and feed him. I think that God must have thought He could make use of some of that quality in me. I could not sleep if I heard that some people in our village were starving. I told my mother that we must help. Then my mother and father would say, "Do you want to feed the entire village?" I sometimes took some rice from home and gave it away without telling my parents.
We did some beekeeping in our house with several hundred beehives. There were many houses in the country where the families didn't have enough oil to light lamps. I gave the beeswax to those people. I was too young to know how much it cost at that time. Eventually my father found out and I got a good scolding
Poor friends in my neighborhood used to bring their lunch with boiled barley or boiled millet. I could not eat my rice after having seen the poor food in their lunch boxes. I had to switch lunch boxes. When some of my friends' parents were sick but could not go to the hospital because they did not have money, I would beg with tears in my eyes to my own parents to give them some money. If they would not give me the money, I announced that I would sell this and that in the house to get the money.
I was often hungry when Korea was a colony of Japan. I would invite poor students to eat as much food they could, so my month of meal tickets would run out in three days.
There were students who had a hard time finishing school. I quit school for several months and on behalf of their parents, I took care of them.
When a group of people bullied weak people, I fought against those rascals. I fought for justice. The feeling of being hit is an important part of shaping one's philosophy of life.
[Referring to encounters with Japanese police] Many times, I spit up blood through near-fatal experiences. However, I never gave my friends' names under torture; I was loyal to and responsible for them. I risked my life for theirs. I fought alone. I did not budge even under threat of death.
I did not talk even during the most dreadful torture - being hit by clubs. You must keep faith with your friends. Once you have made a promise, you must keep it to death. One night, after torture, I felt the most sorrowful ever, and knew that I would never forget that day.
Even if people can put my body into prison, no one can imprison my heart and belief. They can hit me however much they want. When they hit me, all of that will be a foundation for me to connect to God and God's work to this point. Those moments were testing how much I could actually love my enemies. I said to them in my mind, "Hit me for as long as you want, but I will never hate you for this." I vomited blood after being hit for so long, but I still thought, "I was beaten on behalf of all mankind. I am beaten, but I will not remember the pain. Please, Heavenly Father, forgive those who hit me." One must successfully go through a test in which your life is at risk.
7.5 Character formed through diverse experiences
During my schooldays, I traveled to many places. There was almost no part of Korea that I did not visit. I would just jump on a truck in spite of its driver? Reluctance, telling him that I didn't mind sitting on the luggage. He finally agreed to take me after I promised to buy him dinner, but during our mealtime conversation, he was so taken by my observations that he offered to foot the bill after all. Once, on the street, I spoke to a lady on her way to her husband working in the rice paddies, with his midday meal. After listening to me, she ended up giving me her husband's food!
I met many well-known and illustrious pastors in Korea along the way. I checked them all out, who was mature and who wasn't. Thus, when I started out, I already knew their grades, though they didn't know me yet. Perhaps they regarded me as nothing more than a bird of passage, but I wrote down all they had to say in my report to Heaven.
Initially, I visited the underground churches, not wanting to deal with Christians who had comprised their faith by prostrating themselves under duress at a Japanese shrine. It was three years prior to the liberation of Korea that I started to meet members of the underground church.
I'm very good at knitting. I have knitted my own sweater, socks, briefs and shorts by myself. I'm a person who has studied everything necessary to live even without a woman to fulfill God's Will as the main business of my entire life, even if I had to remain single. I can knit a pretty hat. When I knit a glove, I do it very fast.
As a youngster, I really felt like going to the movies. For people like me, it was just such a shocking experience; I almost felt like screaming. I decided to cut off from it and to do that; I went five times every day until I was so jaded that I never wanted to see another movie again in my life. I said to myself, "You scoundrel! Don't go!"
In those days, there was a red-light district in Jongno-sam-ga, downtown in Seoul. I decided to survey the matter. Why would pretty women pursue such a profession? What would I do were she my sister or a daughter? What would a brother or a father do? It's a serious problem. I would talk to those women about that all night.
When I was living in Heukseok-dong (in Seoul), it cost five jeon to go downtown by train. I would go on foot instead of taking the train. It would take me 45 minutes to get there as a fast walker, while other people needed twice that time. In summer, I used to walk with my uniform bathed in sweat. I donated the money saved from the train fare to the needy saying, "My heart would like to give you money in the thousands and millions to create a happy nation, but instead I give this to you representing the Korean people. I pray this can be a seed of happiness and fortune for you."
