Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Beop Jeong Seunim Shine On Brightly

The most famous Korean monk of his time, Ven. Beop Jeong Seunim passed away on March 11th, 2010. Undoubtedly, he was one of the biggest influences on the way one thinks about this world, the way one thinks about tea, and the concept of this blog.

A zen monk who lived as a hermit, he is most famous for his articles on non-possession. His most famous essay "Without Possessions" expounds his wonderful world view.

In an interview he gave later in life he said that he felt a bit embarrassed that he wrote a famous book on non-possession but still couldn't give away his teapot. When he died his teapot was one of only 3 of his last worldly possessions besides his clothes and glasses held together with tape.

His only English print book, "May All Beings Be Happy" (2006) has pages that fall out, their corners dog-eared, the white cover blacked from overuse. One always keeps his teachings on possessions firm in ones mind.

Is one wrapped up in the possessing of a certain kind of tea or teaware? If so, has one truly lost the true deep meaning of tea?

Meditating on these things, one continues to drink many types of modest tea from a single old pot.

Peace

4 comments:

Sir William of the Leaf said...

Always presenting new ideas to ponder. It makes every post an experience and not just a simple read.
Quite wonderful!

Matt said...

Sir William of the Leaf,

Thanks for pondering these things.

Peace

o said...

"His only English print book, "May All Beings Be Happy" (2006) has pages that fall out, their corners dog-eared, the white cover blacked from overuse"

As the translator of this book, please allow me to offer my profound thanks for this comment. Nothing pleases me more than to know Beopjeong's thoughts have been put to good use!

Matt said...

O,

Your translation of his works flow with kind sincerity such that the words on the page feel as though they are coming straight from Beop Jeong's mouth. Thank you.

Here are the links to a few other posts on this blog that quoted "May All Beings Be Happy" (2006):

http://mattchasblog.blogspot.com/2009/05/broken-ceramics.html

http://mattchasblog.blogspot.com/2008/07/how-one-should-drink-samples-of-tea.html

Also a new book of Beop Jeong has recently been published in English and was just released a few months back for any readers who may be interested.

The Sound of Water, The Sound of Wind (2010): http://www.amazon.com/Sound-Water-Wind-Other-Mountain/sim/0895818256/2

Peace