For 40 years, his food each day was only one meal and his transportation only walking. And yet he lived to be 91. He slept at night on a plank which one day would be at the bottom of his casket. He felt he was one with the universe. The Kyeongyang Catholic magazine gives us some thoughts on Yu Yeong Mo 1890-1981, by a professor emeritus, head of a research institute. Yu, also called Taksok, was searching for a way everyone could easily follow in living together in peace. It all depended, he believed, on our habits of eating and reproduction.
played a prominent role in his life and was an important motivating
influence on his thought. Though baptized as a Protestant, he had his own understanding of Christianity. The professor says that if we copied
his way of living, the problems of the 21st century would be solved.
Even though we may not agree with Taksok, the professor says
he can teach us something worth knowing.
Korean, the word for 'life' has not only the biological meaning it has
in many other languages,
but also the metaphysical meaning of the breath of life that comes from
God. For Taksok, giving up the biological understanding of eating and
reproduction is required if we are to follow God's understanding. The
body is born to die, the ego must die for the spirit to live.
Word of God plays a prominent
role in Taksok's thinking, but skipping over many of his ideas let us
focus on one of the most upsetting. For him,
whenever we eat, we
are participating in a funeral rite. The following explanation sums up
his surprising words: the mouth is a tomb since we are putting living
remains into our mouth. Though there is of course a
difference between animal and plant life, they are all living
us to eat, he says, other living matter has to die. So
everyone of our meals can be considered a funeral for the matter being
eaten is or was alive, and is the reason he reduced his meals to one a
day. In place of the other two meals typically consumed, he would say,
eating from the flesh of my body, and offering it up in sacrifice." For
Taksok, this was the zenith of prayer.
for Koreans, is the sacrificial offering. St. Paul said that our bodies
are temples of God.
Those that understand this have the right understanding of what eating
means. What I eat, I'm offering up to God. Without this thinking,
according to Taksok,
whenever we eat, we are stealing. The act of eating itself is only
possible because of God's
grace and the abundance of nature and the numberless workers who
produce and distribute that abundance to all of us. We should reflect on
this, says the professor, every time we eat.
we were to accept Taksok's intriguing idea that eating is a
participation in a funeral and a
sacrifice, feeding 7 billion inhabitants of the world would not be such a
huge problem. The solution might at least begin by reducing the size of
our bodies by less feeding of the body. Tightening the belt surrounding
our greed, he says, is the way to accomplish the goal, which would lead
naturally to more sharing and serving of others.