Wednesday, January 4, 2012

In the Footsteps of Wonhyo -- A 21st Century Korean Pilgrimage

When the idea struck Tony MacGregor in 2007 to start a more than 400-kilometer-long modern-day pilgrimage in the footsteps of Wonhyo (617-686), Korea's most beloved monk, he wanted it to be more than just paying homage to the respected Buddhist figure.

So he gathered other expats who agreed with his cause, and on the morning of Sunday, Dec. 4, a five-member group set out on the journey that started in the southeastern city of Gyeongju, capital of Korea's Silla Kingdom, and ended in Dangjin, a short distance west of Seoul, last week.

"For the three years I had lived in Korea I was always touched by the kindness and generosity of Koreans," says the 66-year-old Canadian journalist. "Paying homage to one of Korea's most beloved monks was my way of giving something back to the country."

The pilgrimage itself is the first of its kind ever undertaken in honor of the revered monk, who found enlightenment in Dangjin in the 7th century while attempting to travel to China for more intense study of Buddhism. The story goes that he and a close friend took shelter from heavy rains one night while traveling. Wonhyo stumbled on what he thought was a gourd and quenched his thirst with cool drink from it. The next morning, he discovered that the gourd was a human skull and that the drink he found so refreshing was stale water....

Continue reading at Yonhap

In the Footsteps of Wonhyo

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