The Truth About All That Is Not Real

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The Truth About All That Is Not Real

There is one thing for which Korea ranks number one: making imitations of designer goods. These imitations are sold not only in Itaewon, but furthermore, they are being exported. When asked whether distinguishing between the genuine article and the imitation is possible a merchant replied no.

When the police raid the counterfeiters, I secretly wish the manufacturers would not suffer inconveniences because imitations contribute to a more equal society. First of all, imitations can be a serious blow to the pride of those who spend a considerable amount of foreign currency on popular brands. If imitations were available in large quantities, few would buy expensive imported goods.

Also, the ability to imitate erases social barriers. Anyone can pretend to be a doctor or a judge graduated from leading universities. Everyone could assume a fake identity, be it congressman, cabinet minister or president. Society would be more egalitarian because it is meaningless to distinguish between the successful and the commoners when everything is a fake.

There are no differences between those who wear designer brands and those who don''t. No matter how much money the rich may have they cannot eat an unlimited amount of food nor do they wear all their shoes at the same time, one pair pulled over another. The poor, in theory, cannot eat just as much rice as the rich and wear a pair of shoes. The poor cannot eat to his heart''s delight because they are poor, the rich limit their food intake to avoid getting fat. What is outward difference between a lady of the upper class wearing imitation diamonds, hiding the genuine jewelry out of fear of robbery, and people of lesser means wearing imitations because that''s all they can afford? Actually, what afflicts us is not the material itself, but our desire to possess master brands. If there were no need for us to own master brands, many of our desires and pains would disappear.

There are two ways to erase the problems caused by master brands. Getting rid of the brands outright or letting everyone possess them to the extent they desire.

The Diamond Sutra wipes away brands as meaningless. It teaches that if one looks upon Buddha even where Buddha has been erased, he can see Buddha. On the contrary, the Lotus Sutra prints out brands recklessly, teaching everyone is an heir to every estate of Buddha.

We are all imitations in that we fabricate and hold on fast to what "I am and what I own." What I am and what I have are both concoction, like the clouds and waters insisting on what they are and what they possess.

But we, mankind, has no choice but to use this concoction as a starting point. We have but to follow this expression, which says one who falls to the ground must depend on the ground to stand up. The lion in a dream is a fiction, but its ferocity wakes the sleeping. In pornographic films there are no real naked men and women, but they can upset our mind and body.

Furnishing a real life should start with imitating Jesus and Buddha. They do not hide the real life blueprint program code, nor do they insist on intellectual property rights protection, so it is okay to make as many models of Jesus and Buddha as possible.

But it should not end at the level of simple imitation. One must go forward into a world of one''s own. In life, there are no master brands if they are not meant to exist. But if there are supposed to be master brands, every action becomes one.

Don''t urge me to speak out on the real thing specifically and not be circumspect. Only those who are free from the boundary of imitations can recognize the real stuff.

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