few years ago during a trip to Seoul I visited Sun Myung Moon’s first house, now a museum. It was a small and cramped house, where the foundation for teaching and deeds, called upon to "do away with sufferings of God and humanity," according to the founder’s words, was laid.
During my examination of the very humble exhibits, I recalled the words of the outstanding Russian philosopher Nikolai Berdyaev, who said that "one’s personality is the result of struggle." Berdyaev said that there’s no development of personality without the labors of the spirit on spiritual and corporal structure of human being. He said that personality "is pain, and lots of people agree to lose their personality, being unable to bear this pain."
I suddenly came to understand that the words of this philosopher truly reflect the essence of this man who started his activity in a tiny house together with just six followers, and who became a first-rate religious, social and political figure of our era and the herald of truth and peace in this world.
Any ideology based on narrow national, class and religious principles is bound to isolate people; only a philosophy which promotes unification, mutual understanding and a unified morality can be called truly common to all mankind. This is precisely the main essence of the social and political teachings of Sun Myung Moon and the hallmark of all his activities.
That’s why his ideas concerning the structure of the ideal world gained so many supporters all over the globe. Participating in various activities and international symposiums initiated by Dr. Moon convinced me this was true.
The most remarkable event was held on September 11, 2005. On that day we were gathered in New York for the First Assembly of the Universal Peace Federation. Three hundred people from more than a hundred countries went to the World Trade Center to pray for peace. With everyone holding candles, the representatives of different religious traditions offered prayers, and each of us, regardless of his or her own religious views, silently pledged to do his best to prevent such tragedies from being repeated. We pledged to make such words as "terrorism," "religious intolerance" and "national discord" disappear completely from international language and change them into such words as "cooperation," "taking into account mutual interests," "toleration" and "dialogue as equals."
The next day, more than 1,200 people gathered in the Lincoln Center and listened to the bright and vigorous speech of Dr. Moon, devoted to the founding of the Universal Peace Federation.
"Today, in front of all humanity," Dr. Moon said, "I’m declaring the founding of a new international organization, the Universal Peace Federation. Its mission is to renew the existing UN and perform on a new level the functions of an Abel-type UN in order to achieve global peace and thus realize the eternal God’s ideal of creation."
The path leading to such a triumph was long and thorny. There are lots of legends and conjectures that surround his personality. The majority of people just admire Dr. Moon’s activities; but there are others who feel the gall of hatred, envy and open aversion. However, even his opponents (if they are impartial) cannot help but recognize that Sun Myung Moon is an outstanding and charismatic person.
He was imprisoned six times, thrown in jails and concentration camps and subjected to tortures. Once in 1946 the jailers regarded him as dead and threw his body behind the prison fence into the snow. His followers found him there and saved his life. During the Korean war he lived in the port city of Busan in a hut made out of empty army-ration boxes, and worked as a dock worker. It was at that time that he built the first church, and with the help of an early disciple wrote down the first canonical text of the Divine Principle. More than 400 volumes of his speeches have now been published.
As a philosopher, religious scholar and totally secular man, I’m most attracted by the main component of Unification Theology, "headwing" thought, which belongs to neither the right wing or left wing but unites and reconciles both sides instead. That was indeed the foundation for the international recognition of Dr. Moon’s social, politic and humanitarian activities.
His wife, Hak Ja Han Moon, is his devoted assistant, companion and friend. They raised wonderful children, who have become active proponents of their parents’ ideas. I think that even if Mr. and Mrs. Moon had accomplished only one cultural project, such the Little Angels School for the Arts and the Universal Ballet Company, which have gained worldwide acclaim, they could still rightfully claim a special place in the cultural history of not only Korea but the world. Every visitor to the Little Angels School admires their incredible love of children and commitment to the development of their unique talents. As a teacher, I know that commitment when I see it.
How strong our love for others would be if we applied so much effort into harmonizing interpersonal attitudes! Leo Tolstoy, a great humanist and fighter for toleration, was right when he wrote that if you don’t feel love towards people, then just sit still and concern yourself with your own problems and other things, and don't try to change other people.
The hearts of Mr. and Mrs. Moon are filled with great love towards all people. That’s why they cannot look with indifference upon all the pain and bloody contradictions in our world; they cannot help but invest in the cause of general reconciliation and elimination of suffering. They reject the painful effects of extreme individualism and seek to educate people about tolerance and building world peace.
An enormous work has been carried out by Dr. Moon and his associates in establishing peace embassies in different countries. Peace embassies are the vivifying and creative source of peace. In Russian the word mir means both world, or my living environment, on one hand, and also peace, life without conflict and war, on the other hand.
Peace embassies are being created to protect the purity of the environment and spirit (or "moral ecology") from evil, violence or conflict. As the famous Russian poet Rasul Gamzatov said, "If you’re born on Earth, you should love and decorate it with your life."
Ambassadors for Peace have played a large role in promoting peace and harmony. This rank is conferred on "leaders who defend high ideals of unselfishly serving others in the name of developing mutual understanding between nations and harmonious relationship between religions, which advocate moral purity among youth and help in consolidating families as the foundation for society."
Yes, our world lives on a powder keg: wars break out here and there, and religion becomes the main trunk in the hands of carpetbaggers. However, if we look into the matter, the essence of the problem is not so much religion serving as a cloak for such monsters as unbridled nationalism, fanaticism and ignorance. The issue goes beyond personal moral purity; nationalism and fanaticism not only have a bad stench but they rot the spirits of their adherents.
The activities of Dr. Moon help to heal human souls from this kind of rotting; they appeal to each of us not to pass by such a severe disease of society, not to close ourselves inside the shell of indifference but to widen our soul and become sensitive to the pain of other people. We should reflect upon how to achieve unity and overcome the alienation and resistance of even religious people. Fortunately, this appeal of Dr. Moon finds a growing response in the hearts of not only politicians and religious figures but the ordinary people of the world as well. We want to express our great gratitude towards Rev. Moon for this. As the great Kazakh poet Abai Qunanbayuli said: "For you, O Real Man, I offer my recognition."