Hyo Jin Moon January 21, 2007 7:00 am Belvedere

Here are my notes from Hyo Jin nim’s speech Sunday 14 January 2007. My ability to convey what was actually said is limited. These, at most, convey some sense of what Hyo Jin nim said and are not a verbatim record. Hyo Jin nim’s website is: To see two of the projects that Hyo Jin nim is working on log on to: and

Joe Kinney

(Today is Hyo Jin nim’s birthday by lunar calendar. Also Hyo Jin nim’s wife gave birth to a son Shin Jin nim last Friday 19 Jan evening. Two cakes were prepared on a table next to the stage.

Rev. Andrew Compton is the MC. All welcome Hyo Jin nim and offer a bow.

Hyo Jin nim bows to the audience as he approaches the stage. He places a small notebook on the podium; Hyo Jin nim cuts the cakes and receives flowers and a present from National Interfaith Leadership Training Program, whose members attend every Sunday, and a card signed by most of those attending before he speaks. We all sang Happy Birthday twice.

Thank you.

Please sit down.

Thank you for the cake and the present and for the flowers.

This was unexpected. He came out a month early. I guess he wanted to come out.

He’ll be coming home today. He is healthy and my wife is OK.

So thank you.

So today ... I see some faces that I haven’t seen for a while. (One of Hyo Jin nim’s former band members and their family attended the speech today.)

Living in New York City is rather interesting.

Do you like big cities? When you see the people living in big cities they kind of have an attitude don’t they? I guess could say that it is kind of confident or to get right to the point, they’re a little cocky. This attitude is almost a prerequisite for survival in a dog-eat-dog world. You have to be arrogant; you have to have that kind of presence; you have to have that kind of pride and also project a strong sense of self importance just to get recognized.

It’s almost like the big city environment provokes you whether you want it or not to have and present that kind of attitude and personification. You have to ask yourself if that is healthy. What happens to people when they actually live in that kind of mode? What kind of transformation will happen because you will be transformed based on what you are, what you think, what you want to think, what you want to be whether you like it or not. You will process the growth and you will change into that whether you like it or not. So you have to ask your self: Is that good? If that’s not good, if that’s the only way I guess you can’t stop and we have to live with the consequences. But if it is not good then how do you stop it? That’s the question. If we don’t address that kind of question and focus on the solution that we can all agree on, it’s very difficult.

The challenge in ourselves in challenges that lie ahead in what we need to do, in our mission, dealing with those areas and that kind of arrogance will be a problem area and it’s growing faster than any other time in history. Every big city will have that problem. It will start itself with some idealism, but it will change because of the nature of what you have to be to survive in that competitive setting.

It will change you. That modern big city life will change you. The problem, especially in China, is that the big cities are growing up, popping out, every few years. It will become the number one import and exporting country in the world in a few years. Germany is number one; America is second and China is third right now and it will overtake America and Germany.

That’s the problem, and how do we address even the problems that we have now. Think about it.

To me, arrogance is stupidity. Stupid people are people who are in a state of stupor, right? Their senses are dulled. They feel numb to all sorts of stuff. You live in today’s world and are sensitized with things in life. Sometimes you have to question whether that is right or wrong. Many times when you start to think morally and ethically you question pretty much everything that is stimulating your senses, that is titillating out there. That’s what you’re bombarded with on a daily basis. It is overwhelming and you are getting desensitized to that reality.

We’re being stupefied every single way with things that are supposed to educate you, and stimulate you, to be a better person, but it’s actually doing the opposite. Why? The great excuse is that Corporations have to make money. This is the land of the free and the land of capitalism. In this society you have the right to pursue opportunity. Opportunity means wealth and whatever, personal gratification.

When that aspect, especially personal gratification, is not defined properly it becomes very dangerous. We do have a problem with religion in itself because the values that religion should uphold as sacred and absolute... Regardless of what religion it is, there has to be some absolutes that are equal to the primary absolutes, the laws of God PHYSICS! But even that is unstable. There is no clarification in some religions. That’s the problem.

There are many issues that need to be solved. We still have the basic problem. And how do you go about changing that when the world is becoming more stupefied?

We have to go to the very essence of who we are, starting as a child, we want to learn. We have to bring that back. And how do you go about doing that? It’s extremely challenging and it's extremely difficult. You have to really create a creative environment that is so overwhelmingly rich, productive, creative that it provokes you enough that you’re enraptured by it to the point where you want to learn; you want to start to lea