[KS] Funeral for Zo Zayong
David A. Mason
mntnwolf at well.com
Mon Apr 10 05:54:25 EDT 2000
"To die but not be forgotten is true longevity"
(Lao tzu, Tao Te Ching #33, Ma-wang-tui text
translated by V. Mair and R. Henricks).
On Wednesday April 5th 2000 (Arbor Day, Hanshik, 3rd
new moon), we gathered under clear blue heaven on the
southern slope of Sogni-sans Cheon-hwang-bong to
grant the late "Horae" Dr. Zo Zayong just a bit of
that sort of "true longevity".
With me was Eugene Craig Campbell (of the KNTO)
and his family, and David Prendergast (grad student
in Korean anthropology) and his wife Kimberly.
I was thankful for their kind company.
We found Zo's tomb rather easily, while it was still
under construction by a team of workers. Zo had
prepared the site in advance, just above one of his
houses where he held educational festivals. It is at
the opening of a deep valley which is dominated by a
huge granite outcropping called the *Inja-bawi*, which
strikingly resembles the head of a tiger. Horae loved
that bawi, and once intended to erect a large shrine
for Tan-gun beneath it; it seems appropriate that his
body now rests there.
The tomb is a rectangular mound with white-granite
side-walls. Horaes name is carved into the front wall
in English, with the spelling "DR. CHO JA YONG", which I
found curious. There is a square-block granite altar in
front of it, carved with Chinese characters in the
traditional way. Off to the right stand three gray man-
sized oval-shaped stones, carved in relief by Horae
himself with his favorite deities: Chil-seong (left),
San-shin (right), and Sam-shin Halmoni (center). They
represent a trinity of Heaven, Earth and Humanity.
Thus, Zo's tomb-site is also a permanent shrine for
his folk-religion ideas, by his own design.
At 5pm we joined Zo's family members (widow, nieces
and nephews, some neighbor-friends) for his memorial
service. They seemed surprised and pleased to have us
there. We told them of the international scholarly
community's high respect for Dr. Zo, and conveyed the
regards and condolences of all of you who would have
liked to have been there but couldn't.
I gave a copy of my book _Spirit of the Mountains_ to
his widow, explaining how he had inspired it, and she
placed it on his tomb just behind the altar, as an
offering. I'd like to think that it made him smile...
We put the rice-wine and various foods that we had
brought on the altar together with the family's offerings.
The ritual was traditional and solemn. I had prepared
a eulogy-speech, but dropped the idea when his nephew
expressed that he wanted the ritual to remain purely old-
Korean-style. Instead I just prayed to Horae's spirit
from myself and on behalf of those of you who asked
me to do so. When the family was done offering the
makkoli and bowing they gestured for me to take a turn;
I was so overcome with emotion that I didn't perform
the ritual correctly. No-one seemed to mind.
Afterwards we ate the offered-foods and talked, then
said our farewells. I left my celadon wine-cups there,
so after driving back to the Beobju-sa area to drop
David and Kim off, I had to drive all the way back to
get them. The tomb-area was then peacefully deserted
in the fading glow of the setting sun, so I took the
opportunity for a more extended and personal session
of bowing, chanting and prayer.
I spent Thursday just exploring temples amid the
truly MAGNIFICENT scenery of Sogni-san National Park,
enjoying another perfect blue sky day. At one point
I found a small "San-shin-je-dang" [Mountain-spirit-
ritual-shrine] belonging to a village near Beobju-sa,
just the sort of place that Horae loved and strove to
preserve. So I conducted yet another little ceremony
for him there, assuring his spirit that he will not be
forgotten, and that the understanding and preservation
of Korea's traditional culture will never cease.
Then I went on with my searching for Mountain-spirit
paintings, photographing them and analyzing their
variations --- in a small humble way, one among many,
carrying his lifeswork just a little bit further onwards.
David A. Mason
Wonju City, Korea
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