Korean monk burns down a thousand-year-old temple after drinking

The South Korean media have been discussing the motives of the monks’ arson to burn down the thousand-year-old temple “Nejangsa”. According to Yonhap News Agency’s report on the 8th, the arson suspect Choi transferred from other Buddhist sects to Neejangsa Temple under the Jogye Sect (the largest Buddhist sect in South Korea) three months ago. He has not been officially identified as a monk at that temple. The Jeollabuk-do police responsible for investigating the arson revealed on the 8th that Choi gave himself up on the evening of the 5th. Later, he confessed his motive: “Because of his dissatisfaction with other monks, he set fire after drinking.” Regarding this statement, Dayu, a high-ranking monk of Neijang Monastery, stated on the 7th that Cui had never had any conflicts with other monks. On the afternoon of the incident, Cui also told the visiting monk how good Neijang Monastery was. He did not understand why he suddenly had two hours later. Burn down the temple. Other monks and staff members of Neijang Temple also said that “I don’t know what Choi said about the dissatisfaction.” A police officer said that Cui had been practicing for a long time in other sects, and he was not officially recognized as a monk after he transferred to the Caoxi Zong Nei Zang Temple. This may be the reason for his personal feelings towards other monks.

“World Journal” stated on the 7th that the Jeonju District Court in South Korea issued an arrest warrant for Choi on suspicion of building arson that day. The arson caused property losses as high as 1.7 billion won (approximately 9.8 million yuan). According to data, Nejangsa Temple was built in 636 and has been burnt down 4 times. The last time it was repaired was 2.5 billion won.

Trains often reveal the characteristics of nations with an irreplaceable veracity. I have learned a lot of American psychology in the back of a wagon …

Let’s sit in the restaurant of an Argentine train. Four or five nations are represented there. You can hear the soft accent of the English, the passionate talk of the Italians, the rude hiss of the Spanish. There is no trace of melancholy or decay in any countenance. They try to buy steers, to sell fields, to build sheds, to buy seeds. Through the windows, the past drought reveals its punishment. But nobody{104}heed this obvious ruin. They all speak with the fervor of the immensity of time and space. Indeed, time is long and it will bring new rains, and as for space, there is the endless plain that awaits the hand of man to caress it with the plow.

The psychology of these people in the field is simple like that of the sailor, like that of the player. It may be that they lack the depth that the beings of the old and definitely limited countries have. They are people who ignore savings, foresight, and therefore fear. For them the land is a green carpet where games of chance are played. Far from his mind the virtues of caution, of well-considered acts, of subjection to secular forms; they possess other virtues, which to timid sociologists may seem defects: they possess the virtue, or the defect if you like, of recklessness. They set out to sow without having seeds, tools, or men; This, in Europe, would seem crazy, but in America it is perfectly real. They put everything they have on a letter. Yes ga{105}nan, your life takes on a tone of incredible arrogance; if they lose, they haven’t lost anything, because they start over. This would also seem fantastic in Europe, where the one who is ruined once never gets up again.

This recklessness or unconsciousness, accompanied by courage, is not an unpleasant thing, but on the contrary. Recklessness lends American life a lively, vigorous, and cheerful tone. More than negotiating, you play. From the bottom of this ongoing game emerges an aura of hope and optimism. Because everyone is entitled to play, and everyone plays. Speculation reaches the lowest and the highest. The doctor who saves five thousand pesos, buys land and then sells it; the artist builds a house and alienates it for twice its cost; the humble shoe shine goes to an auction, buys, sells, plays up and down. The most spiritual man, the one who in Europe would never dream of adulterating his dream life and meditation, he also surrenders to the whirlwind of buying and selling. How many delicious poets have failed in Argentina for having{106} replaced the rhythm of gold by the rhythm of the verse!

Leaving by train from Buenos Aires, whatever the line, the traveler will walk all day without having left the same landscape. The topographical unit of most of the republic is one of its main characters. Plain, always plain. The foreigner feels at first depressed by this lack of panoramic variety, and if asked about the beauty of the country, he will confess that the country has very little beauty. The expanse of the plain weary, with the fatigue of the ocean. Everything is presented endowed with overwhelming extension. When the plain is interrupted, an equally extensive, uniform, tiring river rises. The mind feels anguish in front of so much immensity, the anguish that invades us in the face of emptiness.

But later the European finds a new sensation within that Argentine plain. The need for the intimate is lost, giving way to a strange feeling. This feeling must be similar to the one that the sailor will feel when his ship, in the middle of Atlantis{107}Tico, flies to the force of the wind. That feeling is called “freedom.” In the center of the plain, man, after having managed to kill the anguish of the endless, feels the new, radiant, youthful impression of the high seas. It is seen only in the vastness. He knows that his effort is the only help that serves him in the fight with the elements. Know then the pleasure that Robinson must have enjoyed, when he was the owner of nature. The feeling of his own absolute worth swells all the physical and moral muscles of the man left to his own initiative. And freedom, desirable freedom, fills his soul with unspeakable joy. The clear sky, the infinite earth, everything speaks to the spirit of freedom. Then he forgets the ancient landscapes, the beauties that he loved so much; conceive another kind of beauty,

Now I ask the reader for permission to reveal a secret.

Leaning out of the train window, I was looking at a very large expanse of wheat. Is{108}That wheat was so lush that the eyes never tired of seeing it. I remembered all the wheat fields I contemplated in the course of my life: the small and very modest plots of the Cantabrian country, the harvests of Castile, the perfect and almost academic sown in the interior of France.

