[FOUNTAIN]Uri needs cow’s gait with tiger’s eyesight

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[FOUNTAIN]Uri needs cow’s gait with tiger’s eyesight

In Taoism, the cow is a symbol of leading a free and quiet life and in Confucianism, it represents justice. The legend of Lao-tzu disappearing riding a cow is a Tao-style legend. Meanwhile, there is a story from a book written to promote Confucianism during the time of King Sejong the Great where a cow dies fighting a tiger to save the life of its owner.
What about Buddhism? If you visit a temple such as Baekdamsa you can see “Simwudo,” a drawing of the process of a monk awakening to the nature of Buddhism. The cow is the nature of Buddhism in the artwork. Therefore the word Simwu, which means to look for a cow, really means looking for the nature of Buddhism. It was for this reason monk and poet Manhae Han Yong-wun called his home “Simwujang,” as jang means a place to stay.
During the mid-Goryeo period, a monk named Jinul who was influential in forming Korean Seon Buddhism took the penname “Mokwuja.” The name meant a person raising a cow so also meant someone taking care of the nature of Buddhism. The monk worked hard to tighten the discipline of Buddhism that had relaxed due to constant political fighting within the royal family. What he taught, to realize the nature of Buddhism and continue ascetic exercises and the study of Zen, is featured in text books.
A tower where they place the remains of monks in Songgwangsa, a temple in Suncheon, has the following written: “The monk behaved gently, always walked like a cow and observed like a tiger and took the lead in doing hard tasks.” It means the monks were able to see reality as sharply as a tiger but had the endurance to proceed steadily.
“Walk like a cow and observe like a tiger” has become a popular saying among lawmakers of the governing party. President Roh Moo-hyun was the first to use it in his inauguration speech to reveal his strong desire for reformation. Recently Moon Hee-sang, the chairman of the Uri Party and Moon Jae-in, the senior presidential secretary for civil affairs, frequently use the term. Chairman Moon diagnosed low participation in the “participatory government” as a crisis of faith and said the only way to overcome the crisis was to walk like a cow and see like a tiger.
However, there are contradictions in this understanding. If the ruling parties had already practiced what the president emphasized about the cow’s walk and the tiger’s observation, they would not be facing this crisis.
Now the party should stop repeating mere words and look to see if they really do have the eyes of a tiger. If they do not have the eyes of a tiger while walking like a cow, the crisis will become worse.


by Lee Sang-il

The writer is a deputy international news editor at the JoongAng Ilbo.
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