When I lived in Noryangjin (Seoul), I walked to school to save the five-jeon train fare in order to give it to the poor. I did the same returning home from school. I would strike the trees on the roadside, saying, "Stay alive until I succeed. Please grow up together with me." Those trees are no longer standing there now, though.
On my way to school with the money to pay the tuition fees, I saw a person terminally ill lying on the road. I sacrificed my school fees for him to go to a hospital. I can never forget how hard-pressed I was to pay the school its fees, and how fortunate I was to have my friends rally around me in getting that sum together. Such experiences shaped my life profoundly.
North of Harbin, there is a place I was thinking of going to in order to work at a electrical company at the time I was pursuing my studies in Japan. Why? From the workers there I thought I could learn the Russian, Chinese and Mongolian languages. I was planning to build a headquarters in Asia for the future.
I trained myself in being the first to arrive and the last leave my place of work. If I was not the first, I felt bad. I wanted to be a master, a winner. It's the same for God's Will. When you are the earliest for God throughout all your life, you will be the king of heaven
There's one thing I've never forgotten. In the busy Ginza district of Tokyo, I pulled a wagon by myself without being in any uniform amid well-dressed passers-by. At that time I was thinking, "You guys, let's see if you step aside or not!
There was a barge loaded with coal at the Kawasaki Shipbuilding Company. It would usually take a team of three laborers three days to unload it. Our team of three finished unloading by the usual 1 am closing time of the first day.
On holidays, I worked at a fertilizer plant in Kawasaki. They had laborers working inside the sulfuric acid tank, which was overdue for condemnation. The laborers were being sent inside in order to overhaul its system. It was impossible to work more than fifteen minutes inside that tank. Such were the harsh conditions in which I worked.
People used to say you should go to a quiet, magnificent place like a mountain when you meditate. That doesn't make sense to me. Studying at a quiet place is also nonsense. I studied in a factory with the sound of thousand horsepower motors and engines blaring in the background. I trained myself to excel under the most adverse conditions.
During the Japanese occupation, everywhere I went I was constantly under police surveillance. All my movements into and out of Korea would be relayed over the telephone, and I would always be met by agents at the port of entry.
In spite of being a student, I was blacklisted. Several times, I was placed in a police cell during the Japanese occupation. When I was in Tokyo, every month I would be called up to the police station right next to Waseda University.
We had meal coupons in Japan, and together with my friends, I would take them to a restaurant to see how much I could eat. Walking down Takadanobaba Street, we could see many restaurants clustered around a Buddhist temple. After downing seven bowls of rice, I couldn't eat another grain. The pain was worse than the feeling of hunger to the extent of not being able to lift a finger. I was always keeping myself hungry. When you are constantly concerned about filling your stomach, you cannot think of your nation and God. I thought I should love my nation and God more than I love to eat. It was a truth and also my faith.
Please practice having two meals a day for 4 years. For 14 years, until I was 30 years old, I did it. During that period, there was not a day that I did not go hungry. It is a great thing to save one meal, with a mind of sacrificing yourself for the world.
I wore old used clothing bought at a second-hand shop. I didn't pomade my hair, though people did to keep their hair in place. I didn't do it, even in spring and summer. Everywhere I walked, I lowered my gaze at an angle not exceeding forty-five degrees.
How could a man who hasn't fulfilled his responsibility before Heaven satisfy his needs? That was how I thought throughout my life. Without discharging your debt to God, you can't face Him.
Several times Japanese women sneaked into my bed, but I never sinned with them.
Control your sexual desires. Not even beautiful women should be able to stimulate your sexual organ. Become able to control yourself, bearing in mind that the root of the Unification Church is deep and that you should engraft onto it to become a person like me as a healthy tree. When I was young, it was normal for me to be in jail. I had conditioned my nervous system to withstand such severe torture that would break down any other person being thus interrogated.
I was beaten almost to death, covered with blood and bleeding profusely. They kicked my stomach with their jackboots. While two of them would hold me down, another two kicked and trod on me. Imagine the effect of that to my belly. Just trying to sit and stand up in the toilet was torment.
