K o r e a n
p e n i n s u l a
Daehan Jiri Ga, Song of Korean Geography: The peninsula of Korea in the East, positioned among three countries, North, the wide plains of Manchuria, East the deep and blue East Sea, South, a sea of many islands, West, the deep Yellow Sea, Food in the seas on three sides, Our treasure of all species of fish. Mighty Mount Baekdu stands on the North, Providing water to the Rivers of Amrok and Tuman, Flowing into seas east and west, Marking a clear border with the Soviets. Mount Kumgang shines bright in the center, a preserve for the world, pride of Korea. Mount Halla rises above the blue South Sea, a landmark for fishermen at sea. Four plains of Daedong, Hangang, Geumgang, and Jeonju give our people food and clothing. Four mines of Woonsan, Soonan, Gaecheon, and Jaeryung give us the treasures of the Earth. Four cities of Kyunsung, Pyongyang, Daegu, and Kaesung shine over the land. Four ports of Busan, Wonsan, Mokpo and Incheon welcome foreign ships. Railroads spread out from Kyungsung, Connecting the two main lines, Kyung-Eui and Kyung-Bu, Branch lines Kyung-Won and Honam run north and south, Covering the peninsula. Our cities tell us our history. Pyongyang, 2,000-year-old city of Dangun; Kaesung, capitol of Koryo; Kyungsung, 500-year-old capital of Chosun; Kyungju, 2,000 years of Shilla's culture shines, origin of Pak Hyukkosai; Chungchong has Buyo, the historic capitol of Paekche. Sons of Korea pioneering the future, the waves of civilizaton wash against our shores. Come out of the hills, and march forward in strength to the world of the future!
School is a holy place to teach: First, to know God and recognize His existence in the world around us. Second, to know the fundamental origin of human beings, our responsibilities, and how to fulfill our responsibilities for the sake of the world. Third, to realize the purpose for the existence of human beings and to then create an ideal world for that existence. These things can be understood only after they have been taught with sincerity and dedication over a long period.
'As a Peace-Loving Global Citizen'
Future of Korea, Future of the World
Global Harmony Starts on the Korean Peninsula
I miss my hometown so much that I visit it often in my dreams. My hometown is far beyond Seoul, in Jeonju, North Korea. It is an area that has both mountains and the sea. Wherever I am and whatever time it may be, my heart is always reaching out to that place where there is love and life.
All of us are born into our parents' lineage, and as we grow up we are nourished by our parents' love. We cannot forget our hometowns because that is where the ground is soaked with our parents' love. That is why the older we get, the more we miss our hometowns. It is where our roots are and where we must return. It is difficult for people to cut themselves off from things that are fundamentally important to them. In 2004, I ended my activities in the United States after thirty-four years and returned to the Korean peninsula, where heavenly fortune resides.
We are not aware of the exact time when morning becomes noon. Neither are we aware of the exact time that evening becomes night. In the same way, human beings have no way of knowing the moment when Heaven does its work. That is how it is with our lives as well. Our moments of success and failure all pass us by without our being fully aware of exactly when they began to unfold. The same is true with nations. We cannot know the moment when good or ill fortune comes to a nation. Heavenly fortune is a force that moves the world; it is a principle that makes the universe go around. Though we may not know it, there is clearly something called heavenly fortune, which the One who created this world uses to conduct His providence.
The universe moves in perfect accordance with its own order. All beings in the world bear within them a certain principle that is put there even before they exist. When a baby is born, no one has to teach it how to breathe or to open its eyes. The baby does these things without being compelled. Things that happen on their own hold within them important keys to the secrets of the universe.
Many natural phenomena seems to just happen on their own. In reality, though, they don't happen in this way. Hidden within natural phenomena in the universe is a directional force that we are not aware of and do not understand. This is the same with the forces of fortune in the universe, or heavenly fortune.
As the universe turns, it is certain that there will be a period of powerful fortune. If we understand the principle of the universe whereby spring follows winter and is then followed by summer, then we can foresee a bright future for Korea after a long winter of misfortune.
Those who are wise will align themselves with the laws and rhythms of the universe. When I was in America I would often fish in the Hudson River near my home. I have been a very skilled fisherman since I was a young boy, but there were days on the Hudson when I could not catch so much as a tiny minnow and had to return home disheartened. Fish have paths that they travel and certain times when they pass along those paths. If we don't know where these paths are and what times they are on these paths, we won't catch any fish. Just because there is water, it does not mean that there will always be fish passing by. A person who doesn't understand this could keep his line in the water all day and all night, and it won't do him any good. The same is true with heavenly fortune. If we don't have an eye to see the future, we will not see heavenly fortune even if it is staring us in the face. That is why it is important to have a keen understanding ofheavenly fortune and an ability to sense its movements.
Human civilization developed throughout history in a westerly direction. Egypt's continental civilization gave way to the peninsular civilizations of Greece and Rome and then developed to the island civilization of Britain before moving on to another continental civilization, this time in America. Civilization continued its westerly move, crossing the Pacific Ocean to Japan. The movement of civilization
didn't stop there. The force that raised Japan up to such a great position is now moving to the Korean peninsula. Civilization is about to come to its fruition on the Korean peninsula.
For Japan's island civilization to link up with the continent, it must pass through a peninsula. Asia, of course, has other peninulas, but ony Korea possesses sufficient foundation to inherit contemporary civilization. The Korean peninsula is in a most exquisite geopolitical position. It faces Japan and the United States across the Pacific Ocean. It also is connected to the continents of Asia and Europe and shares common borders with China and Russia. This is the reason that Korea has been a focal point in the power struggles among the world's great powers and has suffered a great deal as a result.
During the Cold War, we fought for our very existence in a war against communism. Even now, the concerns and interests of the world's great powers continue to involve the Korean peninsula, so Korea remains a divided country unable to be completely at peace. The time has come when the Korean peninsula, where the interests of the great powers collide, will take on an important role in preventing conflict between these countries. As a result it will be in a position to lead the rest of the world into prosperity and peace.
Heavenly fortune comes with tremendous responsibility. Now that the Korean peninsula has come into its heavenly fortune, it must play a role similar to a ball bearing, making sure that these countries not only do not collide with each other but instead cooperate closely for the sake of the prosperity and peace of the world. The functions of a ball bearing are to hold the axle of a machine in place while also allowing the axle to rotate freely. Korea needs to maintain smooth relationships with the great powers and thus become a ball bearing that allows peace to rotate freely throughout the world.
For a long time I have been making intensive preparations for Korea to play this role. I supported the glasnost policies of President Gorbachev and pushed the goal of improving relations with the Soviet Union. I also supported the reform and openness policies of Deng Xiaoping in China, starting in the late 1980s. I began my work in China by supporting Yanbian University to establish a college of engineering. Even after the Tiananmen Square incident, when foreign capital was leaving China, we remained in China and invested hundreds of millions of dollars in Huizhou, in Kwangtung Province.
I did not do this just for economic reasons. I am a religious person, not a businessman. A religious person is someone who sees into the future and prepares for it. Russia, China, Japan, and theUnited States must learn to cooperate with each other while using the spiritual bearings of the Korean peninsula. The Korean peninsula is destined to become the axis for world peace.
When I began working to improve relations between Korea and the Soviet Union and China, I discovered that Korea did not have something as basic as a Russian or Chinese dictionary. Very little was going to get done as long as we could not understand each other's languages. When I heard that there were groups of academics who had the foresight to begin work on a Chinese-Korean dictionary and a Russian-Korean dictionary, I supported these two projects.
The Chinese-Korean Dictionary Project was led by Professor Il Shik Hong of the Korea University's Institute of Korean Culture, and several professors in the university's Russian Studies Department were behind the effort to publish a Russian-Korean dictionary. These dictionaries are playing crucial roles in the exchanges between the two Koreas and China and Russia.
When a rock sits atop the highest mountain peak, once it begins to fall it will fall all the way to the deepest part of the valley. This describes the changing fortunes of Western civilization. It is common knowledge that the West achieved incredible development through the use of science, but now moral decay is sending it down to the depths of the valley floor. That valley floor is the East, which has been developing a spiritual culture for thousands of years.
In particular, the Korean peninsula is the place where Eastern and Western cultures meet, as well as the place where continental and oceanic civilizations meet. The historian and philosopher Oswald Spengler put forth a cyclical theory of the rise and decline of civilizations that took a dim view of democracy and described it as the type of government that is leading Western civilization into decline. He argued that democracy is driven by money and that democracy's corrupting power and its signs of moral decline include the rise of materialism and cults of science.
Looking at today's Western culture, it appears that some of his thoughts were prophetic. The Atlantic civilization that has prospered until now is clearly facing a new era, the era of a pan-Pacific civilization that is on the rise. Asia, with Korea poised to take a central role, is becoming the lead actor in a new world history. Two-thirds of the world's population lives in Asia. All the world's major religions began in Asia. It has long served as humanity's spiritual root.
It is inevitable that the Western and Eastern civilizations come together in harmony on the Korean peninsula. As the world rapidly changes, heavenly fortune is moving in Korea's direction at an ever-increasing speed. However, if the Korean peninsula is to properly perform its important role in leading the world to harmony and peace during an era of chaos, then it must prepare itself well. It must do away with a past marked with prejudice and selfishness and greet the new age with clear eyes and a new heart.
