“My Soul Always with Mountains”
Mother Park Chung Soo, 2023.2
Mother Park Chung Soo, who quietly lives an ascetic life on the third floor of the “House with a Life Story”, a museum located at the foot of Mt. Munsusan in Yongin City, after retiring from the Gangnam Temple of Won Buddhism, for which she served for 26 years, published recently a new book of “My Soul Always with Mountains”.
My Soul Always with Mountain, 2023.5
Book Publishing Company (President Park Han-soo> published the climbing book on Teacher's Day, combining Mother Park's experiences which she frequently climbed Mt. Bukhansan, Mt. Moaksan, Mt. Sobaeksan and Mt. Seorocksan when she was young and the Alfs in Switzerland and Mt. Sinai in Egypt in her later days, and Park's gem-like column reported in the media until December 2022. President Park Han-soo expected that her vivid and beautiful mountain stories and media columns will give great comfort and encouragement to modern people suffering from material civilization rather than the pictures, for the author shows with clear eyes and mind while traveling the blue sky and wide land of the world.
Professor Song InYeup at Korea National University of Education expressed surprise that Mother Park's past 60 years of activities deserve to be called the “Park Chung Soo International Cooperation Agency” far beyond a religious monk’s activities. Professor Song called it an unbelievable miracle saying that, “The Korea
International Cooperation Agency (KOICA) helps 130 countries with a budget more than one billion dollars set by the government and 500 experts, but Mother Park Chung Soo raised money alone and helped 55 countries only with her own and volunteer’s hands.” Professor Song was impressed after reading more than 10 books of Mother Park, whom he first met in August 2022 while cheering for Peace Marathoner Kang Myongku, and thought that the author's activities should serve as a model for every nation of the world which the author loved beyond Korea. So he translated into English and published in April 2023 one of Mother Park’s books, “A House with a Life Story I (domestic activities) and II (overseas activities), published in Korean. in 2020,
A House with a Life Story I & II by Siwol Publishing Co., 2023.4
at Mahabodhi Nursing Home in Ladakh, India(left) at Mahabodhi Dormitory in Ladakh, India
Professor Song InYeup, being dubbed ‘the eternal KOICAman’, personally visited, checked on the spot and filmed the snow mountain area of Ladakh in North India in March 2023, where Mother Park has devoted herself to the past 40 years. He visited
Mahabodi Dormitory Elementary and High School, which was established in 1992, to convey Mother Park's love to about 800 students and encourage them. In addition, he visited the nursing home to convey Park's love and politely bowed to all the elders in a traditional Korean style. In addition, he confirmed that Karuna
Elementary, middle and high school(left) Mahabodi boarding, Ladakh, India
General Charity Hospital, established by Mother Park in 1997, was being under renovation from January to June 2023 with the state budget and that only dentistry was in operation at that time.
Professor Kim Moon-hwan of Seoul National University, a Christian, who happened to witness Mother Park Chung Soo who served at the St. Lazaro Village, a village of HansAAen's disease patients as a catholic facility, for more than 40 years, was moved to write a long poem called ‘Clear Blue Sky(Chung) and Outstanding Water(Soo)’, and the poem was composed by Composer Lee Won-pa as a cantata and performed in Seoul and Iksan in 2016 to impress many people.
Mother Park Chung Soo became a monk of Won Buddhism as her mother wished and taught when she was a child and not only rooted Won Buddhism in Gangnam, Seoul, but also helped 55 countries by visiting poor and underprivileged villages over the world. Mother Park has been actively engaged in relief activities in disaster areas in 55 global countries, including North Korea. such as building nine schools, two general hospitals, a nursing home, two daycare centers, two reservoirs, digging 74 village-common wells, removing landmines in Cambodia and Afghanistan, providing medicine to 12 African countries through KOICA, sending winter clothes to snow mountain area in the Indian Himalayas, Yanbian in China and Pyongyang, and sending summer clothes to Cambodia and Sri Lanka. Mother Park also built 60 rooms of the Guest House for the operation of the schools, hospitals, and daycare centers which she had built and still supports five thousand US dollars per month for the insufficient operation expenses through the Chung Soo Sharing Practice Society she had founded.
at St. Lazaro Hansen’s Village, 2005.2.9.(left) at Cantata Park Perfoming Place 2018.6
In addition, she has been volunteering at St. Lazaro Hansen Village, a Catholic facility, for more than 40 years and actively participated in Christianity's ‘Collection of Sacred Rice Movemen’ and Buddhism's ‘Scently Movement’ to fulfill the mission of religious people who should harmonize with each other beyond the walls between religions.