Because I was accused of saying that I was going to cut the Japanese emperor's throat, I was imprisoned and tortured. The most excruciating thing was to be kicked in the crotch with spiked leather boots. You will not know what pain is without such an experience.
Once after I being interrogated and tortured for fourteen hours, I wasn't able to crawl even twenty meters. Nevertheless, I held out in faith to the end, enduring the pain while fainting repeatedly.
When I was twenty years old, I pledged to God that I would save my nation. I believed that, representing my nation, my love for God was stronger than the love the Japanese people had for their emperor. Therefore, I was convinced they would be eventually defeated. The party that launches a strike against the righteous is bound to lose ignominiously.
7.6 What kind of education did Sun Myung Moon receive?
When I was ten and going to the village school, I had to memorize a page a day. I usually finished memorizing it in thirty minutes. If I concentrated, I could do it in thirty minutes. All I had to do was to show my teacher that I had memorized it. What I could do in thirty minutes, other students had to spend a whole day on. After I did my portion for the day, and my teacher took a nap, I went up to the hills to play.
In my village school, my teacher used to give us something to memorize over night, usually parts of the Analects of Confucius or the Discourse of Mencius. Students had to recite the parts they had learned the previous day. If we did not recite them properly, we would be caned. I remember being caned myself then.
In the past, there were cram schools to help students enter schools, just like those in Seoul today that prepare students to enter universities. At that time, I decided to go to a grammar school, but I had to go through a cram school to be tested in order to enter a school that was acknowledged by the government.
Although my parents paid one year of tuition for the village school, I insisted on going to a better school. I persuaded my parents, my cousin and my grandparents. I was the first one in my family who thought of going to a school teaching new things from the West. I revolutionized their way of thinking. I knew that we should not just be memorizing what Confucius had said while other people were building airplanes.
I am a very ambitious man. I made a determination to have more than three doctorate degrees before my death. However, now I think the easiest thing for me would be to get doctorate degrees. They call them honorary doctorate degrees and many people want to give me those.
After the academy, I went to elementary school. It was called Osan Elementary School. I transferred to the third grade having passed the test. I studied there for a year. Of course, I had no choice but to study hard. I desperately studied and my grades were high enough for them to allow me to skip the fourth grade and to enter the fifth grade the following year.
I walked eight kilometers to the elementary school every day. If kids living along the way joined me on the way to school, they were never late. I was like a clock for them. At every turn in the pass, kids were waiting for me. I could walk very fast. I could walk eight kilometers in forty-five minutes. Kids following me really had to hurry.
Osan Elementary School did not permit the students to speak Japanese. As you know, it was founded by Mr. Lee Seung-hoon, who was one of the thirty-three patriots who had stood up to the Japanese [proclaiming Korean independence on March 1, 1919]. So the school's tradition was to oppose Japanese colonialism. That was why they would not allow students to speak Japanese.
I had to get to know my nation's enemy. Without understanding the enemy, no one can make a good strategy to win over them. So, I took another test to transfer to Jeongju Elementary School which was a public school at that time. I learned to speak Japanese fluently there in order to graduate. In the meantime, I came to think about the fundamental questions of life as well as about life of faith - all the difficult questions.
I had to learn Japanese in school. It feels like yesterday that I learned the Japanese alphabets, Katakana and Hiragana. I memorized the entire alphabet in a night. Then I memorized my Japanese texts in fifteen days. After that, I could understand what people were saying in Japanese.
My teacher displayed my first painting on the wall. Although I had not learned it formally, I knew that I had to divide the space into three parts. I simply guessed that the open space I was going to paint should cover a certain percentage of the space on the paper, and so forth. I measured them exactly and put them in the right place with the right proportions.
When I used notebooks in my young school days, I did not start with the first line of the notebook. I started to write from the top of the page. Sometimes, I used a page twice. That way I could get twice as much use from a notebook. People must save materials.
I watched the principal in my elementary school and made up my mind that I would live this and that way. The time when I used to study with the small kerosene lamp feels like yesterday. Do you know about small kerosene lamps? When I studied until two or three o'clock in the morning, my parents used to tell me that I would impair my health if I did not get enough sleep. I really studied so hard. I made friends with night bugs. Night bugs were my friends in the summer.
What I can vividly remember is my graduation from Jeongju Elementary School. Many parents, teachers and influential people in Jeongju gathered to celebrate our graduation. The principal spoke and this was followed by congratulatory remarks from one of the guests. Right after the guest's speech, I volunteered to go up to the stage. There I confronted Japanese colonialism. I can still remember that time like yesterday.
