Giving Thanks

Hyo Jin Moon October 8, 2006 7:00 am Belvedere


Here are my notes from Hyo Jin nim's speech Sunday 08 October 2006. 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: http://www.canaanstation.com/

To see one of the projects that Hyo Jin nim is working on log on to: http://definingmoment.tv/

Joe Kinney


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

(Hyo Jin nim bows to the audience as he approaches the stage; he brings a small notebook to the podium.)


Sorry that I'm a little late.


Based on Korean Tradition, just a few days ago we passed Thanksgiving. (Chu'sok the Korean "Harvest Moon" festival is on the 15th day of the eighth lunar month)


What are we thankful for? When you are first born.. I don't know if a baby can realize the status of their own being at the moment of inception when they emerge from the womb venturing into something that is absolutely foreign to them.


That's a different state. I don't know whether the newborn coming out of the womb can actually feel that stuff or anything for that matter. This is something that I wish that I could understand. Does the infant coming right out of the womb feel anything, and if it feels anything what does it feel? That's pretty much where you have to start.


Anything that is going to be anything; that is the start. Do you see God? And that kind of stuff. Do you know God personally? Do you have His cell phone number? (Laughter) That kind of stuff.

We believe in something because we want ... because of our intellectual capacity to look at the past. And the past doesn't really look pretty in terms of building what we want in the ideal sense.

That's why religion is a powerful force in history. Because we want to know "what did I think when I first came out of the womb?" Think? If I did then what did I think? Was I happy to be here or not happy? We could start with that.


Do you remember what you thought when you were first born? Can you honestly say to somebody else, yourself even, that you know absolutely, for sure, that I know the answer, "I was happy." I was not happy." Or what ever in between, I don't care. Do you have that answer? Pretty much, basically that's where we start from, our individual self. Everything else is influenced. If you are nor sure of your self, if you don't know who you are, if you don't know your limit, pretty much you're the product of influence around you, your reality.


Go back and think about your situation. Think about your reality. How far can I go back? To my beginning, my beginning. Now just put aside somebody else for now OK? Your beginning. How far can I go back and start to fundamentally ask myself and give myself fundamental answers?


What am I thankful for? If you want to change the world you'd better answer that question. As far as you can go back, teenage years, whatever. Middle class parents want to do their best to put their children through school and a good school is all the better, Ivy League even better right? Because they will get preferential treatment and go on to the next level.


You start off with an annual salary of $70,000 or $80,000 up to $120,000 with a law degree from an Ivy League school, an MBA or whatever. The more the better. Actually, just for fun because this information is so easy to get these days I found that from established schools like Harvard Yale etc about 25,000 to 30,000 kids come out every year. Obviously there are more prominent schools out there in America; every state has state universities from grade "A" to whatever and it's like that everywhere in the world.


Then what? Other issues? What is free in America? It's an opportunity sure. You know mind and body stuff to me is sometimes very simple. I look at it sometimes as life and death, life and sense, and life and love. You kind of have to measure people based on that kind of stuff. When you look at civilizations what are they chasing?


Of course even in spirit it can be good and bad. Even in intelligence there is good and bad. Even in body there is good and bad. Right? Just because in comparison to some spiritual dumb ass on a physical level you might be better off than that because you seem opposite it doesn't make it right forever; It is very temporal.


Father has invested in the second generation I know for sure two kids that have gotten a PhD in economics. They're doing well on their own, but that's about it. I could go into detail, but it's not necessary.


There is a lot of stuff that it is not necessary to talk about. You just have to understand the essence of stuff. You have to ask yourself "Why do I want to give thanks to something? Do I mean it?" When you are thankful for something what happens? Most likely you're thankful for some kind of personal reasons, that some kind of personal benefit might happen to you. People who are thankful, what happens to them if you're normal? You make some kind of offering right? You don't make an offering unless you feel something like that. Obviously unless you have something to be grateful for or thankful for it (the desire to make an offering) isn't going to last long. That's reality right?


That's why that I guess in a sense that you have reached some mind of understanding that in spirit there is an end to reality as we understand it. Because of that basic reality our ability to understand stuff, God doesn't want to be alone. God is almighty by Himself He doesn't need law, but because of his counterpart he has to have law. Law exists for the sake of the counterpart, that's it.