For such activities, she was awarded the Korean Red Cross Gold Philanthropy as well as the Korea National Medal of Magnolia. She was also awarded the Ambedkar International Prize in India and the Sahametray Royal Medal in Cambodia.
In 2010, 97 people, including Professor Lee Kwang-kyu of Seoul National University and Minister Kim Sung-jin, recommended Mother Park Chung Soo to the Nobel Peace Prize, but at that time, China's human rights issue suddenly emerged and China's Liu Xiaobo (劉曉波) was selected, leaving us disappointed. Lee Wan-kyu, director of the LUX building in Seongnam, who accidentally saw Park's < A House with a Life story> and <My Soul Always with Mountains> at his friend's house and borrowed them to read through because they were unusual, said Mother Park is truly <a living saint next to us>.
with Mother and Younger Sister, 1973(left) with Mother and Younger Sister, 1937
with her friend Park do-wan, 1966(left) in front of her museum,, 2016
Park Sung-chul of Sillim-dong said that when he first encountered ‘My Soul Always with Mountains’ and ‘A House with a Life Story’, he was fascinated by Park's global service life and turned the page with curiosity, but as well as the author's amazing activities, the sentences were simple and beautiful, so he read through the thick books without knowing the time and was greatly impressed. Eom Kyung-sook, head of the Kkotteul Healing Recitation Center at the International Hana Arts Association, said, “These books are of great literary value beyond the records of Mother Park’s volunteer activities, so I hope there will be a chance to recite the next verse like a poem.” :
Mt. Bukhansan, when the sunset was about to fall down, had a softer mountain color. I heard the sound of a wild pigeon somewhere. The sound I used to hear in the mountain village in my childhood, it's a warm and heart-fluttering sound whenever I hear it.
When I hear the sound of water, the sound of the wind, the song of the birds in the mountains, all the choruses of nature, my soul seems to have been washed cleanly. Mt. Bukhansan is a resting place for my soul. When I come down from the mountain, my eyes looking at things seem to clear up. (Page 15)
at her study room in Yong-in, 2019(left) with cats in her backyard, 2020
Her museum, House with a Life Story, 2023(left) Her museum, House with a Life Story, 2023
Beyond the religious barrier, 2003(left) Beyond the religious barrier, 2006
I looked down at Lake Lehmann from the balcony in front of my room whenever I had time. The joy of waking up early in the morning and opening the window wide and welcoming the Lehmann was very great. Sometimes it was foggy, and when the weather was clear, a cloud like white cotton settled gently. Looking at Lake Lehmann, my mind became quiet and calm. And I felt like I was silently with someone who was deep inside and couldn't understand his mind, and I felt comfortable with a generous person who embraced everything. Lake Lehmann sometimes read me a beautiful poem, sometimes playing music with a fine melody, and sometimes changing its appearance with a watercolor painting that was faithful to perspective. Looking down at Lake Lehmann, which is surrounded by Alpine peaks with white snow in the distance like a folding screen, my heart was at peace and my emotions were enriched. When the sun, which had distributed bright light and all the energy of life evenly over the earth for a daytime, laid a long golden carpet on Lake Lehman to say goodbye to the day, the lake surface shone brilliantly with the twilight red light. At night, when fine lanterns were born in small villages by the lake, Lake Lehmann hid its face in a fantastic mystery. (page 62)
At the age of twenty-seven like a full blooming flower,
I passed away from my husband
But it's my pleasure to raise you, my two daughters
Big baby, little baby,
There is another way even in a woman’s life!
With the universe as a house and the world as a roof
Raise it with the clean water,
Wake up with the spring breeze! (Page 198)
Agricultuaral Dam site in Cambodia, 2003(lefy) Removing mines in Cambodia, 1999
Ladakh, north India, 2000(left) Bengalulu, south India, 1994
Sending winter clothes to Ladakh, 1995(left) Ladakh, north India, 1995
When you grow up, make sure you become a monk of Won Buddhism. if it's the case, live for a lot of people and make a big living. So my biggest dream since childhood was to become a monk of Won Buddhism. (page 251)
Mother Park Chung Soo smiled calmly, saying that, “Even though I am not an exposed mountaineer, I was born at the foot of Mt. Jirisan, and I enjoyed climbing mountains all my life, and now I live looking at the mountains from the foot of Mt. Munsusan, so my relationship with the mountains is 87 years old.”
Helping North Korea
Child Care Center in Cambodia since 2002
Helping Africa with KOICA since 1991(left) in Kenya, 1993
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