At my elementary school graduation, I made a big speech. In front of a police chief and a county ombudsman, I spoke, "You Japanese should pack your bags and go back to your country." I was called by the police chief, and we argued. I argued that one could not stay quiet when things were so unjust. Of course, I was branded as a troublemaker from then.
When I first came to Seoul, I realized that things were totally different. Jeongju was in the countryside. Having lived in the country, the experience in Seoul was very different, 180 degree different. You have no idea how large Seoul felt to me then. I remember trying to put up with the new environment.
In my junior high school, I did most of the cleaning at school. I wanted to be the student who loved the school the most. I wanted to clean the school as if it were my own home. When I had such a mind, I did not want anyone else to help me.
I was a self-sufficient student for seven years. It was not because I did not have enough money but because I wanted to understand about women's work. I never used dirty water when cooking. No matter how cold the water was, I used fresh water. In the cold, fresh water, my hands felt numb. I often used to wash rice.
Because I am so used to few side dishes, I do not need many. I like things to be simple, practical and delicious. I always had one side dish. One side dish is enough for me.
I thought that a person who had not been able to keep his own nation did not deserve to eat all three meals a day. I often went hungry. As much as I missed food, I missed the day of my country's liberation. That was how I trained myself. I said to myself that I must love my people and my nation more than food. So, during my life in Seoul, I skipped lunch. It was not because I did not have money in my pocket. When I had money, I gave it to poor people around me.
I often fasted on my birthday. How could I celebrate my birthday when I had not even accomplished the individual level victory and family level victory, let alone the national and the world level victories? That was the way I thought. How could I celebrate my birthday, knowing my situation. Sinners must fulfill their responsibilities for God, and only then could they celebrate their birthdays. That was the way I lived.
There was a place called Choong Ji island in the middle of the Han River. I remember lamenting looking down the Han River. I remember saying to the river, in my mind, "How passionate is your love for this nation? You should be the lifeline for this nation. You should be like mother's milk for this nation. If you are not going to be that, I will be that." I can vividly remember what I thought. There was only one bridge. I remember what I thought crossing that bridge, too.
I was a Sunday school teacher who thought of children to be the most precious things. I really loved the children more than anyone else. The children were also crazy about me, too. They would not even go to school but follow me instead.
I understand so well about the background of people like Rev. Park Jae-bong or Rev. Lee Ho-bin. Although I know their secretes, I never revealed their faults. They have followers, too. Those church pastors and their followers met because of their destined fate. God brought them to meet through the full workings of fate, let us just put it that way. So if anyone reduces that degree of fate by half, then the person who dragged them down should take responsible for those people whom he pulled them apart. What is once planted in a field should be harvested in the same place.
One day, I wrote an entry in my diary that was thirty pages long, as long as a whole notebook. I recorded how serious I felt in my heart about the situation in my country. This was used against me by the Japanese later. I had written several people's names in the diary, and they were all arrested and accused of participating in an incident I was involved with. From then on, I never wrote again in a diary. I would not even carry a notepad. I kept all the important things in my head.
I burned my own diaries and cried. "This could have been a historic record by which suffering young people could find the way to their nation's liberation, but I have to burn it now." I was choked with tears. I have tried to find the way to save my people, the world and God.
When I went to Japan, as I boarded the train at Seoul station (at that time, it was called the Hikari line, running between Seoul and Busan), I told myself, "I will not come back to Seoul as a miserable loser. God will protect people that have a passionate love for and desire to save their nation. When I return, I will be full of hope."
Leaving for Busan from Seoul, I said to myself, "What will I learn in Japan? I will pave the road for the young people in my country to rise in this world and to establish an independent country." I remember crying unstoppable tears as my train crossed the Han River Bridge after leaving Yongsan station.
I felt that I was leaving my nation, which was like an orphan. I covered myself with a coat and wailed with grief from Seoul to Busan. A Japanese lady came to me and asked, "Has your mother or father passed away? Well, everyone has to go through such sadness." I was sad only for my nation, out of my deep love for my nation.
I can never forget my prayer at Busan harbor before I left to study in Japan, at two o'clock in the morning of 1 April 1941. I promised my country in my prayer, "Although I am leaving you now, my love for you will only grow stronger. I will shed more tears for you."