When you have that reality obviously there is a give-and-take principle that's the basic law to bring about that happening, to bring about somebody wanting to give something because they are genuinely thankful.


That's why there is a funny phenomenon in America where you always try to look for bigger Gurus. In this wealthy country you have time and money and I guess you have nothing better to do.

Find the greater defining meaning of being truly thankful. That's (those Gurus) what we have to compete against. Do you actually believe that stuff? I've tried it all there are so many ways in which you can abuse things. There are so many ways in which you can do right; but you have to make that choice.


When you try to do right you will suffer. You will suffer, suffer, suffer. If you take, take, take or you try to do the opposite, you'll suffer, suffer, suffer. It's up to you. It never ends.


What's the difference between Mother Teresa and the Bill Gates of the world? Both started with nothing, seemingly. They're self made people. That's the commonality between Bill Gates and Mother Teresa. That's why people respect them whether they like them or not. For whatever their reason it doesn't matter. You respect them to the core, to a point; they started from nothing in general.


They've gotten something based pretty much on the traditional kind of sacrifice based on religious dictum regardless of what religion. A self made man is a good opportunist that comes along at the right time and something was there beyond them self. They were in the right place at the right time. Their contribution will stand and they will at least be given the credit for discovery and application, and implementation. To what degree? It doesn't matter. They did something and we accept that. It seems like some sort of offering.


When we have to try to teach ourselves to be thankful on a daily basis remember your life is an offering in the end. Right? The way I look at it, and I'm a simple and morbid kind of guy, even if you die it's not important. It's about an offering.


There is a connection between freedom and desire. If you have uncontrollable desire what good is freedom? How did the fall occur? Because desires couldn't be controlled. Why? Because of individual responsibility. So even if you're given the freedom to make the choices.. Freedom means we have the ability to make choices unlike dumb animals that act in instinct and impulses.

We have the faculty of higher developed intellectual processing to determine, beyond the fate of impulse and instinct, to actually go further to the desire. It is constantly expanding and seemingly infinite. What the heck is freedom then? It has no meaning in the end. We have to live by the law of God in the end, right, whether you like it or not. Why, Because God says "When I made you I had... Because of you law has to exist. Otherwise I'll kill you. The law exists so that I won't kill you.


Sometimes no matter how much you love something, I don't feel that way all the time, maybe everyday once, but what if God is more extreme than me? (Laughter) How the heck do you know?

Some second generation ask me should I go to school, what should I do? What should I major in? I tell them that in your life you have to make choices and in the end it's about making an offering, whether you make your livelihood out of it or from the body you make something greater and greater. Pretty much it's about that.


What are you good at? What do you like? Start from there. Don't ask me! How the heck do I know? I have a hard time keeping my self on track sometimes. There are so many things that can distract you in a tick-tock moment.


Just do what ever you learn apply it. Sometimes you can really logically process everything till it makes sense to you.


How many of those thanksgivings that we talked about do you think I will see? How many will you see? It happens once a year, how many times? How many times did you see? Most of you maybe forty or fifty times, maybe some of the young kids here ten or twenty. Will you see three digits? Good for you. That's reality. You can't deny that.


You have problems; I have problems, why, because stuff happens. The thing is; what can you do about it. What am I willing to do about it? I can blame stuff till kingdom or hell freezes over. I'm just doing my part here. What you take from it doesn't really matter.


You really don't have to own the world to change the world. What we do with our lives and the choices that we make can make a difference and inspire each other. What kind of choices do you want to make?


You don't need a billion dollars to change the world as long as intention is correct. I know about self promotion and I really don't do it. I go out of my way not to do it. I know it better than you. Trust me. It's not about that. Why do you want to promote yourself?


You see this terrible situation in the Amish community where those children were shot. (Hyo Jin nim is referring to a horrible school shooting where five little girls were killed in Lancaster Pennsylvania last week)


(Hyo Jin nim broke into tears and I could not make out his words. I believe the thought of those parents loosing their daughters reminded him of his own loss of Shin Gil nim less than one year ago.)


We aren't always good and great all the time, but you don't want to be foolish and judgmental. If you think that you can judge someone, and then prepare to explain according to what standard you live.


We all want to receive love from God equally and we should all try to do that. That is the only definition of the ideal world that really matters.


Our life is an offering; correct yours, its depending on the choices you make and history will judge you by it.


Include God and you won't die.


See you later.

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