Monday, March 7, 2011

My Monk

My mother came into my room just now. She explained that a terrible event just took place in the country she was born and raised in, her old country (Korea). She explained that a very important and respected man just died. She said he was a monk, but not just any monk. She compared him to the pope, and explained that the position he had held in his life and in his religion was just as high. She said that he wrote a letter on his death bed, moments before he passed. Somebody put the letter on the internet and it has become an instant sensation in Asia. She wanted to translate it to me because she thought his words were extremely important and her daughter should hear them. So, I put my jewelry making tools aside, prepared my laptop to type these very "important" words as she spoke. 
     My mother is a great English speaker, and has come very far since she moved to the United States, however her English is still a little "broken" at times, and she had great difficulty translating some of the Korean thoughts in this letter. So keep in mind, this is a translation from Korean to English by my mother, and then a translation from my mother's version of English to English by me. I tried my best to type it just like she said it, but I had to change a few words around to make the script make more sense. In doing so, I got a great kick out of this letter (or my mother's version of it), and laughed out loud much to my mother's offense. 

The letter read as follows:


As you get older. Don't rush anything, and don't say mean things. Don't wine. If you hear gossip, don't get involved, even if it does happen to be true. 

Don't try to win all the time. Try to lose sometimes. It may bring you comfort. Take one step back and yield. That is how you live your life so wise, and that is the secret of the wisdom of your life. 

Drop the greed of money. It doesn't matter how much money you have. When you die you cannot take it with you. And if you leave so much money with your children, your children will fight over it. So while you are living, try to use money here and there and reward yourself.  You have to hold some money until the moment you die. You have to hold it really tight. If you meet your old friends you have to be wealthy enough so that you can buy them a drink. Save money for grand children for presents and stuff.

And as you get older, you should have enough money to take care of yourself, and that's when you get respect from people around you. Friends, try to forget all the things that happened in the past and don't try to brag about yourself and how you did good in your life. It doesn't matter how hard you try, you cannot stop the time. Time will just go. When that happens you have to have a feeling like the sun is trying to come up, and the sun is going down. Our time is walking away from us, far and far. It doesn't matter how hard you are trying to hold the time. It will go and don't waste your energy trying to hold the time. 

Always have a good relationship with your children, your grand children and neighbors. Live your life as a good person. You cannot get sick . Try to stay healthy. Because when you get sick people will ignore you and disrespect you."

And then she looked up at me, scrunched up her face a bit, and said:

"that's it."


  1. Great words of wisdom. I'm going to steal this and post it so others can read.

    Do you know how to speak any Korean Meg?
    How about Korean recipes, you know any good ones?

  2. For the longest time, I've been so frugal. It was sometimes painful to hold onto sums of cash. I was so worried about my "future" as a kid. It wasn't until college that I should spend this money for my education because I want to, not because I'm going to make up for it later and be rich, rich, rich. But this guy makes a lot of sense. Enjoy life, but be responsible.

    I really enjoy these updates Meg. I started reading Dia's old myspace blogs again last night. You and your sister's words are always enlightening.

  3. The amount of wisdom and lessons we can learn from elder souls is just absolutely irreplaceable. I'm extremely interested in Korean culture, so I'm quite sorry to hear that such an influential figure in Korea was lost. Thanks for sharing this.

  4. Hi Meg,

    Thanks for sharing this with us, i'm sure you managed to get everything in there that your mother was telling you. I agree with the part where it says, 'Don't try to win all the time. Try to lose sometimes'. We can learn so much more from ourselves with defeat.

    Was also wondering what part of Korea your mother is from, and have you ever visited.

    Enjoy the rest of your day:)

  5. I loved the last part where your mama said "that's it".

    I was laughing about the money part, it reminds me of when my mama always say "save your money don't use any" or sometimes she'll say "do you have 10,000 in your savings?"

  6. Kenny: I don't know how to speak Korean, but I can understand every word. Isn't that nuts?!

    Valerie: Well, it's glad to hear you are being responsible with your money. I blew so much money living it up a couple years back in Austin, but I must admit: I had a fantastic time!

    My mom is from Soel.

    Loved your comments everyone! Thanks:)


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  8. My grandmother passed away a few months back. My family and I have been in and out of temple ever since then. The monk always said, if you meditate, be a good person and treat everyone around you with love and respect, you will never get sick.
    He always emphasized on that part.
    I was reminded of that part when reading that letter.
    Of course, that is all I understood from all of the 15 times that I've seen him... when he translated in english because all of the grandkids looked lost. ha

  9. catching up on you today as life here has been so busy, reading time has not fit into the schedule, which is even sadder than your previous entry... wise words... and your words as well meg, as i read you here and in other places...

    your depth is astonishing sometimes, brilliant and clever and amazing, but also a dangerous black hole you can fall into... keep focused on the moments and the beauty and the positivity, even when it seems easier to see all the challenges and troubles around you... see the challenges and changes not as obstacles, but as opportunities to learn and grow and create something beautiful... find your peace within you, alone, for alone is the first, last, and most natural state you will experience in this life... you can imagine another's experience, share it through language and physical touches, but you experience yourself first and always... everything shared is illusionary, as beautiful and wonderful and precious as it may be, when compared to the true experience of being... give yourself that respect, accept and embrace and love yourself, and do not let fear get in your way...

    you and your sister and band have given me much pleasure and thought and reason to enjoy life over the years since i first say you dripping and grinning at a warped tour maybe six more years ago... through your ups and downs, from record deals to thefts of equipment to recent excitement and changes, you've found your voice in writing and songs and i applaud you, appreciate you, and love you for your gifts...

    this is a long overdue thank you - and a hope for more :)