As soon as I set foot in the enemy nation, my tears stopped. I never visited any of the famous spots in Japan. I did not think I was qualified to have such an enjoyable time because I did not have my own nation.
I studied electricity and science. I knew where I was headed. I studied science, especially electricity, because I knew I had to be good at mathematical calculation to undertake complex projects. I have to make decisions quickly and precisely. Electricity is invisible, so it is somewhat like religion. In every single phenomenon of the natural world, there is electrical activity.
I used to walk around downtown when I was studying in Tokyo. There is nowhere I did not see in Tokyo. I was making a plan in my mind. I thought, "In a few years, the young people in Japan will definitely rise up." I studied people, from scholars to simple laborers. I walked around the back streets of Tokyo. I was not happy there, being a patriot for Korea. I talked to nature, the trees and rocks in Japan, "You know you are in the enemy's territory but you must know that you belong to God." That was the way I thought.
At the time of my graduating from school in Japan, Japan was in the middle of the Second World War. I skipped a semester and graduated earlier, in September .
I went to Tokyo station to catch my train, but somehow my feet would not move. If I had taken the boat according to my original plan, I would not be speaking to you here now. Heaven stopped me from going. I did not send a telegram to my family in Korea explaining that I would arrive there later. I just went off to climb mountains with my friends. It was fall. We went to Mt. Fuji. We spent several days mountain climbing. When I arrived at my hometown in Korea a week later, my family was devastated.
They had known that I would arrive at a certain time on a certain day and on a certain boat. But I did not actually come when I told them I would. The boat I was going to take was wrecked and most of the passengers died. So my family was devastated.
From my home to the town of Jeongju it was about eight kilometers. My mother ran the eight kilometers with bare feet and she rode a train to Busan. She could not even think and so did not put shoes and clothes on properly. She heard that I was dead. So she ran barefooted to Jeongju and even to Busan by train. She checked the list of people who were reported to be dead at Busan Marine police station, but she could not find my name. She could not find out what had happened to me. She was so devastated by the notion that her son had died. She did not even notice that she had a big thorn in her foot. She did not know until the wound festered.
Anyhow, I returned home ten days later than my original plan. I really felt sorry when I heard what had happened, especially about my mother. When I left Japan, I thought to myself, "I will come back twenty years from now. I will meet you again then. Now I am leaving without avenging my nation's sorrow on the Japanese emperor. The time will come in which I will command and teach young people in Japan."
Twenty years later, I went back to Japan. What I wanted to know the most was how many young Japanese people were in our church. There were about five hundred young people, all from very good family backgrounds. I asked them what they would do in the future. They all said that they would do whatever I told them to do. How amazing that was! They only wanted the Unification Church and I to be successful. (34-353, 1970.09.20)
7.7 Agonizing over life's questions and the spiritual encounter with Jesus
From the time I was a boy, I started agonizing over the fundamental questions of life. Who am I? Where am I from? What is the purpose of life? Will our life somehow continue after death? Does God really exist? Is God omnipotent or not? If God is all-powerful, why is it He cannot solve the problems of the world? Why is there so much suffering in the world.
Looking back, I remember how serious I was. I was at the point of deciding what to do with the rest of my life. At that crossroad, I knew that it would not be determined by human forces, but came to the conclusion that I had to make my decision in accordance with God's Will. I vividly remember the agonizing moments before embarking upon my life of faith.
I had the most unusual experience when I was sixteen [fifteen by Western reckoning]. After long hours of tearful prayer in the morning at Easter time, Jesus Christ came to me in spirit and gave me many revelations and teachings. He shared many profound and amazing truths, particularly that God is in agony over the suffering of humanity, and He asked me to take on a very special mission for God, on earth.
It is so hard to describe my experiences as a youth. The spirit world opened and I could freely communicate with the saints of that world. In the quiet hills of North Korea, I came to meet Jesus Christ and conversed with him. The content of our conversation became the essential teachings of the Unification Principle.
When you see Jesus spiritually, does he smile at you with a happy face? Have you met Jesus? I have never met Jesus in such a way. He always appeared to me serious and sad. He has no choice. That is the only way he can feel because he knows God's situation so well. I am the same way, too.
