OWL Magazine Korea

HeoHeoDang Sunim’s “Don’t Stay, Embrace the Painful Wounds”

When reading books written by Buddhist monks, there is often a sense of lightness that comes over the reader, as if the heavy heart has been lifted. It might be because the books authored by those leading a contemplative and simple life convey messages that are more concise, mindful of whitespace, and bring a sense of lightness compared to books written by individuals entangled in the hustle and bustle of worldly affairs.

During my younger years, reading “Non-possession” by the Zen Master Beopjeong (법정 스님) provided me with insights into his life and perspective. It inspired thoughts of living a simple and uncomplicated life.

“HeoHeoDang Sunim, Don’t Stay, Embrace the Painful Wounds”

One day, I came across a book by HeoHeoDang Sunim. This happened during my fourth year at Sungkyunkwan University. As I often frequented the library after classes, I spotted the book in the “HOT Corner” of the library.

Designated as a “HOT BOOK,” it had a shorter borrowing period of seven days compared to other books, catching my eye. Intrigued, I borrowed it to explore its content.

“Don’t Stay, Embrace the Painful Wounds” can be described as a collection of poems or essays written by HeoHeoDang Sunim. It seems to compile thoughts and reflections penned at various times, presenting them in the form of a book. Similar to the writings of other monks, HeoHeoDang Sunim’s words are brief yet rich in meaning.

While the ability to write at length is a skill, crafting short, concise, and profound pieces is undoubtedly more challenging. Such writing not only engages the reader but also prompts deep reflection and, if it induces a subtle laughter, it may be considered an excellent piece. Throughout my reading, I often found myself contemplating the depth within the brevity, recognizing the author’s mastery.

While every piece in the book was akin to a precious gem, a few memorable passages stood out:

“When you were born into this world”

  • Your birth into this world is an invitation to love the world wholeheartedly.
  • Your experience of suffering in the world is a call to love the world more deeply.
  • O, you who are going through a particularly difficult day,
  • The world has not abandoned your love yet.
  • Please! Don’t attempt to possess the world; rather, dive into the arms of the world.

“True Truth”

  • A mountain is a mountain without needing to be called one.
  • A river is a river without needing to be called one.
  • Everyone senses a mountain and feels a river.
  • True truth is like that.

“Thirst”

  • What’s the fun in having everything in my hands?
  • Sometimes there should be regrets and deficiencies.
  • The beauty of life lies in having moments of thirst.

Apart from these three, the book contains many more precious poems and essays. Unfortunately, I cannot introduce every sentence here as there is a sense of longing and a sense of lack that must exist at times.

Additionally, the book includes drawings personally crafted by HeoHeoDang Sunim. While simple, these drawings, executed with a concise brushstroke, possess a unique and charming style. They capture the essence of objects with remarkable simplicity.

The more one reads, the more the heart feels at ease with the writings of HeoHeoDang Sunim. This book, which encourages a momentary pause for those wearied by the demands of life, is a delightful recommendation.

“Don’t Stay, Embrace the Painful Wounds”

  • Author: HeoHeoDang Sunim
  • Publication Date: July 6, 2012
  • ISBN13: 9788959136902
  • Available on Yes24: Link to Yes24