FUTURE OF KOREA, FUTURE OF THE WORLD
From Suffering and Tears to Peace and Love
There is deep meaning in the tragic history that the Korean people have experienced up to this point. Korea has suffered a great deal because it is destined to become the foundation from which world peace will emerge. Because it has endured suffering and difficulty for such a long time. Korea can now become the central nation from which God brings peace to the world. Even though Koreans have experienced countless hardships, we have never made anyone our enemy or hated anyone. Several of our neighbors have caused difficulty for us, but we have never made them our irreconcilable enemies.
The Korean people have developed a culture of heart that enables us to forgive our enemies. It takes mastery over oneself to love and accept an enemy. The ability to love one's enemy comes ony after an individual is victorious over his own internal conflicts.
People who are persecuted are the closest to God. To understand God's heart, one must experience His tearful heart. Even a person who normally would not shed tears will do so if he loses his family and his country. He would desperately plead with God in tears. Suffering difficulties causes one to have a heart that sheds tears and cries, but it is through this type of heart that one can receive God's blessing. God comes to a heart that is soaked with tears. Korea has become a land of heavenly fortune because so many tears have been shed within the hearts of its people.
Korean people honor their ancestors. No matter how hungry we may be, we will never sell the land where our ancestors are buried in order to buy food. Historically, we have maintained a way of thinking that respects Heaven. We are a modern, civilized nation that still honors the world of the spirit. When we accepted Buddhism and Confucianism, they gave rise to a beautiful religious culture. More recently Christian and Muslim traditions have begun to thrive here as well. All these religions live without conflict within Korea. They blend together and coexist peacefully. What is it that has made us such a unique people?
From ancient times we have always had religious minds, and our hearts have always been open to receive the Word of God. In addition, Koreans have always placed a high priority on education and excellence. As a result the Korean language and the Hangeul alphabet are considered treasures handed down by Heaven. Our language is rich with adjectives and adverbs that can be used to express the human heart.
I love the alphabet that we use. I am very fond of the term Hunminjeongeum, which means "correct sounds for the instruction of the people." This is the original
idea of Hangeul (Korean letters). It has such a beautiful meaning. The excellence
of Hangeul has survived for centuries and continues to contribute beauty to human communication, even in this digital age. To me it is truly amazing that through a simple combination of consonants and vowels humans can communicate and even imitate all the sounds of the creation. For the past thirty years, I have been telling the members of our church in other countries to prepare for the future by learning Korean.
Recently, the term hallyu, or "Korean wave," was coined in China by journalists to describe the rapid spread of Korean popular culture throughout Asia. The popularity of Korean pop music, TV dramas, and movies has generated a large increase in the number of people learning the Korean language. There are now people in Japan, Mongolia, Vietnam, and even Africa who can speak Korean.
This is certainly not a coincidence. The soul dwells within language. The reason the Japanese tried so hard to eliminate the Korean language during their forced occupation was to destroy the soul of the Korean people. The fact that people around the world now speak Korean means that the heart and soul of the Korean people are thriving in today's world. It is because of heavenly fortune that Korea's cultural influence continues to grow.
The Korean people never want to burden others. When I was in America, I saw the stubborn character of Korean people. The United States is a country that has many types of social safety nets, but Koreans almost never want to take advantage of these. Rather than relying on the support of the government, they find ways to earn money in order to raise their children and take care of their older parents. This is how Koreans show self-reliance. I also see this in the missionaries that we have sent across the world. They don't fear going to a country they know little about. This is true not only for missionaries but also for businessmen. Once they are given a mission, no matter where that mission may take them in the world, they drop everything and go. They are not indecisive or reluctant.
Koreans have such an enterprising spirit that they can go anywhere in the world and live a productive life. Our suffering history has taught us that no obstacle is too great. We have learned to face the worst kinds of situations and overcome them.
When there is a neighborhood celebration, people compete for the best spot to view the celebration. This is a very self-centered kind of behavior. The person who quietly sits down in the worst seat will be the leader of the coming age. Anyone who worries first about putting food in his own mouth will be a failure in the coming age. Even if we are going to eat only one spoonful, we must think of others first. If we are to receive the heavenly fortune that is coming to the Korean peninsula, then we must be aware in the deepest part of our hearts that "others" are more valuable than "myself."
In the past, everything we loved was taken away from us. During Japan's forced
occupation, our country was taken away. Our country was split in two, and we were forcibly separated from our loving parents and siblings. So Korea became a land of tears. Now, however, we must cry for the world. From now on, rather than shedding tears for ourselves, we must shed tears more sincerely and more desperately for the sake of the world. This is what we must do on the Korean peninsula if we want to continue to receive heavenly fortune When we do this, the heavenly fortune on the Korean peninsula will then spread out to the world. Korean people have a great opportunity to be at the center of an era of world peace.
FUTURE OF KOREA, FUTURE OF THE WORLD
The Goal of Twenty-first Century Religion
The twentieth century was a time of tremendous change. More happened in that hundred-year period than during the past two thousand years. It was the century when there were two world wars and when communism rose to great strength and then disappeared. It was also the century when humanity turned its back on God and buried itself in material things. What about the twenty-first century, then? Some say that advances in science have proven that many religious beliefs are mere superstition and irrelevant to the modern world. I contend, however, that the role of religion will always be relevant as long as the spiritual aspect of human beings remains a reality and a world of peace has not been established.
What is the purpose of religion? It is to bring about God's ideal world. The reason religions evangelize is because they desire to increase the number of citizens under God's sovereignty. If everyone were to live under God's sovereignty, we would have a world of peace where there would be no war or division. The ultimate destination of the path followed by religions should be peace.
God created this world out of a desire for love and peace. If we create division by insisting that our own religion is the only path to salvation, we go against God's desire. God wants everyone in the world to work hard for peace, reconciliation, and coexistence. If people say that coming to church creates division in their family, then I do not hesitate to tell them that they should put their family first. Religion is not a means to bring about God's perfect world; it is not an end in itself.
Humankind's destiny is to bring together all the points of view that are now divided against each other. The philosophy that will lead humanity in the future must be able to bring together all religions and philosophies. The days have ended when one country stands at the forefront and leads humanity. The era of nationalism has also ended.
If we continue the era of people congregating together only by religion or race, then humanity cannot avoid a repetition of war. The age of peace absolutely cannot come unless we transcend cultural customs and traditions. No ideology, philosophy, or religion that has influenced humanity in the past is capable of bringing about the peace and unification that is needed for the future. We need a new ideology and philosophy that goes beyond Buddhism, Christianity, and Islam. For my entire life, I have called on people until my voice is hoarse to transcend their religious factions and even their religions.
There are close to two hundred countries in the world, and each has its own national borders. A border separates one country from another, but countries separated by borders cannot endure eternally. Only religion can overcome national borders. However, religions that should be bringing people together have instead divided themselves into many factions that are busy fighting each other. They have fallen into a selfish thought process that puts their religion or faction first. They are oblivious to the fact that the world has changed and a new era of selflessness has dawned.
It will not be easy to tear down the religious walls that have stood for thousands of years, but these walls must come down if we are to advance into a world of peace. Religions and their factions must stop their meaningless fighting, find a middle ground for their differing opinions, and develop concrete ways to advance the world of peace. For humanity to be happy in the future, material affluence alone will not be sufficient. It is urgent that the struggles of modern ideologies, cultures, and races be overcome through interreligious understanding and spiritual harmony.
All my life I have made the following appeals to the wide variety of religious people I have met around the world: First, respect the traditions of other religions and do everything you can to prevent conflict and discord among religions. Second, all religious communities should cooperate with each other to serve the world. Third, the leaders of all religions should work together to develop a structure that will let us accomplish our mutual mission of establishing world peace.
The right eye is there for the left eye, and the left for the sake of the right. The two eyes together exist for the sake of the whole body. The same can be said for every other part of the body. Nothing exists for its own sake. Religion, too, does not exist for its own sake but for the sake of love and peace. Once world peace is accomplished, there will be no further need for religion. The ultimate purpose of religion is to bring about the reality of a human community filled with love and peace. This is God's will.
It is not easy to create an environment where people's hearts are filled with a craving for peace. Continuous education is the only solution.
This is the reason why I devote myself to projects in the field of education. We founded the Sunhwa Arts School even before our church had developedenough to stand on its own.
A school is a holy place where truth is taught. What are the most important truths that should be taught in school? The first is to know God and recognize His existence in the world around us. The second is to know the fundamental origin of human beings, our responsibilities, and how to fulfill our responsibilities for the sake of the world. The third is to realize the purpose for the existence of human beings and to then create an ideal world for that existence. These things can be understood only after they have been taught with sincerity and dedication over a long period.
Education today is focused on creating a winner-take-all society where those who finish first are rewarded with a monopoly on happiness. This is not the right way to educate children. Education must be a means for creating a world where all humanity can live well together.
The philosophies and methods of education that have dominated us until now must be changed to ones that let us advance toward humanity's common goals. If the United States were to educate only for the sake of the United States, and Britain only for the sake of Britain, then humanity's future would be dark. Educators must not teach how to live selfishly but instead impart the wisdom needed to resolve the myriad social problems we face today.
The role of religious scholars is even more important. Religious scholars do not need to be teaching complex theories and the superiority of their own religions. Instead, they need to give their students the wisdom to love humanity and build a world of peace. They need to teach the principle of selflessness. We cannot expect a future of happiness for humanity if scholars do not take the lead in teaching our descendants the principles of peace. Humanity is one brotherhood and sisterhood, and the world is one family.
The most important wisdom needed by humankind comes from knowing God's heart and His ideal. For this reason, the role of religion continues to be important, especially in the twenty-first century, when science and technology seem to be replacing the role of religion in understanding how the universe operates.
