Adventures: from puzzling to plain wierdMany people flat-out dismiss the idea that there’s more to this world beyond what we can see and touch, but I’m not one of them. When it came to spirituality, I thought I was one of the more tolerant people I knew.
That was before I read a book titled “Longing for Seon-gye,” by Moon Hwa-young. This journal became a bestseller in the New Age section in Korea, according to the publisher, and it was recently translated into English.
Seon-gye is “the perfect energy realm” in the universe. Ms. Moon chronicled her journey on the path to enlightenment through her meditation practice from October 1992 to May 1994, during which time she quit her job and withdrew from her friends. It’s too bad she didn’t say how she supported herself during this time, because any book that can tell you how to survive without money would be an instant bestseller in the West.
Seon-gye training consists of four steps: gi-gong, the study of gi, or the vital life force; sin-gong, the study of the body; another sin-gong, the study of the spiritual world and sim-gong, the study of the mind.
The journal is organized by subject, not in chronological order, so it’s not possible to see how Ms. Moon progressed over time, which would have been the only way to make sense of this collection of musings that range from puzzling to just plain weird.
Maybe I’m just not enlightened enough, but I have no desire to visit another planet, as Ms. Moon does one day during her practice. She describes this supposedly man-made planet in the Andromeda galaxy, Herodotus, in detail, even sketching a native, who sports a pointy tail and ears. Maybe mainstream religion has got it all wrong: The devil is actually our friend.
Perhaps the book’s publishers were hoping to find the success another Korean author had in the Western market, Lee Seung-heun, who wrote “The Healing Society: A Prescription for Global Enlightenment.”
From the excerpts I’ve read, Mr. Lee also talks about the life force, but in a way that’s less navel-gazing and more intelligible to those who have no idea what gi is.
I also strongly suspect UFOs aren’t discussed.
It is admirable that Ms. Moon has such a passion for meditation, but those looking for enlightenment should look elsewhere. If her journal is any indication, the path to the perfect energy realm requires a willingness to forsake common sense.
Longing for Seon-gye: Personal Journal of My Enlightenment
by Moon Hwa-young
Soo Sun Jae
12,000 won ($10.50
by Sei Chong