Chunbugyeong Scripture is consisted of 81 letters and it is the world's shortest scripture. It is known to have contained the truth of the universe on which scholars have long been arguing over interpretation of the book. Future Cultural Asset Forum director Kim Yoo-hee argues that the book contains the answers to unification of Korea and to future directions of Koreans. PowerKorea met Kim and learned about the book.
Q. You have devoted decades of years to studying the book. What inspired you?
A. I came to know the book in early 1996 and I had just finished a doctoral course. I was practicing hypogastric breathing like I did everyday but one day I saw the 81 letters of the book on the ceiling. Curiosity arose and I learned that it was Chunbugyeong, the Korean's ancient scripture. I bought several books about the scripture but each book gave different interpretation. Monk Tanhuh famous for studying Buddhist scriptures and Im Seung-gook who translated Hwandan Gogi also said that they had yet seen an easy and clear interpretation of the scripture. At this point, curiosity became passion and it has pushed me for the last 25 years to find the secrets it holds.
Q. Some say that the scripture is a gift from God and it holds principles of the universe concisely. What does your research tell?
A. First of all, Chunbugyeong is not a religious scripture. It is about the spirit and soul of Korean people. We need to look at carefully on the first 5 letters and the last 5 letters of the book. It explains the world as a visible cosmos and an invisible heaven of divine. It tells us Korean people's ideology on heaven, earth and man. The book concludes 'man is but the truth'. History-wise, the book is 9,217 years old. Also notable is that it is the shortest lettered scripture in the world; the Buddhist scriptures contain more than 80,000 letters and the Tao Te Ching 5,000.
Q. Korean independence activists Hong Beom-do and Oh Dong-jin are known to have memorized the book. Have you found similar records?
A. Korean independence activists fiercely fought against Japan with possible patriotic encouragement from the book. February 28, 2020, the North Korean Central TV broadcasted that they found a slate of Chunbugyeong 30cm below Changgun Peak of Paektu Mountain. I think this slate might be the one that the independent activist Cheol Na and his disciples engraved the letters of the book and buried on Paektu Mountain. The book appears many times in our history: An Ham-ro's Samsungki records Hwanung governed the nation with the seal of state engraved with the book; Park Je-sang's Budoji records people made Geumchuk with engrave of the book; Won Dong-joong's Samsungki records Hwanung established a state 5,917 years ago and taught the people with Chunbugyeong and Samilsingo.
Q. How much do you think has Chunbugyeong study progressed homeland?
A. Having studied book myself for 25 years, I feel regret to say that Koreans lack in appreciation of what is ours. It is good to see K-Wave sweeping the world. But I think it is time we shared part of our focus also on excellence of ancient books. It amazes me that the encyclopedia says the book is the scripture of Daejongism. The book existed before Daejongism appeared. Again, the book is not about religion but spirit and soul of Korean people. In an effort to spread the book right, I printed 1,000 of the book in English and sent eight renowned figures of the US including former and incumbent president and members of the lower and upper houses. Also sent to were 400 leaders in South Korea including President Moon, Prime Minister, the National Assembly Chairman and lawmakers.
Q. What is your next move?
A. I'm planning to send the book to foreign ambassadors in South Korea and to 200 countries by the end of the year. Meanwhile, I'm working on Chinese version and on Samilsingo in English version set to publish within next year. As a follow-up project, I also plan to work on Chamjeongye 366. If I fulfill these tasks before I die, I think I would die in satisfaction and fly high to meet our ancestors to deliver this good news.
지윤석 기자 email@example.com