I compared those memories with the current reality, and consequently I found that these extensive wheat fields exceeded in magnitude all those seen previously. The crops of the Cantabrian country were undoubtedly more friendly, because their smallness arose from between leafy hedges, from among laughing meadows, in a way that the gold of the wheat seemed to be carefully kept in the bottom of matted and green pads. The wheat fields of Castile seemed to have, when my imagination evoked them, a historical, rather legendary value; It is not possible to attend the spectacle of the Castilian plain without raising the images of the Romancero, the passage of the Cid’s mesnadas, the gleam of martial and ancient irons: the white and tasty Castile bread seems to nourish{109}at the same time our stomach and our fantasy. The wheats of France have intensity and wisdom going for them; They are regular fields of precise lines, harmonious and impeccable as a whole; the edges of the seeding have a classic correction; undoubtedly, in those intense and intelligent wheat fields the ordered soul of France is discovered, all measured, all correction and disciplined intelligence.

After reviewing my memories, I would look at the wheat that ran in front of the train, and they seemed to me the largest, the most “lavish.” They could be other more intense and more scientific, but these here had the virtue of the immense. Maybe wrong, maybe messy, but huge and lavish. Between the Argentine wheat fields and the European ones, there was the difference from an urban park to a tropical forest.

If the forests, rivers, waterfalls, mountain ranges, and plains of America are distinguished by their greatness, the forms of agriculture must also be gigantic. But I have found the word with{110}coming: the Argentine wheat fields seem gigantic to me.

And then — here’s the secret he was announcing — a sudden thought struck me. Why shouldn’t I become a farmer? …

All of us who are a little sentimental, and especially those who suffer the annihilating tyranny of the city, have ever yearned for Horacio’s ideal: to have an orchard, a garden, a peaceful house on the side of a hill. But this ideal is related to literature; it is a literary-philosophical program, in which farming is the least of it, in which the important thing would be aristocratic leisure within a serene setting. It was not this temptation that I felt. It was a new temptation, a primitive man’s impulse, a purely farming desire. The temptation suggested new ideas that surprised me. I had no ambition for the Horacian garden, to rest from my work and reading; I wanted the open field, to tire me there, but with a bodily fatigue, a fatigue of muscles, of sweat, of calluses. Becomefarmer .{111}

The masculine concept of agriculture entered my mind, and I suddenly understood the infinite beauty of an agrarian life in that gigantic plain of La Plata. All these mental speculations with which we distract our hours, are they not a bit feminine? The virile, the masculine, is the muscular work on the earth; what is noble is the effort that goes from our will to earth, in a journey of loving sympathy that has as its goal conception.

I forgot the Horacian garden, excessively intellectual; I forgot the bucolic hobby of the eighteenth century , reason, at best, to decorate tapestries. Why should these hands shy away from the rough tool? Simple agriculture aside; that’s the noble one. Fill yourself with honest calluses. Feel the roughness of the earth on the skin. Sink your feet in the mud. Offer your face to the lashings of the wind. Firmly withstand the brutal caresses of the sun. Soak up the rushing waters of the sky. Contemplate without fear the sudden storm and the glare of lightning. Ride. Dominate reluctant foals, imposing the empire on them{112}of the contracted legs and the taut brake. Get up when the night lamps go out in the sky. Lying on the hard bed with a spasm of pleasure, all muscles tired as stones. Sleep without dreams, in the manner of children, innocently. Don’t disgust any food. Eat standing up, in large bites, and feel that the delicacies are resolved in blood and joy. Forget sedentary dyspepsia, effeminate headaches, unmanly ailments. And then convince yourself of the effectiveness of your own aptitudes to direct the sowing, to know the point of maturity of the plants, to harvest on time and with skill. Running, shouting at the peonies, disciplining the forces of men and beasts, revealing himself to his subordinates, and then drinking with them to their health …

The agrarian temptation is not only offered in the field; the same is offered in cities. The eternal conversation invariably raises about Argentine society: the harvest. The countryside is always in fashion there. And as wherever one goes, so be the{113}perfumed cabinet of a young lady, one meets the topic of the harvest, one ends up worrying seriously about wheat and corn. In other countries agriculture may be an ordinary and plebeian occupation; in Argentina it is the aristocratic occupation par excellence. A fortune is not considered respectable if it does not have rich fields of cultivation; talking about corn to a young lady is not impertinence in Buenos Aires, as it would be in Paris or Vienna.

Then comes another agent of temptation: the journalistic claim. Opening a large newspaper, we find entire pages destined to announce the sales of fields; there the “farms” appear in photography, or the maps are engraved with their rivers, towns and estates. And the claim of those sales and auctions takes on a heat, a passion so great that the coldest man feels carried away by passion.

The courses at such a point are unbeatable! ”The ads shout. Buy the irrigated fields! Do not neglect your business,{114}and buy land! The lands are fortune! The future is in our lands! …

Posters in the streets, announcing auctions. Posters at railway stations, and an army of agents weighing agricultural advantages in a thousand ways. Finally, one can see such enthusiasm for agriculture that one ends up suggesting oneself: then the passive concepts that a sedentary or bookish life has managed to instill in our mind are upset, and what seemed rude and without grace, now seems to us beautiful and even elegant. Thus prepared the spirit for conversion, any moment, a vulgar incident provokes the new profession of faith. I was well prepared for conversion; the sight of the vast ripe wheat fields was the divine ray, the road to Damascus; and a voice finally shouted at me: Become a farmer …

But life dragged me down other paths, making the American farmer that undoubtedly in me fail.