I was much younger than you are when I set out on this course, younger than twenty, very simple and innocent. I desired to possess objects of beauty and was ever curious about new things in my village, often to the point of obsession. Yet, as soon as I embarked on the mission at that tender age, I found myself to be wanting in many ways to carry out such a great and serious mission. I painfully realized how grave was my responsibility and the need to have the requisite qualities inside and out.
I was a young man when starting out on this course. Whether or not I would actually fulfill the great responsibility of the mission Jesus entrusted to me was a serious problem. I knew, too well, how strongly people like Noah, Abraham and Moses had desired to fulfill their God given missions.
Wise people keep hope for the future in their heart while passing through suffering. Foolish ones give up the future for immediate or present happiness. Do you think I came to a moment of decision regarding that kind of thing or not? You have but one chance to be young. Which road did I choose? I chose the wise man's road.
God gave me the mission according to His own plan. Why did He do so? Well, you must ask that question to God directly. What I clearly understand is that the mission was given to me.
After having passed through so much suffering with so many unsolved problems, God came and knocked on my door, when I was but a boy. That was the time I began my course of finding God's Will.
I did not begin my course by hearing someone speaking on the street, or having been inspired by some minister's sermon, or having been witnessed to by someone. What was the starting point of my course? It was God.
When I began my course, I asked the question, "Does God exist?" Only after I was given a clear answer "that God actually existed" did I begin the course. Then I came to know that God in fact had His own hope. I asked Him, "Do you have hope, God?" I also asked, "God, do you need me?" I received the answer, "Yes." Then I asked, "How much do you need me?"
Passing through my teens and reaching my twenties, I agonized over many things in terms of my life of faith. I realized that I had to go to Japan and America someday. I wanted to experience persecution and discrimination as a member of a minority group. How much do you have to know about God? You must clearly know God's internal situation and the goal He wants to reach. Centering on those, I studied the scriptures of many religions including the Bible.
It was my experiences as a sixteen-year-old that led me to know God. Over the next nine years, following that initial encounter, I came to live continually in the presence of God and Jesus. I experienced the spirit world so many times. Gradually, God revealed to me the amazing truth. It was like passing through the darkest night and the sun was finally rising in the horizon. I could see the first streak of light of the glorious new culture. The revelation I received then is now called "The Principle." God told me that I must spread that Principle to the end of the earth.
When you pray, you must do so until your back is bent and calluses have formed on your knees. I still bear those marks on my knees from the prayers of my past. You should pray on a wooden floor in tears. In praying, I usually shed so many tears.
Knowing of countless souls perishing in despair, I prayed choked by tears. I could not even see the sunlight for the tears that poured forth unrelentingly whenever I prayed. That was how I came this far.
In the prime of my youth, I used to pray up to seventeen to eighteen hours and not less than twelve, at a stretch, bent down and wailing. I usually skipped lunch. Otherwise, I could not have survived. All doors were closed and there was no way out. Only through such intense prayer, could I see the faintest ray of hope emanating from the smallest crack in heaven. Experiencing that kind of suffering and pain, I came to acquire a firm grasp of the Principle.
There is a saying, "A tower built upon the foundation of sincerity will not topple." You must make good conditions for God, even to the point of feeling sick in your guts because of yearning for Him. If God could come to us, He would have done so directly a thousand times or more. Not having a physical body, God sent me instead to you. Based upon such circumstances and my motivation for being here, you cannot help but feel strongly attached to me. Why do you feel the way you do toward your teacher here? Even my thick winter clothes would be soaked through with my tears when I prayed. You should consider how heartbroken I must have been to be in such a state. I was so serious as to strike a bargain with God frequently with a knife in one hand.
7.8 The education Reverend Moon received from Heaven
Whenever I was undergoing suffering, I could never complain to God because I knew only too well how much suffering He had had to endure more than I. However heavy a cross and however many I might have to bear repeatedly, because I knew that there was a God who had experienced far greater agony, I was able to pass through tribulations seemingly effortlessly and overcome the harshest conditions. Thus, to you who are following in my footsteps, I should not be someone who saps your strength, but rather who enriches and energizes you. That is God's way. That is the teaching I received from God. I am your teacher. Just like God, who has always been there for me, never hesitating to make sacrifices for me, I want to be the shoulders you can lean on and the parent who will empower and inspire you. I am doing my level best to fulfill this day and night.