Religions around the world must understand the destination of the human journey and immediately cease all major and minor struggles. They should not be fighting for the purpose of protecting their own honor. Religions must pool their wisdom and combine their energies and work diligently to build the ideal world. They must forget the past struggles filled with hatred and work out peaceful solutions.
No matter how much we have done for wolrd peace, there is alway more to be done. Religious people, whose mission is to lead humanity into the ideal world, must not forget for a moment that truly their only mission is to be apostles of peace.
FUTURE OF KOREA, FUTURE OF THE WORLD
Cultural Projects Express God's Creativity
In 1988, Seoul hosted the Summer Olympics, I saw this as a potential festival of peace in my own backyard and had many of our members from around the world come to Seoul for the event. The members helped guide the international athletes and officials, cheered the athletes, served them food, and presented them with mementos of their visit to Korea.
Since China and the Soviet Union were both participants in the Games, I saw it as an event that could critically alter the Cold War era. Seeing the Olympic Games as a festival of peace gave it the potential to create harmony between the communist bloc and the free world. On the day of the opening ceremony I sat in the general seating area of Jamsil Main Stadium and watched with great joy.
After the Olympics, I carried on the energy of the Games by founding the Ilhwa Chunma professional soccer team in Korea. The Ilhwa team has won several championships and built up a strong fan base. We have since founded the soccer teams Clube Atletico Sorocaba and Centro Esportivo Nova Esperanca (CENE) in Brazil, the home of samba football, and continue to operate them today.
The reason I chose to create soccer teams is that I enjoy the sport. I have enjoyed sports since I was young, and for a time I did some boxing and some traditional martial arts. Soccer, however, is the one sport that I continue to enjoy into my old age. In my school days I used to run around the schoolyard diligently kicking the ball, but now I enjoy watching it. When the World Cup was held in Seoul, I had three television sets set up side by side so that I could watch all the games. I never missed a game that Korea played.
Soccer is a microcosm of life. No matter how well I might dribble the ball down the field, if someone from the opposing team who is faster and more skilled comes along and steals the ball away from me, then in an instant everything I did until then is for nothing. Also, even if I might dribble all the way down the field and take a shot at the goal, if the ball hits the goalpost and bounces back, that's the end. It's up to me to dribble the ball, but it takes more than one person to get the ball into the goal. I need a teammate like Ji Sung Park, who will assist me at the critical moment, or someone like Young Pyo Lee, who will adroitly draw the other team away from me.
The most important person on the team is the coach, who watches over the entire team from the sidelines. The coach doesn't run or score goals, but his power is greater than that of all the players put together. Similar to a coach who sees things that the players cannot see and gives signals. God sees things that we cannot see and gives us signs. If the players follow the coach's signs well, they will almost always win. But if the coach sends signs and foolish players either don't understand them or ignore them and play according to their own thinking, the team can only lose.
Soccer is a sport where competitiion takes place and someone wins or loses, but it also has the potential for significantly influencing countries and increasing their cooperation toward peace. I was told that twice as many people watched the World Cup as watched the Olympics. This provides an idea of how many people around the world love soccer. Therefore, just like the Olympics, it has the power to become a force for harmony between countries, races, religions, and cultures. I see soccer and peace among countries as potentially powerful partners.
Pele, who was appointed as Brazil's Extraordinary Minister for Sport in 1995, once visited Korea and spent time in the Hannam-Dong neighborhood of Seoul. People remember him as the greatest soccer player in the world, but the Pele I met was a peace activist. He wanted to bring world peace through soccer.
When I met him, he laughed as he told me the story of a game in Africa. He said, "I once played in Nigeria, but the country was at war then. How do you think we were able to play in a place where bombs were exploding all around? Thankfully, there was a short ceasefire called so that the game could be played. That's when I realized deeply that football was more than just a sport. Football is a means shared by all people in the world for creating world peace. After that, I decided that I had to carry out a movement for world peace through football."
I was so impressed with Pele in that moment that I firmly grasped his hand.
We live in a competitive society where there is a great deal of stress. Stress creates tension in our lives and takes away our peace of mind. When stress accumulates, people can become irritated and sometimes fight each other. Sports and the arts are examples of things that help us to lower our levels of stress. These things help us to vent our pent-up urges and bring humanity together. The reason for my devotion to soccer teams, symphony orchestras, and ballet companies is that these activities are means to bring world peace.
Pele understands this kind of thinking. Finding ourselves in agreement, Pele and I created a new competition of international dimensions called the Peace Cup, and tournaments have been held every two years since 2003. We brought famous soccer teams from around the world to Korea. A corresponding women's tournament called the Peace Queen Cup is held in alternate years.
In the summer of 2009 we held the first men's tournament outside Korea. The 2009 competition was held in Spain's Andalusia region. All profits from the tournaments are used to support soccer events for children and youth in devoloping countries. In particular, we use soccer to help children with physical disabilities keep their dreams alive.
Working with the Office of the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees, the U.N. refugee agency, we held a soccer tournament for young people in Liberia. This is a country where fifteen years of tribal warfare have left its people exhausted. it receives special protection from the United Nations because of its precipitous drop in population. The children of this war-torn country gathered together to play soccer and sing songs of peace. In the process of kicking the ball around, they were learning skills of teamwork and fair play that are necessary for bringing harmony between tribes.
The Peace Cup organization also has a goal of building a peace stadium in the Israel-Palestine-Jordan region, as close a possible to the Israel-Palestine border. The stadium would be freely available to all as a peace-building venture. We want to bring famous coaches from Europe and start a soccer academy for the chidren in
the region. The adults may want to point guns at each other, but the children will want to come to the soccer stadium and kick the ball around . People say it is unrealistic and shake their heads, but we will do this.
Already a member of the Israeli cabinet has said the stadium should be built in the
Israeli area, and a member of the Palestian cabinet says it should be in the Palestinian area. I am determined, however, to build it in a way that connects the two sides. I am not one to be pressured into giving up my dreams. I have a bullheaded strength of will that I use to pursue dreams that will lead to a world of peace.
The creation of our ballet company is another example of the same strength of will. People said it couldn't be done. We established the Universal Ballet in 1984. Today more people in Korea are enjoying ballet than ever before. When we first created our ballet company, Korea was like a barren wasteland as far as ballet was concerned. Korea now even has its own world-reknowned ballerinas.
Every time I watch ballet, I feel that this must be what art in the Heavenly Kingdom is like. When a ballerina stands on her toes and holds her head toward the heavens, this stance strikes me as a perfect pose for the way we should hold God in awe. It has the look of ardent desire. In ballet, human beings can use the beautiful body given to them by God to express their love for Him, It is the highest form of art.
The Univeral Ballet began by performing Swan Lake and the Nutcracker Suite. It has added Don Quixote, Giselle, and its own original creations Shim Chung and The Love of Choonhyang. It has developed to the point of being internationally acclaimed. The Univeral Ballet receives invitations from the world's most famous venues. Its Dancers are credited with adding a uniquely Korean beauty to the energetic moves of Western ballet. They are praised for the way they harmonize Eastern and Western styles in their performances. The Universal Ballet has an academy in Washington, D.C. I also created the New York City Symphony Orchestra and the New Hope Singers.
The arts allow humankind to reflect the high ideals embodied in God's own creative work. God poured His entire heart into human beings and the world He created, just as artists invest their entire being into their works. The Book of Genesis makes it seem as though things came into being simply by God speaking a word, but that is absolutely not how it was. God invested all His energy into creating the water and the land.
In the same way, the movements of the ballerinas onstage are fruits of a creative
process that requires total investment. The same thing can be said about soccer. A successful soccer team will invest its full energies into a ninety-minute game. In making a single run for the goal, a player will invest every bit of energy that he can call up, as if his life depended on it. This is similar to what God went through as He created the world.
To pour out everything we have, to offer ourselves up completely for the sake of one moment in time--this is how greatness is achieved and how humankind comes to resemble God.
FUTURE OF KOREA, FUTURE OF THE WORLD
Master of the Seas and the Future of the World
History has shown that the country that controls the seas will become a world leader. Consider Britain. It was once invaded by Vikings from Norway and Sweden. In the sixteenth century, soon after she was crowned, Queen Elizabeth I realized that if Britain didn't have control of the sea it could lose everything. She strengthened her country's maritime policy, and through her dedicated effort Britain became a powerful maritime country. She mobilized capital and technology to have strong ships built, manned the ships with brave sailors, and sent them out to sea. They did not know what was waiting for them beyond the seas, but they risked their lives to go. As a result, Britain, a small island nation in the Atlantic, came to possess colonies on all the continents and oceans and built an empire.
Western civilization centering on Britain saw tremendous development in science and technology. With the aid of the compass, British ships journeyed to many different places in the world. The country's highly developed material knowledge and technology gave it abilities with which it sought to conquer the entire world. Korea, and most of the rest of the East, has taken a different approach. The Eastern world does not discard the spirit in the pursuit of the material. If there is a conflict between the material and the spiritual, the East would rather discard the material. So generally speaking, life in the East has been more difficult than in the West because it is less materially developed. In the West, however, spirit will not be dominated by the material forever. As a totally materialistic culture brings degradation, the opportunity presents itself to learn from the more spiritually oriented East.
