Earlier this year, my wife Cathy and I spent eight days being gently rushed around the South Korean peninsula as part of a project aimed at promoting a more fruitful dialogue between Buddhists and Christians. The seed of this idea was planted by my Korean doctoral student, Kyeongil Jung. But because of unexpected political and religious tensions, the seed blossomed into unexpected lessons of compassion in the wake of this unrest: earlier this year, fundamentalist Korean Christians over the course of several months, invaded and desecrated Buddhist temples in Seoul and Daegu, in an effort to exorcize the "demonic powers" there and proclaim the eventual triumph of Christianity.
But what is my purpose in choosing now to share my Korean experience with the reader? As another unexpected result of my trip, on September 15, you too, will have a privilege that I had while in South Korea: to "see in action" the compassion of Korea's most renowned Seon (Zen) Master and dharma descendant of Buddha, when he comes to the US for the first, and perhaps only, time.