You should not be in the Unification Church with a habitual concept of faith such as you might have had when you went to churches in the past. That concept is useless and I do not wish to see you being that way. Those thinking of joining the Unification Church for their personal benefit need not bother to apply. We come to the Unification Church in order to be of benefit to the nation. That is my belief. I do not want you to love me. That is not what I want. You must first love God and humanity. Only then may you love me. That is the essential teaching of Unificationism. There is no other way for us. I have been trained that way myself.
Having attained a certain level, there are things I no longer do, such as sleeping curled up to the right or to the left. I used to sleep in a praying position with my head bent over crossed legs. Even now, each time I wake up, I feel sorry to God who had to continue to work while I slept. I did not live any other way to feel comfortable. How close can you get to God by living like that? Can you imagine? That's how I led my life up to the present.
Even if the entire Korean race ridiculed me, I knew that God loved me and had not forsaken me, but instead was dealing with me with a compassion far surpassing that of all Koreans taken together. I never lapsed into self-pity even while in prison. When I was derided in chains, I thought to myself, "All right, go ahead and laugh at me. I am going the way I am going because I need to learn something through this." That was what I thought, and to be sure, I learned so much from the most miserable situations.
Even if I had the money, I would not dream of building a nice house for my private enjoyment. On the other hand, I am prepared to spend all the money I have for others even to the point of going into debt. Why? I am the leader of the Unification Church who has the mission of at least making the condition of striving to fulfill the Will of God who loves the world. Without making such condition, I can leave no legacy for your edification. Being responsible for leaving such a legacy and the corresponding educational content, I cannot be sad even if I feel sad, I cannot allow myself to feel mortified even when I am treated unfairly. I have carried out my mission as a pioneer.
From now on, my life will be the tradition you must learn and keep for the rest of your life. You will find yourself constantly in need of renewing your education and refreshing your mind and spirit.
7.9 How did Reverend Moon educate his family?
I devoted the first seven years of our marriage into educating my wife, teaching her the heavenly tradition and principles, while constantly praying for her to succeed in restoring the positions of God's daughter and wife that were lost through the Fall, as well as the position of True Mother. She was to restore these three positions on behalf of womankind. Restoration is the destined course for fallen humankind.
I taught my wife that in raising our many children she should not show her tears to them, despite so many tearful and suffering moments. No matter how painful a situation your children put you through, when they come to you with tears in their eyes and ask your forgiveness, you must forget all the bad memories and meet them with happy faces. If you cannot do that, you are not qualified to educate your children.
My point in educating Mother has not been to teach about some heavenly nation that she would personally like to live in. I do not try to be a husband that she, as an individual, would be happy with. I do not ask her to be a wife whom I would be happy with as an individual. I wanted her to be the mother whom God would love and whom humankind could revere. I advised her to be humble before people whose standard of faith was higher than hers, whoever they might be and whenever they came to see us, night or day.
I spent more money than anyone else in Korea on religious activities. Do you think that it is a good idea for me to do what I do even if I have to starve? Is it okay for me to starve myself to death? If your answer is no, then you should help me out. Whatever God's son does has worldwide implications. I told Sung-jin before he went to Japan, "Make a list of do's and don'ts. You are not Japanese; you must behave yourself and maintain dignity." His first concern should be for the church, then for the nation, next for his father and finally how to relate to the opposite gender.
I fully knew of the extent of my mother's love for me. She was always sensitive to my feelings and used to study my face. There was no room for forgiveness if she did anything wrong. I really gave her a hard time. From the human point of view, what I did was exactly the opposite of filial piety. However, it was correct from God's point of view. I wanted to see my mother being the mother of heavenly values with full knowledge of heavenly principles. How could she act otherwise? I didn't let her off because I was in the public position, but could advise her on the personal level. I had to educate her although she was my mother. What does it mean to be a filial son? "Mom, please do something and save me." Would that be the attitude of a filial son? I could have lived my life with such an attitude, but then I could never have become the founder of the Unification Church.
Your wives are the fruits of the providence, the holy ones. You must be grateful to God that you could meet your wives. I am in a different situation. I must raise my wife up to her rightful position as True Mother. Considering my age, my wife is young enough to be my daughter. It was not so easy for me initially to relate to her as a wife and not as a daughter. Think about it. I would have called her "so-and-so's omma" easily, if she had been at least of a certain age. So I just called her "omma" instead.