Civilization developed from Egypt to Greece and Rome to Britain and the United States and is now moving toward the Pacific region surrounding the Korean peninsula. The era of a Pacific civilization is opening, bringing together Western science and Eastern spirituality. The leaders in this new era will be nations like Korea and its Asian neighbors. It is not by mere coincidence that Korea and Japan have been able to rise to international prominence in a short time. This development was a historical inevitability pointing to the Asian era.
The United States and Russia, however, will not stand by and watch as our country rises to a leadership role in the world. It is possible that there could be a major conflict involving the United States, Japan, Russia, and China in the vicinity of Korea. We must prepare for this contingency in two ways.
First, we must create a strong bond between Japan and the United States and link this to Russia and China so as to protect Korea. How can we do this? With a philosophy and a heart that create oneness. The only philosophy that can prevent wars between religions and open a path to a peaceful world is one that proclaims that humanity is one, transcendent of race, nationality and religion. To protect itself from the dangers of war, Korea must plant a philosopy of oneness in the world.
Second, we must prepare ourselves for the new oceanic era. The Pacific era is at hand. Anyone who cannot rule the ocean cannot become a leader in the Pacific age. If heavenly fortune comes and we are not prepared, we cannot take advantage of the opportunity. If we know that an oceanic era is about to begin and Korea wants to be the leader of that era, then Korea must make the necessary preparations.
There are more resources than fish in the ocean. A greater treasure is its ability to provide energy. As crude oil reserves decrease, a sense of crisis over sources of energy is growing day by day. If the world runs out of oil, humanity will immediately find itself in the dark. There is an effort to develop alternative energy from corn, but this does not seem realistic when there is not enough food being distributed to feed the world's population as it is.
The true alternative energy source is the ocean. Energy from the hydrogen in the sea represents the future of humanity. Two-thirds of the earth's surface is water. This means that two-thirds of the raw materials that humanity needs for the future are contained in the ocean. A new future for humanity cannot be accomplished without the ocean's resources. Developed countries are already extracting oil and natural gas from the ocean and selling it at high prices. The world has only begun to discover the resources in the ocean. The day is at hand when humanity will find itself dependent on the ocean.
The oceanic era will not begin without human effort. We must first go out into the oceans. We must go out on boats and fight the waves. Without such courage we cannot prepare ourselves for the oceanic age. The country that conquers the oceans will become a dominant power in the world and find the world eager to study its culture and language. Korea must become the champion steward of the Pacific Ocean. It must understand the will of the Creator and manage His resources well.
FUTURE OF KOREA, FUTURE OF THE WORLD
Great Opportunity in the Oceanic Era
The oceans can become a central point for bringing the world together. To take ownership over the ocean we must be trained to live on it with the same ease as we live on land. When I train people to fish, I send ten small boats out with one large boat. When the boats leave port, the small boats are towed by the large boat. Once they are out on the open sea, however, the small boats are responsible for themselves. They must know the direction of the wind, what is on the ocean floor, and what route the fish are taking. They must learn all this on their own.
I like to use the phrase "Alaska spirit." By this I mean the habit of getting up at five o'clockin the morning, going out to sea, and not returning until well after midnight, when in the summer it is still light. The person with "Alaska spirit" stays out on the ocean until he catches the daily allowance. One cannot become a true fisherman unless he learns how to endure this way.
Cathing fish is not a pleasure cruise. No matter how many fish may be in the ocean, they are not going to just jump into the boat. It takes specialized knowledge and much experience. A person must know how to mend a net and how to tie an anchor rope. Once a person receives intense training to become a fisherman, he can go anywhere in the world and become a leader of people. Learning to be a fisherman is good leadership training.
Dominance at sea will require ships, including submarines, that can go anywhere in the world. Korea is already the largest shipbuilding country in the world. It has the ability to become a great sea power. What Korea needs now is more people willing to go out to sea.
Koreans are the descendants of Chang Bo Go, that wealthy man of the ninth century who ran an international maritime trading business and was called "Ocean King." We have a long tradition of going out to sea on ships, fighting the waves, and winning battles.
People naturally fear the waves. When waves catch the wind, they become swells. Waves and swells are needed for oxygen to be mixed into the ocean. If the ocean is calm for an extended period, without wind or waves, it begins to die. When we realize the value of waves, they are no longer something to be feared. Even if a strong wind blows and the waves become fearsome, we understand that this is the way to help the fish live. Then the waves become part of the attraction of the sea.
A hundred feet below the surface of the ocean there are no waves. If we were to take a submarine to the bottom of the ocean it would be so cool that there would be no need for air conditioners. The fish choose the depth that has the temperature that is right for them and then perform wonderful dances as they swim in schools in their favorite waters. Similar to our Little Angels dance troupe with their fans, the fish have their colorful outfits and gently wave their fins. it is a beautiful and peaceful environment that they live in. The world, too, will soon be as peaceful as this.
The fact that an oceanic era is coming means that Korea will soon have the opportunity to change the world. People who live in peninsula countries have had to contend with invasions from both land and sea throughout history. To survive they had to be brave and develop a steely national character. It is not by coincidence that civilization developed in peninsula countries such as Greece and Italy. Civilization could blossom in these countries because they had the enterprising and tough, adventurous spirit needed to spread their influence across both continents and seas.
Have you heard about the Black Stream, a boundary current in the Western part of the North Pacific Ocean? It travels four thousand miles a year, based on the gravitational pull of the moon. It is an oceanic gyre that revolves all the way around the Pacific Ocean. To describe it simply as 'tremendous' is not sufficient.
All the oceans of the world move by the same power that moves the Black Stream and other ocean currents. If these currents did not exist, the waters would not move, and would die. Just as even the largest and mightiest rivers eventually must flow into the sea, even the largest oceans must move in accordance with currents like the Black Stream.
The Korean people must become like the Black Stream and cause the flow of their peace-loving culture to influence the whole world. We must become a source of strength in the world, the place where all of life's forces come together in a peaceful concentration.
I have visited Korea's southern coast many times in an effort to find the place that could become the center of a Pacific civilization, and I believe that Yeosu and Sooncheon are suited to the task. The sea of the coast of Yeosu is as tranquil and clear as a mirror. It is where Admiral Yi Soon Shin dealt the Japanese a heavy defeat in the late 1600s, and it is also where he died in battle. Yeosu has a great history of sea battles, and it is alo the point where the Youngnam and Honam regions meet. It is at the end of the foothills of Mount Jiri, where leftists and rightists fought each other following the Korean War. In this sense, it is a land imbued with the pain of our people.
Sooncheon Bay, famous for its reed beds, has a beautiful and world-famous coastline. Out on the sea, with its clear waters that shimmer in the sunlight, we can catch many different types of fish. Abalone and brown seaweed grow in the tranquil waters of the bay. The large tidal flats are filled with cockles and other types of shellfish and small octopus. I have been out on the seas in that area and also climbed the mountains, and it is clear that this is a beautiful land that has everything necessary for the coming Pacific age.
I am now developing Korea's southern coast, with the focus on Yeosu. As a part of the preparations for this, I have been to Geomun Island and other islands in the area and lived there for several months. I consider people who live there, farming and fishing for the past several decades, to be my teachers.
I ate and slept in humble inns as I studied everything in detail. I didn't just study books. I went everywhere, using my eyes and feet to check everything. As a result, I now know what kinds of fish can be found in what area of the ocean, what kind of net needs to be used to catch them, what kinds of trees grow in the
mountains, and which home on the island has an old man living alone after having suffered a stroke.
The day I finished my studies of the southern coast I took the village mayor, who had been helping me, on an airplane to Alaska. He had taught me everything he knew, so I wanted to return the favor by teaching him what I knew about Alaska. I went fishing with him in Alaska and told him about the different kinds of fish and how they can be caught. Even if I know only a little about something, I don't feel comfortable unless I share it with others.
Very soon after I began developing Yeosu, it was chosen as the venue for an international maritime exposition to be held in 2012. Together with the Olympic Games and the World Cup, international expositions are among the three largest festivals on a global scale. During the six months that Expo 2012 will be held in Yeosu, the one hundred fifty-four member countries of the International Exhibitions Bureau will operate various exhibits. This will focus the world's attention on Yeosu, and the technology and culture of developed countries will flow into Yeosu.
Have you ever looked up at a summer sky and seen clouds blowing by at an amazing speed? Once clouds catch the wind, they move quickly over mountains and oceans. Now is not the time to be hesitating. In a way similar to those clouds, heavenly fortune will be blowing the world toward Yeosu and the Korean peninsula.
I plan to connect all the islands along the southern coast with bridges and build
condominiums where boat-loving people from around the world can come and stay. These will not be resorts just for play. Americans, Germans, Japanese, Brazilians, and Africans will all come. They may go out on different boats to catch fish, but I will encourage them to stay under the same roof to show that humanity is one family.
The coming era will also be an era of aeronautics and even space travel. The time is coming when possessing a well-developed aeronautic technology will be an absolute necessity. It will be too late for Korea to prepare its space industry if it doen't start now. For this reason, I am preparing an aeronautic industrial park in Gimpo, in Kyeonggi Province. I plan to produce world-famous helicopters as fine as Sikorsky. Soon the day will come when helicopters bearing the Taeguk symbol of Korea will fly through the skies all over the world. (The Taeguk is the red and blue symbol on the Korean flag.)
FUTURE OF KOREA, FUTURE OF THE WORLD
A Single Dandelion Is More Precious Than Gold
Three of the greatest challenges of modern society are solving pollution problems, creating a consciousness for protecting the environment, and increasing food production. The earth has already been extensively damaged. Our endless greed for material possessions has brought about serious air and water pollution that is destroying nature, including the ozone layer that protects us. If present trends continue, humanity will find itself unable to escape the consequences and traps of the reckless pursuit of material goods.
