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Finally Finding My True Master - A Korean Monk Returns to Secular Life to Practice Falun Dafa

May 31, 2023 |   By a Falun Dafa practitioner in South Korea

(Minghui.org) An ordained monk, who entered a Buddhist temple in search of the meaning of life, decided to return to the secular world and practice Falun Dafa after reading the book Zhuan Falun. This is the story of 48-year-old Park Dongseok, who lives on Jeju Island in South Korea.

Leaving the monastic life, Park Dongseok started life anew on beautiful Jeju Island. Faced with the complex environment of modern society, Park Dongseok strives to cast off human notions, cultivating diligently.

Becoming a Buddhist Monk at the Age of 29

In 2001, Park Dongseok, a graduate of the Korea National University of Education, was working as a lecturer at a school in Anyang City, Gyeonggi-do Province, when a college classmate handed him a book of Buddhist scriptures. A cascade of questions behind the meaning of life followed, “Who am I? What is the origin of life? Where will I go when I die? Can cultivation allow one to transcend life and death?”

The growing emptiness within Park Dongseok began to interfere with his everyday work and life. Upon realizing the secular world held no answers to his questions, he decided to become a monk. Assuming he was trying to escape from a harsh reality, his workplace colleagues tried to dissuade him. In contrast, Park Dongseok’s family calmly accepted his decision, convinced it was driven by a predestined relationship with Buddha, rather than the human notion of curiosity.

At first, Park Dongseok found it hard to adjust to his new monastic lifestyle. After morning worship, the monks would have breakfast before studying the Buddhist scriptures, reviewing what they learned in the morning each afternoon. They also had to help with various chores, such as farming, chopping firewood, lighting fires, and making kimchi. For Park Dongseok, the requirement to wake up at 4 a.m. each day was the worst kind of torture.

After three years, monastic life began to change Park Dongseok’s moral values and how he treated others. Yet after adapting to his new lifestyle, Park Dongseok’s desire to find a true way became more consuming. No longer satisfied with his current level of cultivation, he began looking for a master who could guide him to cultivate toward higher levels. Despite talking to many senior monks, Park Dongseok remained unconvinced that any of them was the master he was looking for.

A Life-Changing Book

In 2006, while visiting Donghwasa Temple in Daegu to cultivate, he was loading some luggage into a van when he spotted a Falun Dafa brochure titled “The True Path to Health” stuck on the van’s windshield. Park Dongseok opened the flyer and read, “With the characteristics of the universe, Truthfulness-Compassion-Forbearance, at its core, a high-level Buddhist practice that cultivates according to the principles of the universe.” Park Dongseok’s interest was immediately piqued.

He bought copies of the Falun Dafa books Falun Gong and Zhuan Falun and began reading them on his own. He started learning the exercise movements by imitating the photos in the book Falun Gong. One month later, he repeatedly watched online exercise videos. In this way, Park Dongseok managed to master the exercise movements.

The first page of Zhuan Falun left Park Dongseok amazed and electrified, “My intuition told me, although the contents of Zhuan Falun were presented in the form of a qigong practice, it was an unusual book. The contents of every page were so precious, I found myself reluctant to turn the page. After reading the entire book, I was convinced Master Li Hongzhi was the master I had been searching for. The descriptions of the microcosm, macrocosm, Earth’s history, and structure of the universe alone elevated my view of the world and universe to a new level.”

“Zhuan Falun covers many high-level cultivation principles never revealed before such as the difference between original Buddhism and the later Mahayana Buddhism. The difference in approach between the salvation of oneself of Buddhism, versus the salvation through a savior of Christianity. Questions I encountered while reading the description of the universe in the Avatamsaka Sutra were fully and thoroughly answered in the book. I could hardly believe such a teacher existed in our era.”

Returning to Cultivate in the Secular World

Falun Dafa practitioners study Zhuan Falun to cultivate their minds while practicing the five sets of exercises to purify their bodies. After cultivating Falun Dafa, Park Dongseok gained inner peace and insights into the mechanics of the world around him. Poor blood circulation had left his hands and feet cold to the touch year-round. After taking up cultivation, his limbs became warm and his body full of energy.

Over time, Park Dongseok found it harder to remain in the temple while his heart was set on cultivating Falun Dafa. Twelve years after he was first ordained, he returned to the secular world and devoted himself to cultivating Falun Dafa.

He said, “Returning to the secular world was more distressing than my transition to monkhood. After twelve years, I had fully adapted to the life of a monk. I had to worry about making a living in the secular world, and what my family would think of my decision. Unexpectedly, my family accepted my decision without a fuss. I realized I had been too attached to others’ opinions.”

At the beginning, Park Dongseok found it hard to adapt to life in the secular world. Temples typically maintain a peaceful environment, allowing one to maintain a calm state of mind. Conversely, modern society is fraught with complications and temptations in every corner. Park Dongseok discovered the importance of remaining unmoved by human notions and maintaining the will to cultivate diligently.

He said, “Compared to temples or monasteries, Falun Dafa teaches that one’s family or workplace is the best environment for cultivating one’s moral character. As they deal with problems encountered in daily life, practitioners eliminate their human attachments, cultivate faster and achieve higher cultivation levels as a result.”

“After practicing Falun Dafa, my way of life and thinking became very simple. Having found the true meaning of life, I’m optimistic and full of gratitude. Having found what I was looking for, my search for a high-level practice is over.”

After returning to the secular world, Park Dongseok chose to live on Jeju Island and works as a hotel manager. During his spare time, he studies the Fa, practices the exercises, and tells people about Falun Dafa and how it’s persecuted by the Chinese Communist Party (CCP).

He said, “Falun Dafa is an amazing practice. It has brought benefits to many and taught countless others how to be morally upright. However, it remains under persecution by the CCP in China. Deceived by false government propaganda, the Chinese are taught to hate Falun Dafa. When I encounter Chinese tourists, I explain how the CCP has deceived them, let them know the goodness of Falun Dafa, and show them the large numbers of practitioners we have around the world.”

He said finally, “Although Falun Dafa is right before us, many remain clueless about it. I hope people who read this article can let go of their personal notions and prejudices, and objectively read Zhuan Falun. Perhaps, like me, you will find that this high-level cultivation practice holds the answers you have been looking for. I hope more people will realize their predestined relationship with Falun Dafa and discover their true purpose in life.”