Do not content yourself with the fact that you love your wife. What I tell my wife is that we must not be indebted to God. If we are, our children will turn against us and go to Satan's side. If we are not indebted to God, our children will surrender to us. As long as we follow the heavenly way, Satan cannot stand against us.
Unfallen archangels were to form a protective wall for Adam's family as it grew. I went through such suffering to raise archangels who would be absolutely loyal to God and willing to sacrifice their lives for my children thousands or tens of thousands of times while shedding tears of gratitude. I invested my entire life to do this. My family and your families must be united. That is your responsibility. The 36 couples inherited this tradition from me. In return, they must educate my children and form a wall of protection. That should be clearly understood.
I never had the chance to educate my own children, nor the time to talk to them heart to heart, as I did with Unification Church members on countless occasions. Yet I absolutely believe that my children will eventually find the right path on their own, even if it means taking many wrong turns in the process. Why? That is God's way: even if water seems to be trapped in the valley, it will eventually make its way into the great ocean. While my children are still immature, they can go north when I go south. However, when their time is ripe, they will begin to chart their course and head for the vast ocean following their Father's example. That is my belief. That is what I know. That is why I'm not running after them to try and sort them out. I just wait for them to turn around. I am waiting.
When Sung-jin came to see me after seven years of being separated. I did not welcome him with open arms. When even pigs and dogs show joy and affection toward their young, how could a man be so cold when meeting his son for the first time after so long a period of time? I must be harder than steel, a heartless and loveless man! I wanted Sung-jin's mother to say, "You must have suffered so much. You have been unjustly ignored and misunderstood for God's Will. It must have been so hard for you. What I have had to endure was hard but nothing compared to your suffering. Nobody persecuted or resisted me, but so many people persecuted you and tried to block your path. I am just so grateful that you made it all this way despite all difficulties." I wanted her also to tell our son, "Here is your great father whom I told you so much about. You must greet him." That is what I wanted to see in my wife. That is what I wanted to see in my son.
I shed tears for Unification Church members and for the future of the church. I gave advice and devoted my time to guide people, but I never had a single hour of heart-to-heart talk with my own children. I truly feel very sorry to them as their parent. Nevertheless, as their teacher, I believe that I have been teaching them the right example of sacrificing for the sake of a higher cause. If I had acted otherwise, I would be in the wrong. God should punish me.
Where have the blessed families been going? Those who only focus on their own family life will not last long. I did not start family life just to live for the sake of my family. Even now I have a lot to teach my wife. The main thing I am telling her is that our family should not exist for itself, but for the nation and for fulfilling our mission of restoring the cosmos. In our waking hours, we should pledge with tears to realize the goal and overcome any obstacles in our way. I believe that is the legacy that we, as parents, must leave behind in the course of indemnity before history. That is my belief and philosophy as a parent. That should be the tradition.
I educate my wife at home. No matter how angry I may get, I can forgive anything in thirty or sometimes even three minutes. I always tell my wife that she should never show her tears before our children. I am the same way, having trained myself very strictly in such things. You should not nurse a grudge for long; the longer you hold onto it, the darker are the shadows it casts over your life. Once having dealt with a contentious issue, we must put it behind us. The daily occurrences in my home profoundly affect those whose lives are intertwined with ours. My wife and I are responsible for taking steps to balance our everyday life. Neither of us should show a long face to the other. I would be acting to my detriment if I behaved in that way.
I tell my wife, "Be absolutely obedient. You stand in Eve's position. However great the pain in your heart, you should never think in that way. If you feel overwhelmed by the pain, just bite your lips. Bite them!" Yet when she does not see me, when no one sees me, I pray for her to comfort her heart with tears. My philosophy is, "You must always be one step behind me! Even if you are just a step further away from where you're supposed to be, you will be defeated. One way or the other, I must carry the world's cross and go out on the battlefield to solve its problems. Mother is the one who has to follow me like my shadow." That is what I tell my wife.
I cannot love my own children first. Even if I have to sacrifice three of them, I must walk the course God wants me to go. Without that kind of determination, I the engrafting cannot take place. Your children's central figures are my children. Are you teaching that to your children? You must teach them about God's Will so that they can be like me. Do not waver in your determination even if you have to risk your lives. (252-182, 1993.12.29)
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