For the past twenty years I have been working to sustain and preserve Brazil's Pantanal region. The Pantanal--a region that lies in Brazil, Bolivia and Paraguay --is the world's largest wetlands area. It is listed with UNESCO as a World Heritage Site. I am carrying on a world wide environmental movement to preserve the living creatures of the Pantanal in a pristine state of natural purity, as God intended at the time of creation.
The Pantanal, where the water, land, animals and plants exist in harmony, is truly
a magnificant place. Simple words such as beautiful and fantastic cannot begin to describe its value. Photos of the area taken from the sky are so beautiful that a collection of these photos is one of the best-selling nature photo collections in the world. The Pantanal is one of humanity's treasure troves, where rare species such as the white-throated capuchin, red howler monkey, macaw, jaguar, anaconda, the ostrich-like rhea, and the caiman live.
The flora and fauna of the Pantanal and the Amazon basin seem to exist as they might have on the first morning of Creation. The Pantanal is like a modern-day Eden. Human beings have destroyed a great many beings that God created. Too many species of plants and animals have become extinct because of human greed. In the Pantanal, though, the original forms that God created still remain. I am planning to establish an aviary and an insect preserve in the Pantanal to save some of these unique species from extinction.
In addition to being a habitat for many plants and animals, the Pantanal is also an important source of oxygen for the earth, and it is also a storehouse to absorb greenhouse gases. The Pantanal is changing rapidly, however, due to industrial development. If the Pantanal, which along with the Amazon provides such a large amount of oxygen for the earth, is destroyed, the future of humanity will be dismal.
Hundreds of species of fish live in the Pantanal. One is a gold-colored fish called the dorado, which often reaches a weight of more than twenty-six kilos (forty pounds). When a dorado first took my hook, it felt like my body was being sucked into the river. As I was reeling in the line with all my strength, it jumped out of the water several times. After several jumps it still had plenty of strength left to fight. It was so strong it seemed more like a bear or a tiger than a fish.
The lakes in the Pantanal are almost always clean. No matter what is put into the water, it quickly becomes clean again. The water is cleansed quickly because the wetland environment filters sediments and pollutants, and this is why there are so many different species of fish living there. Each species feeds on something different. Living together in a complex system, they also devour organic wastes that dirty the water. Even their act of feeding has the function of keeping the water pure. In this respect, fish are very different from human beings because they never live for their own sakes, but as part of a larger balanced system. They help clean their environment and make it better.
The back of a water hyacinth's leaf in the Pantanal wetlands is black with bugs. If all the bugs were to remain there, the hyacinth would not be able to live, but there are fish that eat those bugs off the leaves. So the bugs live, the hyacinth lives, and the fish live. This is what nature is like. No creature lives for itself. Instead, they live for each other. Nature teaches us this tremendous lesson.
No matter how many fish there are in the Pantanal, if people are given the freedom to fish there, the population is bound to decrease. To protect the fish, we need to develop fish farms. Because the fish in the Pantanal are so precious, we need to develop many fish farms. Similar facilities to protect, insects, birds and mammals are also needed. Raising insects will help increase the bird population. the Pantanal provides a perfect environment for all these creatures, by focusing on how to increase their population, humankind can continue to enjoy them for centuries to come.
It is not just fish that are plentiful in the Pantanal. The riverbanks have pinnapples, banana trees, and mango trees. Rice grows so well there that it is possible to have three harvests a year, even without irrigated fields. That's how rich the soil is. Crops such as beans and corn can be grown just by spreading the
seeds over the ground. Very little human labor is needed.
Once while traveling down the Paraguay River on a boat, we stopped at a house sitting near the bank. The farmer who lived there realized that we were hungry, so he went into his field and dug up a sweet potato. It was the size of a watermelon! He told us that as long as he leaves the root in the ground it will continue to produce potatoes for several years. The thought that potatoes can be harvested without annual planting left me with a strong desire to take them to countries where food is lacking.
People who advocate developing wetlands stress the economic benefits of such development. The Pantanal, however, provides plenty of economic benefit just as a wetland. The area has vast tracts of virgin hardwood forest, and natives claim that a person could drive a spike into one of these trees and it would still live more than a hundred years. These massive trees produce woods such as brown ebony which do not rot and are said to last longer then iron.
Imagine what it looks like to have forests filled with such precious trees. I had some seedlings of these trees planted on four hundred hectares (nine hundred eighty-eight acres) of land in the Pantanal. The trees our members planted have made the Pantanal even more beautiful.
Human selfishness is destroying nature. Competition for the shortest route to economic success is the main reason that the earth's environment has been damaged. We cannot allow the earth to be damaged any further. Religious people must lead the way in an effort to save nature. Nature is God's creation and His gift to humankind. We must work quickly to awaken people to the preciousness of nature and the urgent need to restore it to the rich and free state it enjoyed at the time of Creation.
Because it has become widely known that the Pantanal is a treaure trove, a struggle over its future has begun. The place that we should be protecting is about to become a battleground for greedy human beings.
For the past ten years, I have been taking leaders from countries around the world to the Pantanal and sponsoring discussions on how to protect this region and the rest of the world's environment. I am gathering the world's environmental experts and scholars and encouraging them to take an interest in preserving the Pantanal. I am working to stop the Pantanal from being destroyed by the mercilous material desires of human beings.
As the environmental issues grow more serious, many environmental groups have sprung up. The best environmental movement, however, is the one that spreads love. People generally take care of things that belong to them or to people they love. They do not, however, take care of or love the natural environment that God created. God gave this environment to humanity. It is His will that we use the environment to obtain food, to have it in abundance, and to experience the joy of living in the beauty of nature. Nature is not something to be used once and thrown away. Our descendants for many generations to come must be able to rely on it just as we have.
The shortcut to protecting nature is to develop a heart that loves nature. We must be able to shed a tear at the sight of even a blade of grass that we see as we walk along the road. We must be able to grab hold of a tree and weep. We must understand that God's Spirit is hidden inside a single boulder or a single gust of wind. To care for and love the environment is to love God. We must be able to see each creature created by God as an object of our love. With our spiritual eyes open we could see that a single dandelion by the roadside is more valuable than the gold crowns of kings.
FUTURE OF KOREA, FUTURE OF THE WORLD
Solution to Poverty and Hunger
If you are never hungry, you cannot know God. The times when you are hungry are opportunities to be nearest to God. When you are hungry and are able to look humbly at each approaching person as if he were a close family member and want to help him, then you are more likely to be fed. In such situations, it is important to maintain a sympathetic heart of goodness.
Hunger is not an issue relegated to less-developed areas of the world. Even in the United States, which enjoys one of the highest standards of living in the world, there are millions of people who are undernourished and hungry. When I went to the United States, one of my first projects was to purchase trucks to be used for the distribution of food to the poor.
The situation in impoverished countries is far worse. When I look at the world situation, I feel that securing sufficient food supplies is the most pressing problem. Solving the food crisis cannot be put off for even a moment. Even now, some twenty thousand people around the world die of hunger-related causes every day. We cannot afford to be apathetic just because we and our immediate families are not facing hunger.
Simply distributing food supplies by itself will not resolve hunger, though. A more fundamental approach to the problem is needed. I am considering two fundamental and concrete methods. The first is to provide ample supplies of food at low cost, and the second is to share technology that people can use to overcome hunger on their own.
The issue of food will present humankind with a very serious crisis in the future. We cannot build a world of peace without first resolving the food issue. Sufficient food supplies for all the world's population cannot be produced on the limited amount of land area that is currently available. We must look to the oceans for a solution. The oceans hold the key to solving the food crisis of the future. This is the reason I have been pioneering the oceans for the past several decades.
In Alaska, pollock smaller than fifteen inches long are used for fertilizer. They would make wonderful food, but people don't know how to prepare them so they use them just for fertilizer. As recently as twenty or thirty years ago, we could ask Westerners to give us thetail of an ox and they would let us have it for free. Koreans are very fond of food prepared with the bones or theintestines of cows, but some Westerners do not know that these are edible.
The same is true with fish. About twenty percent of the world's fish catch is routinely thrown out. Whenever I see this, I think of the people who are dying of hunger, and I feel pain. Fish is a much more reliable source of protein than beef. How wonderful it would be if we made fish cakes or fish sausages to give to people in impoverished lands!
Once this thought came to me I started projects to process and store large volumes of fish. It does not do any good to catch large amounts of fish if you cannot handle them properly after the catch. Even the best fish cannot be kept well for more than eight months. Even if they are frozen and placed in refrigeration, air gets in through cracks in the ice, and water escapes. You could poor water on the fish and freeze them again, but by then the best flavor is already gone and the fish might as well be thrown out.
We gathered fish that were being thrown out and researched how to turn it into fish powder. We sought to do something that even advanced countries like France and Germany have not done. Fish turned into powder could be transported and stored easily, even in hot and humid climates. Fish powder is ninty-eight percent protein, among the very highest protein content of all food products. For this reason, it can be used to save people from dying of hunger. Fish powder could also be used to make bread. We are still searching for ways to make it available to impoverished countries around the world.
The oceans contain limitless food supplies, but the best method for saving humanity from the fish crisis is fish farming. I foresee that there will be buildings, similar to the skyscrapers we see in our cities today, devoted to fish farming. By using water pipe systems, we can farm fish in tall buildings or even on the tops of mountains. With fish farming we can produce more than enough food to feed all the world's people.
