[FOUNTAIN]Aphorisms from the sage ‘Lee Nobody’He calls himself “Lee Nobody.” He refuses to come forward and speak out. He is not like those people trying to advertise their names everywhere.
He writes for those who ask him to write and tells a story for those who ask for one.
He was once a minister, but he does not care much about the position now. He officially quit his pastoral duties 10 years ago because he found the job suffocating. When asked about his religion, he says, “I have been living in a house with no fence for a long time, so what’s the point of asking when I went over the fence?” To those offering him to convert to another religion, he asks back, “You wouldn’t call going from the bedroom to the dining room moving, would you?”
This spring, he is publishing two books, “What’s Inside a Grain of Beans?” for children and “Get Lost in Love” for adult readers. “What’s Inside a Grain of Beans?” is perfect reading for students starting a new semester, school year and season this month. The story tells young readers that a grain of beans contains the spirits of heaven, earth and mankind, and therefore, eating the meal enshrines the spirits of heaven, earth and mankind in our bodies. Even adults will be inspired with the refreshing energy of the book. You might understand why Mr. Lee calls children’s books “the most mature form of literature.”
“Get Lost in Love” brings spring to the minds of readers. The book is a translation of the Muslim spiritual leader Rumi’s writings, but he added an aphoristic comment on each section. “Don’t feed the thoughts and let them starve. That is fasting in its truest form.” “Are you in pain? Endure it. The master is cleaning you, the mirror, now.” “The group that is troubling the world is not the one that knows little but the one that knows too much.” “Put your head down in front of lower beings. There is no other way.”
When you chew your experience sincerely and swallow it humbly, there is nothing in life that is not a blessing, he says. In a solemn voice, he tells you to get used to the taste of death while you are still alive. Mr. Lee’s writing echoes the teaching of Jang Il-sun, his old pal. “ Don’t get absorbed in books. You have to control your mind.”
On a hill in Chungju, North Chungcheong province, Lee Nobody is reading, writing, thinking and calling us. His name is Lee Hyeon-ju.
by Chung Jae-suk
The writer is a deputy culture news editor of the JoongAng Ilbo.