Friday, October 09, 2015

Buddhism's Jehovah's Witnesses

I stupidly gave W4,000 in cash to a solicitor in my apartment building. She said she was Buddhist, and that she was helping the marginalized elderly (poor, homeless, Alzheimer's-stricken), so I thought she'd be different from the Jehovah's Witnesses roaming the grounds (this sort of soliciting would likely be illegal in the States), but in the end, she was no different. She tried to sell me on a temple program that I should attend on behalf of my dead mother (I made the mistake of mentioning that Mom had passed six years ago), and she went on and on about superstitious nonsense that had little to do with philosophically sound Buddhism. Unfortunately, even with Buddhism, God and Mammon often walk hand in hand, so certain monks have a stake in peddling bullshit to the masses to keep raking in the dough. I'm just angry at myself for wasting several minutes of my life listening to this smiling lady with her foot in my doorway. That's time I'll never get back. Next time, I'll do what most expats do and feign ignorance of Korean. Meanwhile, it's disappointing to have met the Buddhist equivalent of the goddamn Jehovah's Witnesses.

Oh, and I'm out four bucks. Fuck.



SJHoneywell said...

I like to invite JWs in for whiskey and cigarettes. Mormons, too. That runs 'em right off the front step.

At least it was just $4, man. At least you didn't sign over your rent check to her.

John (I'm not a robot) said...

I've often been curious how the Buddhists generate the revenue to support all those temples dotting the mountainsides. I mean, tithing is not a thing, is it? I've never seen Jee Yeun financially support her faith at least.

Kevin Kim said...


I appreciate the support. I once stood on my front porch in northern Virginia and argued theology with a Jehovah's Witness. I doubt it went anywhere.


Yeah, tithing is a specifically biblical, Judeo-Christian concept. But Buddhists aren't shy about asking for money: at the end of every dharma talk at Hwagye Temple, American monk Hyon Gak sunim would joke, "We love King Sejong here!"—a reference, as you know, to W10,000 bills.