The ocean is a blessing bequeathed to us by God. When I go out on the ocean, I am completely absorbed in fishing. I have caught all kinds of fish in different countries. One reason I fish is so I can teach people who don't know how to fish. In South America I spent several months showing local people my fishing methods. I took in tangled fishnets myself and spent three or four hours showing them how to untangle them.
To secure adequate supplies of food at low cost, humankind will need to develop the ocean. This and the greatgrasslands that are still in their prehistoric state are our final storehouses of wealth. This task, though, will not be easy. It will require us to go to places that are so hot and humid that moving around and working hard with a strong sense of dedication become very difficult. Developing the grasslands in tropical regions cannot be done without a love for humankind that is passionate and dedicated.
Jardim, in Brazil, is just such a place. It is a quite difficult place to live in. The weather is hot, and bugs that have not even been named yet are continually biting. I lived in that place and made friends with all its various creatures. I walked around barefooted, feeling the red soil of Jardim beneath my feet,looking just like a peasant farmer. When I was at the river catching fish, I looked like the local fisherman.
It is only when the local people look at you and say, "You really are a farmer," or "You really are a fisherman," that you are qualified to receive their knowledge and share your own knowledge with them. It is not something that can be done by someone who needs to sleep eight hours a night in a clean and comfortable bed, eat three square meals a day, and take naps under a shady tree.
When we were developing a project in Paraguay, a group of our members and I were living in a small hut in Olimpo, close to the Paraguay River. There was only one toilet, and each morning we had to take turns using it. I would get up each morning at three o'clock, do some exercises and then go fishing. Because of this, the members who were with me went through some very difficult times. They were not used to cutting bait early in the morning before they were completely awake.
When we took the boat out, we had to cross through a number of other properties in order to reach the mooring site. Unlocking the gates of these properties in pitch darkness was difficult. One morning when the members were fumbling with a lock, unable to open it, I yelled at them, "What are you doing?!" I shouted so loudly and fiercely that I surprised even myself, so I am sure it must have been difficult for them.
But I feel that I cannot afford to waste so much as a single second. I don't have any time to be idly standing around. I can clearly see a list of all the things I must accomplish before there can be a world of peace, so my heart is always in a hurry.
When I fished there on the river before dawn, the mosquitoes would swarm like a dark cloud. Their stingers were so sharp they would pierce right through a pair of jeans. In the predawn darkness we could not see the floats on our fishing lines, so we had to attach white plastic bags to them. I could not wait for the sun to come up. I was in too much of a hurry.
I still miss Jardim. I miss everything about it. When I close my eyes, I can still feel the heat of the Jardim air pressing against my face. The minor inconveniences to my body were nothing. Bodily suffering passes quickly. What is important is that this place can one day play a significant role in serving the world. Being in Jardim brought great happiness to my heart.
FUTURE OF KOREA, FUTUE OF THE WORLD
Going Beyond Charity to End Hunger
To solve the problem of hunger we must have a patient heart that is willing to plant seeds. Seeds are planted and wait unseen under the soil until they are able to germinate and break through their outer cover. Similarly, it is better in the long term to teach a person how to plant and harvest wheat and then turn it into bread then it is to give a piece of bread to a person who is about to die. The former may be more difficult and not result in as much public recognitiion, but it is the only way to arrive at a fundamental and sustainable solution to world hunger. We need to begin now to study the climate, the soil, and the character of the people in areas that suffer from hunger.
There is a species of tree called the moringa. The people in Congo feed the leaves of this tree, which are high in nutrition, to their children to supplement their diet. They also feed them to their cattle to fatten them up before taking them to market. They pound the leaves of this tree on a stone mill, add some oil, and fry them in batter to eat themselves.
It may be a good idea to plant many moringa trees and make powder out of the entire tree after throwing out the root, which is poisoness. The powder can be used to make bread. Many countries could follow this example and plant moringa trees. Also, Jerusalem artichokes, which look like sweet potatoes, grow very quickly once they are planted in the soil. The amount that can be harvested is three times greater than that of other famine relief crops. Planting a lot of Jerusalem artichokes is another way to contribute to resolving the hunger problem.
In Jardim, a large earthworm is used in farming, and this makes the soil quite fertile. This earthworm exists only in South America, but perhaps we can study its ecology and use it to help agriculture in other areas. Koreans are working in the Mato Graso region to study silkworms. If the cultivation of silkworms is successful there, it will be possible to make silk cheaply and sell it to buy food.
There is no quick fix to the problem of world hunger. People in each country have different tastes for food and different customs, and the plants and animals are different. The important point is concern for our neighbors. We first need to develop the heart that, when we are eating enough to fill our own stomachs, we think of others who are going hungry and consider how we can help them. True peace will not come as long as humanity does not solve the problem of hunger. If the person next to me is about to die of hunger, peace is a mere luxury.
It is as important to teach the skills needed to become self-sufficient in producing food as it is to distribute food directly to those in need. To teach such skills, we need to build shools in remote areas to combat illiteracy. Technical shools will need to be established in order to give people the ability to support themselves. The Westerners who conquered Africa and South America did not do enough to provide technology to the people who were already there. They only used the people as laborers as they sought to dig up and take away the resources that were buried in the ground . They did not teach the people how to farm or how to operate a factory. This was not right. Our church has, from the early stage of our foreign mission work, established schools in places such as the Congo for teaching agriculture and industrial technology.
Another problem faced by people suffering from hunger is that they cannot afford proper medical treatment when they become ill. On the other side of the world, developed countries are seeing an overuse of drugs, but people who are hungry often die because they cannot afford simple medicine for diarrhea. Therefore, as we work to eradicate hunger we must also provide medical support. We must establish clinics and care for those who suffer from chronic illness.
For example, centering on the New Hope Farms in Jardim, Brazil, I donated ambulances and medical equipment to over thirty surrounding small towns. I created the New Hope Farm as a model to show how humanity can live together in peace. We tilled a wide expanse of land to make farmland, and there is a cattle ranch in the higher elevations.
Although New Hope Farms is in Brazil, it does not belong only to the people of Brazil. Anyone who is hungry can go to New Hope Farms, work and be fed. Some two thousand people from all races and from all over the world can always eat and sleep there. We will establish schools all the way from elementary levels to university. People will be taught how to farm and how to raise cattle. We will also teach how to plant and raise trees, and how to catch, process and sell fish. We do not have only a farm. We use the numerous lakes in the vicinity of the river to create fish farms and fishing grounds.
Paraguay's Chaco region occupies sixty percent of that country's territory, but it has been a neglected land. The Chaco region was formed when the sea rose to cover the land, and even now you get salty water gushing up when you dig into the ground. I was in my seventy's when I first went to Paraguay. The lives of the people living in this long-neglected land were impoverished beyond words. It caused me great pain in my heart to see them. I sincerely wanted to help them, but they were not prepared to accept me, a person of different skin color who spoke a different language.
I did not give up, however. I traveled the Paraguay River for three months, eating and sleeping with people from the area. At more than seventy years of age, I was taking on a task that people said was impossible. I taught the people I met what I knew about fishing, and they taught me their language. We were on the boat like this together for three months and became friends.
Once they began to open their hearts, I talked to them again and again about why the world must become one. At first their reaction was indifferent. Year by year, though, the people of Paraguay began to change. After ten years, they changed so much that they held a global peace festival with great enthusiasm.
Resolving the food situation does not mean that peace will follow immediately. After the hunger issue has been resolved, it is important to carry out educational programs on peace and love. I have built schools in places such as Jardim and Chaco. At first people didn't send their chidren to school but instead had them help raise their cattle. We worked hard to convince them that the children and young people needed an education. As a result we now have many students. We built a light industrial factory where they could produce items using simple technologies, and the students became more interested in attending school so they could work in the factory.
We are all responsible for the people around the world who die of hunger. We need to take action to help them. We need to feel a clear sense of responsibility and find a way that they can be fed and saved. People who live well should come down to a slightly lower position and raise up those who live poorly, to bring about a world where all people live well.
'As a Peace-Loving Global Citizen'
NEW VISION FOR YOUTH
Find Your Purpose, Change Your Life
When we meet someone new, we are always curious about who he or she is. God has the same curiosity about each human being. He is especially curious about young people, and it brings Him great joy when He gets to know them intimately. Why is this? It is because our youth is the most important and most beautiful period of our lives. This period should be a time of tranquility as one prepares for the future. The process of growing to maturity is a building block that opens the way to a new era.
It is difficult to find young people today who are passionate about their lives. We find so many young people who, with no goal or purpose for their life, are just wandering around. All great leaders in history had a definite sense of purpose in life from the time they were children. From chilhood they nurtured that purpose held within their hearts and exerted great energy to achieve it. Whether they were sleeping or playing with their friends, these great leaders geared every youthful action toward preparing for the stage that they would stand on in the future. Is that how you are living your life?
We are all created to be great men and women. God did not send us into this world without purpose. When God created us He invested His complete love into each person. So we are all created for greatness. Because God exists, we can accomplish anything.
I became a completely different person when I began to love God. I loved humanity more than myself and was more concerned with the problems of others than with the problems of my family. I loved everything that God created. I deeply loved the trees on the hills and the fish in the waters. My spiritual senses developed so I could discern God's handiwork in all of creation.
As I was changing my heart to conform to God's love, I also strengthened my body so that I could fulfill my mission. I wanted to be ready to go anywhere, anytime that God called on me. I played soccer and did boxing, some traditional Korean martial arts, and wonhwado, a form of martial arts that I developed. In wonhwado the athlete move his body in a smooth circular motion, almost as in a dance. It is based on the principle that greater power comes from circular motion than moving in a straight line.
