Monday, September 29, 2003

...but before Hindu cosmology...

...I had to note two posts.

One, from Amritas, which remains one of the blogs I most admire, is a linguistic romp through the fields of East Asian language. Learn about the phenomenon of assimilation (understood in its linguistic sense), gain a little understanding about how Koreans and Chinese put together sounds and meaning (keep in mind that Koreans use an alphabet, while Chinese is a dynamic set of characters), and speculate on Dr. Miyake's question at the end of his post: who "sees the sounds" in East Asian Buddhism?

My guess: Avalokiteshvara, Bodhisattva of Compassion, known in Sino-Korean as "Kwan-eum," in Chinese as "Kuan Yin," and in Japanese as "Kannon." There's a hanja pronounced "eum" in Sino-Korean; it means "sound," and I'm guessing that this is what's being paired with "kwan."

Go here and learn a bit about the Kwan-um School of Korean Zen. There's a picture of Master Seung Sahn on that page (author of The Compass of Zen, The Whole World is a Single Flower, Only Don't Know, and Dropping Ashes on the Buddha-- all available in English). His Western disciple Hyon Gak is the monk (sunim, pronounced "sneem") who lectures at Hwagye-sa.

UPDATE, October 2: I was right. For a very full explanation, visit Amritas here.

The other item of note is this editorial in the online Korea Times that discusses North Korea's latest overreaction to South Korea, and the nettlesome issue of the high suicide rate in SK. Some juicy quotes:

Pyongyang Overreacts
North Rejects Southern Legislators' Goodwill Visit


North Korea demanded Saturday that the National Assembly apologize for the Culture and Tourism Committee's decision to have a 19-member panel visit the two Northern cities on Oct. 6-9 as part of the Assembly's ongoing three-week investigation of the Roh Moo-hyun administration's management of state affairs.

In a fax sent to the Ministry of Unification, the North called upon the South's Assembly to apologize for the panel's decision and withdraw it, protesting that the projected visit infringes on the sovereign rights of North Korea and aims to disrupt the foundation of inter-Korean relations.

The North warned that unless their demand is met, grave consequences will result for the relationship between Seoul and Pyongyang.

In the face of the strong protest from North Korea, the chairman of the Assembly panel expressed his regret for the North's misunderstanding of the true nature of the lawmakers' visits to the two cities and called on the North to allow the travel.

The lawmakers sought to attend the opening ceremony for the Chung Ju-yong Gymnasium in Pyongyang on Oct. 6, which was built by Hyundai in memory of the deceased conglomerate founder, and attend an inter-Korean goodwill basketball game to be played there in the name of peaceful reunification of the peninsula.


North Korea interpreted the Southern lawmakers' plan to investigate the possible destruction of some cultural assets in Kaesong because of Hyundai's current construction of an industrial complex in the border city as intervention in Northern affairs.

The latest row has again demonstrated how fragile the relationship between the Koreas still is despite the South's consistent aid to help undernourished people living in the world's most reclusive country.

Many people in the South are fed up with Pyongyang's stubborn and childish reactions to happenings in South Korea, such as the burning of North Korean flags by conservative protestors.

We sincerely call upon the North to immediately do away with its irresponsible behavior toward the South and be patient so as to expand inter-Korean relations based on mutual trust.

You've seen this pattern before. You'll see it again, because this is what dysfunctional relationships look like.

"One people" indeed.

I'm also curious as to who these "many in the South" folks are. Please come forward!

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