Even now I begin each day with stretching exercises for my muscles and joints and a breathing exercise that I developed. Sometimes when I am traveling around the world on speaking tours, I may not have time for these exercises in the morning. Still I will find the time, sometimes while sitting on the toilet. I never miss a day of exercise. When I was young, thirty minutes a day was plenty, but now that I am older I have increased it to an hour a day.
In 2008 I was involved in a helicopter crash. The helicopter was suddenly surrounded by black rain clouds and in an instant crashed onto a mountainside. The helicopter roller over, and I was left hanging upide down by my seat-belt. Instinctively I tightly grabbed the arm rests on both sides of my seat. If I had not been so diligent in my exercises, I think I would have broken my hip the instant that I was suspended upside down. The body is the container to hold a healthy spirit. It is important for us to be diligent about training our bodies.
Few students go to school because they like to study. They usually go because their parents tell them to, not because they look forward to studying. As students continue to study, however, they gradually learn to enjoy it. From that point they
will start to study on their own and find their own path. An interest in learning is a sign of maturity.
Parents cannot wait until their children mature enough to study on their own. They tell them, "You have to study. Please make up your mind to study," and put pressure on them. Parents do this because they know that children need to study in order to prepare for the future. They worry that if their children don't study at the proper age level, they will face the future unprepared.
There is, however, something more important than studying to prepare for the future. Before unconditionally focusing entirely on studies, young people must realize what they want to do in life. They must make a determination to use their talents to help the world rather than just serve themselves. Many young people today seem to be studying just for its own sake. Unless you have a purpose in life, your studies will lack the passion needed for happiness.
Once I came acrosss a Korean student working hard on his English schoolwork. I asked him "Why are you working so hard to learn English?"
He answered, "To get into a university."
What could be more short-sighted? Getting into a university is not a purpose. A university is a place to go to study particular subjects in the course of pursuing a larger obective. It cannot be the objective itself.
Also, do not define your life goal in terms of how much money you want to make. I have never received a salary, but I managed to eat and stay alive. Money is a
means to do something, not the goal. Before you make money, have a plan for spending it. Money gained without a prior objective will soon be wasted.
Your choice of occupation should not be based on just your talents and interests.
Whether you become a fire fighter, a farmer, or a soccer player is up to you. But what I am referring to transcends your occupation. What kind of life will you lead as a soccer player? How will you live as a farmer? What is your objective in life?
To set your objective is to give meaning to the life you will lead. If you are going to be a farmer, then you should set your objective to test new agricultural methods, develop better species of crops, and help eradicate world hunger. If you are going to be a soccer player, then set a meaningful objective such as to heighten your country's image in the world or to establish soccer camps that will nurture the dreams of economically deprived children.
To become a world-class soccer player takes incredible work. If you do not have a definite purpose in your heart, you will not be able to endure the difficult training required to reach the top. Only if you have an objective will you have the power to maintain your course and live a life that is a cut above those around you.
NEW VISION FOR YOUTH
Embrace the World
Setting a goal in life is similar to planting a tree. If you plant a jujube tree in the front yard of your home, you will have jujubes in your home. If you plant apple trees on the hill behind your home, then they will produce apples. Think carefully about your choice of goals and where you intend to plant them. Depending on the goal you choose and where you plant it, you can become a jujube tree in Seoul or an apple tree in Africa. Or you can become a palm tree in the South Pacific. The goal you plant will bear fruit in the future. Think carefully where the best place is to plant your goal so that it will bear the best fruit.
When you are setting your goal, be sure to consider the entire world. Consider Africa, which continues to suffer from poverty and disease. Consider Israel and Palestine, where people continue to aim their weapons at each other and fight over matters of religion. Consider Afghanistan, where people barely keep themselves alive by raising poppies used to make harmful drugs. Consider the United States, where extreme greed and selfishness has contributed to the global economic crisis. Consider Indonesia, Haiti, and China, which have suffered from earthquakes and tidal waves. Imagine yourself in the context of those countries, and think which country and which situation would be most appropriate for you. It may be that you are best suited to India, where a new religious conflict may erupt. Or it could be Rwanda, which languishes in drought and hunger.
In setting a goal students shouldn't be so foolish as to decide that because a country is small, like Korea, it isn't worthy of your goals. Depending on what you do, there is no limit to how large a small country can become. Its national boundaries could even disappear. Whether you do good work on the large continent of Africa or in the small country of Korea, your goal should not be restricted by size. Your goals should be about where your talents can have the most impact.
Think of the world as your stage as you decide what you want to do in life. If you do, you will likely find many more things to do than what you were originally dreaming about. You have only one life to live, so use it to do something that the
world needs. You cannot reach the hidden treasure on an island without adventure. Please think beyond your own country, and think of the world as your stage in setting your goal.
During the 1980s, I sent many Korean university students to Japan and the United States. I wanted them to leave Korea, where tear gas cannisters were being fired almost daily, and let them see a wider world with greater variety. The frog that lives at the bottom of a well does not realize that there is a bigger world outside the well.
I was thinking globally before that word even entered the Korean language. The
reason I went to Japan to study was to see a wider world. The reason I planned to work for the Manchuria Electric Company in Hailar, China, and learn the Chinese, Russian, and Mongolian languages, even before Korea was liberated, was to enable me to live as a global citizen. Even now I travel by plane to many places in the world. If I were to visit a different country every day, it would take more than six months to visit all of them.
People live in many countries and they all live in different circumstances. There
are places where there is no water to cook rice with, while other places have too
much water. Some places have no electricity, while some countries are not able to consume all the electicity that they produce. There are many examples of how something is lacking in one place but overabundant in another. The problem is there are not enough people focused on equalizing the distribution.
The same is true with raw materials. Some countries have an abundance of coal and iron ore stacked in piles. They don't even need to dig into the earth. All they need to do is shovel the coal and iron from piles that are easily accessed. Korea, however, has a critical shortage of coal and iron ore reserves. To dig out anthracite coal we need to risk our lives to go thousands of feet underground.
Africa has many places where bananas grow naturally in abundance, and they could keep people from starving. But there is a lack of technology and lack of access to productive land, so not enough banana plantations are created. Korea's climate is not suited for growing bananas, and yet we grow bananas. This technology in Korea could be very helpful in solving the problem of poverty in Africa. It is similar to the way the South Korean technology for planting corn has helped relieve starvation in North Korea.
The phrase "global leader" is now in vogue in Korea. People say they want to become fluent in English and become global leaders. Becoming a global leader, however, is not just a matter of a person's fluency in English. The ability to communicate in English is nothing more than a tool. A true global leader is someone who is able to embrace the world in his own bosom. A person who has no interest in the problems of the world cannot become a global leader, no matter how well he might communicate in English.
To be a global leader a person must think of the world's problems as his own and
have the pioneering spirit that is needed for finding difficult solutions. A person who is attached to a secure and fixed income, or dreams of having a pension after retirement and a comfortable family life, cannot be a global leader. To become a global leader a person must consider the whole world to be his countryand all humanity to be his brothers and sisters and not be overly concerned that he does not know what the future may hold for him.
What are siblings? Why did God give us brothers and sisters? Siblings represent all human beings around the world. The experience of loving our brothers and sisters in the family teaches us how to love our fellow countrymen and love humanity. Our love for our own siblings expands in this way. The family whose members love each other is a model of how humanity can live together in harmony. Love among siblings means that one sibling is willing to go hungry, if necessary, so that his brother or sister can eat. A global leader is someone who loves humanity as he loves his own family.
It has been a while since we first heard the phrase "global village." Yet the earth has always been a single community. If a person's goal in life is to graduate from a university, get a job with a company that will pay him a high salary, and lead a secure life, then that person will have the success of a puppy. But if he dedicates his life to helping refugees in Africa, he will have the success of a lion. The course that is chosen depends on the heart of the individual.
Even at the age of ninety, I continue to travel around the world. I refuse to rest from my mission. The world is like a living organism in that it is always changing. New problems are always arising. I go to the dark corners of the world where these problems exist. These are not the places with beautiful views or comfortable amenities, but I feel happy in places that are dark, difficult, and lonely because that is where I am fulfilling my mission, my purpose and my goals.
My hope is that Korea will produce global leaders in the true sense. I hope to see more political leaders who will lead the United Nations to fulfill its purpose and more diplomatic leaders who will stop the fighting in areas of conflict. I hope to see someone like Mother Theresa who will take care of those wandering and dying on the streets. I hope to see peace leaders who will take on my mission of pioneering new solutions from the land and sea.
The starting point is to have a dream and a goal. Please have an adventurous and pioneering spirit. Dream dreams that others dare not imagine. Set goals for yourselves that have meaning, and become global leaders who will bring benefit to humankind.
NEW VISION FOR YOUTH
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 for 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 things 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 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 that 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 deserts in front of me, but I am not interested in those. I don't fill my rice bowl completely. It is 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 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 that I give to our member's 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 the things of this world.
There is a song that 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 my home.
You may say you will give me a crown with platinum and jewels
But a shirt smelling of dirt and dripping with sweat is worth more.
A pure heart wells up within my bosom,
I can make a flute out of willow leaves,
And the sparrows sing along with my tune.
You may say you will give me enough gold to buy the world,
But an ox that will till the soil in a barley field is worth more.
The buds of hope sprout in my bosom,
I can talk freely with the rabbits,
And the days go by as I play my tune.
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 that
is a little way up the road. We are so busy stuffing things into our pockets that we don't realize that 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.
NEW VISION FOR YOUTH
Happiness Is a Life Lived for Others
Children are born from the flesh and blood of their parents. Without parents there
would be no children. Yet people in this world shout out for individualism as though they came into this world on their own. Only a person who receives no help whatsoever from anyone at all would have the right to speak of individualism. There is nothing in this world that comes into being for its own sake alone. All created beings are created for one another. I exist for you, and you exist for me.
There is no one as foolish as the selfish person who lives only for his or her own sake. It may appear that a selfish life benefits the individual, butultimately it is a life of self-destruction. The individual must live for the family, and the family for the people, the people for the world and the world for God.
All the schools I have founded have three mottos. The first is "Live a life that casts no shadows, as if you were under the sun at high noon." A life without shadows is a life with a clear conscience.
When we finish our life here on earth and go to the spirit world, our entire life will unfold before us, as though it were being played back on videotape. Whether we go to heaven or hell is determined by how we live. So we need to live spotlessly clean lives, casting not even the smallest shadow.
The second motto is "Live shedding sweat for earth, tears for humanity and blood for heaven." There are no lies in the blood, sweat, and tears that people shed. There is only truth. There is no great meaning or value, however, in the blood, sweat and tears that a person sheds only for his own sake. This great investment must be shed for the sake of others.
The final motto is "One Family under God!" There is only one God, and all human beings are brothers and sisters. Difference of language, race, and culture account for less than one percent. As human beings, we are more than ninety-nine percent the same.
There are fourteen island countries in the South Pacific. When I visited the Marshall Islands, I asked its president, "This is a beautiful land, but it must be difficult to lead this country, isn't it?"
The president sighed and replied, "Our population is just sixty thousand, and the land is just two meters above sea level on average. So high waves, or a rise in sea levels of just one meter would flood much of the country. But our most serious problem is education. Children of rich families go to America or Europe to be educated and do not return. Children of poor families have no schools from which to receive a good education, so even the brightest child cannot be trained properly for leadership. The concern for an island country such as ours is that we are unable to raise up leaders who will lead us in the future."
After hearing his lament, I established the High School of the Pacific in Kona, Hawaii, for the sake of the children of these island countries. This school provides secondary education to children from countries throughout the Pacific and helps them apply to college. We provided round-trip airfare to Hawaii, tuition, board and even computers so that they can receive the best education. We attached just one condition to receive this education: Once they finish, they must return to their countries and work in the service of their nation and its people.
Living for the sake of others requires sacrifices from time to time. Some years ago one of our church missionaries was touring South America when the place he was visiting was hit by a major earthquake. His wife came running to me with her face as white as a sheet. "What should I do?" she asked with tears in her eyes. "I'm so worried. I don't know what to do."
You might be surprised by my response. Instead of patting her on the shoulder and comforting her, I shouted at her, "Are you most worried about your husband's safety? Or are you worried about how many lives he may be able to save in that disaster area?"
It was natural for her to be concerned for her husband's safety. But because she was the wife of a missionary, her concerns should have been of a higher order. Rather than only pray for her husband's safety, she should have prayed that her husband could save as many lives as possible.
Nothing exists for its own sake. That is not how God created the world. Man exists for the sake of woman, and woman exits for the sake of man. Nature exists
for the sake of humanity, and humanity exists for the sake of nature. All created
beings in this world exist for the sake of their counterparts. It is an axiom of Heaven that every being lives for the sake of its partner.
Happiness is possible only in a relationship with a partner. Imagine that some fellow who has lived his life as a singer goes to an uninhabited island and sings as loudly a possible. If there is no one there to hear him, he will not be happy.
To realize that we exist for the sake of others is the great achievement that changes our lives. When we realize that our life is not ours alone but is meant to be for the sake of the other, we begin to follow a path different from the one we were on.
Just as singing to yourself will not make you happy, there is no joy without a partner. Even the smallest and most trivial thing can bring you happiness when you do it for another.
NEW VISION FOR YOUTH
Dreaming of a Peaceful World
For years I have called for a world where all religions live together as one, all races live as one, and all nations exist as one. Yet for thousands of years history has seen the continuous increase of divisions. Each time a different religion was adopted or a new regime came into power, more boundaries were drawn and wars were fought. Now, however, we live in an age of globalism. For the sake of the future we must become one.
One way I propose to facilitate that is through the International Peace Highway, a huge undertaking. It will link Korea and Japan by an undersea tunnel and create a bridge or tunnel across the Bering Strait that separates Russia and North America. These great links can unify the world. When the highway is completed it will be possible to travel by car from Africa's Cape of Good Hope to Santiago, Chile, and from London to New York. There will be no roadblocks; the entire world will be interconnected like the way the blood vessels function in the body.
The world will become one integrated community, and everyone wil be able to travel freely across international borders. Borders that give free passage to anyone will lose their significance as borders. Something similar will be true for religion. As the frequency of exchanges among religions increases, greater mutual understanding will arise, conflict will disappear, and the walls of separation will crumble.
When different types of people live together in a single global community, barriers between races will come down. Interaction between races will occur despite differences in appearance and language. This cultural revolution will bring the world into one.
The ancient Silk Road was not simply a trade route that people used in order to
sell silk and buy spices. It was also a vehicle for the peoples of the East and
West to meet and for Buddhism, Islam, and Christianity to meet. These different
cultures intermingled and gave rise to a new culture. The International Peace
Highway will play a similar role in the twenty-first century.
Rome could thrive because all roads led to Rome. This is a good illustration of the importance of roads. When a road is built, people use it to travel. It is used to transport culture and ideology. That is why when a road is built it can change the course of history. When the International Peace Highway is completed, the world can be physically bound together as one. The road will make this possible.
I cannot overemphasize the importance of bringing the world together. Some may think that this is an idea ahead of its time. Religious people, however, foresee the future and prepare for it. So it is only natural that we are ahead of our time. The world may not understand us and may cause us to suffer, but religious believers must persevere to lead the way to the future.
Completing the International Peace Highway will require the cooperation of many nations. China, which was a victim of Japanese aggression, may not welcome the idea of being connected to Japan by a highway. Japan and Korea, however, cannot connect to the rest of the world without going through China, so we need to make efforts to win China's trust.
Who will do this? Those who will take spiritual ownership over the International Peace Highway in the twenty-first century need to take the lead in this effort.
How about bridging the Bering Strait? It will cost a great deal, but this should not cause concern. The amount of money the United States has spent in Iraq would
be more than enough to build such a bridge. We must stop waging war and forcing people to suffer. It is perverse to start wars and squander hundreds of billions of dollars. The time has come for us to beat our swords into plowshares and our spears into pruning hooks.
The International Peace Highway is a project to bring the world together as one. To become one means more than sumply connecting continents by tunnels and bridges. It refers to an equalization of the world's standards of living. When someone monopolizes a technology and keeps the profit for himself, the balance of the world is upset.
The International Peace Highway will rearrange the current inequality by creating access to existing natural and human resources. This will bring about a leveling of wealth. Leveling means that a little is taken off places that are high and added to places that are low. As a result, the two have the same height. This will require sacrifice from those with greater material possessions or knowledge. Building a world of peace cannot be done with onetime charitable acts or donations. Only sincere love and continuous sacrifice is capable of creating a world of peace. We must be willing to offer everything.
Building the International Peace Highway does more than just provide the world with a physical means of communication. Human beings are created so that their mind and body become one. Something similar is true for the world we live in. The world can be completely unified only when there is both physical communication and communication of heart.
For this reason, I have been working for thereform and renewal of the United Nations for many years. Of course, the United Nations has done much for world peace. All Koreans are grateful for its efforts in preserving our freedom during the Korean War. However, today, more than sixty years after its founding, it seems to be losing sight of its original purpose and is in danger of becoming an organization that works for the interests of a few powerful countries.
In 2005, I founded the Universal Peace Federationin New York and immediately
afterwards embarked on a world tour to a hundred cities to deliver a peace message about a new future for the United Nations and the world. The United Nations was created to solve the conflicts that arise in the world, so it must put the world's interests before the interests of one side or the other. It only leads to further conflict when a powerful country insists on it own way and uses force to pursue it. Unfortunately, the United Nations today is unable to do much about such situations.
In this light, I have proposed a restructuring of the United Nations as a bicameral institution. In addition to the General Assembly there should be a religious or cultural, assembly or council.This body would consist of respected spiritual leaders in fields such as religion, culture, and education. The members of this interreligious assembly would need to demonstrate an ability to transcend the limited interests of particular religions and cultures and to speak for the spiritual and moral purposes of all humanity. I maintain that the two chambers, working together in mutual respect and cooperation, will be able to make great advances in ushering in a world of peace.
Some may oppose this, saying, "Why should religious people become involved in world affairs?" My answer is that the world today is in a period when the participation of religious people is crucial. Those who have achieved deep self-awareness through religious practice are needed now more than ever.
It is only truly religious people who can stand up to the unrighteousness and evil
of the world and practice true love. It is only when the knowledge and experience of political leaders are combined with the wisdom of interreligious leaders that the world will be able to find the path to true peace.
Each day, I set out on my path with renewed determination to achieve that goal. My prayer is that every person on earth will be reborn as a peace-loving global citizen, transcending barriers of religion, ideology, and race.
This concludes the authenticated account of how
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birth in 1920 up until this book's publication
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