From Schoolmate to Disciple – Part 3

A refugee camp and scenes of life in Busan during the Korean War


By Aum Duk-moon

Part 3 (final) Click to read Part 1 and Part 2

There were some people who met Father very early on in life, and whose insights are therefore precious for us to glean now. One of the earliest disciples of Father’s was, at first, more a friend than a follower. Aum Duk-moon was born in Seoul on March 10, 1919. He met Father at the Waseda Technical High School in Tokyo in 1941. He was a year older than Father; both were in their early twenties. Remarkably their lives intertwined, and they met again in Busan during the Korean War, at which time Father had traveled south after being released from Hungnam labor camp. The content prepared here is drawn from two separate accounts given by Mr. Aum.


Building our own place

At that time, Father began to write down the Divine Principle. Until then, he had only talked about it, but from then on, he began to write it down. He began writing on old school test papers with a pencil. He wrote so fast that Kim Won-pil sat by him and sharpened pencils for him. As soon as he was given a new pencil, he continued to write. There was no time to sharpen pencils. In that way, Father wrote day and night.

I felt so sorry that Father had to live in these circumstances. All the good locations to live were already taken. The only places left were the hills on the outskirts of Pusan. Refugees from the war had taken up most of the sites even there; almost no unoccupied land could be found. In Beom-II Dong we finally found a site.

We dug up the ground a little, but water flowed out over the rocks. We couldn’t dig there anymore, so we left it as it was. We arranged some stones to make a sort of channel for the water to run off. We used stone and clay for the foundation, and found wood and bought cardboard left over from grocery stores for the walls. We made a little window and covered the roof with paper. The house was barely big enough for three men to stay in.

When we stood up the top of our heads grazed the ceiling. We were able to sit down at the center, but at the sides the room was barely three feet in height.

Around September, the house was completed. To other people, it looked very poor, but to us it seemed to be a palace, because we had been pushed around for so long by so many other people, being forced to move from one place to another. For a dining table, we used an apple crate, and we ate our meals outside the house because it was too cramped inside. But we were so happy. In our eyes, that hut was like a palace.

At night we spread out futons on the floor. I had new futons and bedding that had been made for me by my wife’s family at the time we married. My futon was thick and long because I was tall. It wide as well as long, and once it was spread out over that straw matting, it made a very warm, wonderful bed. It was winter then, and when the futon was spread out in full, three people could sleep together on it.

The way we managed it was like this: Father and I slept on the sides, with our heads facing the same direction, and Mr. Kim slept in the middle between us, with his head in the opposite direction.

He transcended such matters as how he dressed, ate and lived, and he didn’t sleep very much. So at night, when Beomnetgol seemed stuffy, we’d climb the hill behind the village to a big rock. When you looked down from that big, flat rock, which was like sitting in a pavilion. You could see the port that was full of American ships, which were all brightly lit. We’d look down at them, and he’d ask me to sing. When I was young, I liked to sing, but I didn’t know popular songs. I liked classical music and arias. He never seemed to stop once he started asking me to sing. He’d ask me to sing again and again and when I’d finished he’d ask if I knew any other songs. Once it got started, it lasted at least two hours.

He wouldn’t sleep much at night. We’d be tired out and sleeping, and when we woke up, he’d already have cooked breakfast for us. We didn’t have a kitchen at that time so the outdoors served as our kitchen, He would wake us up and tell us to have breakfast. He was very frugal and would not be concerned for himself at all. What can I say? You can’t even find a mother in the whole world who is like that!

From that small hut, we later moved into another house, which we rented. It had a floor, heating system and kitchen. To us the little hut had felt like a palace, so the new house was like a palace of palaces. Witnessing started in earnest during this period.

Father always spoke to me of truth, beauty and goodness. During the night, spirit world taught me more concretely about the truth, beauty and goodness of the kingdom of heaven.

On the basis of Father’s teachings and the revelations I received from Heavenly Father, I studied more about architecture. Truly, nature is the model of all beauty, and no matter how profoundly people study science, they can never surpass nature. Nature and goodness are complementary, and every relationship is a form of give and take action.

Because of Father, I am an architect today. I know I exist for the building of the kingdom of heaven, not for myself. That is why Heavenly Father led me to study architecture. Therefore, I am truly grateful to Heavenly Father and True Parents. I feel that each individual exists to participate in the building of the heavenly kingdom. I always told Father, “I will be a responsible person. I will be the architect of the kingdom of heaven.”

Father’s great merit lies in his single-hearted devotion; he hasn’t changed at all for decades. Being persecuted and abused and taken to the police station was not a problem for him; when it came to the providence, he never changed. He has kept to the one path without changing, just going his way, even though he had to confront death and many hardships.

When we met, Father would reminisce about the time when he was persecuted by others, but that I still recognized him and understood him, and that even in the difficult times—such as when we lived in Busan and we were persecuted, abused, and in the end, thrown out by a fearsome old woman who was the owner—I still stood by his side and worked with him.

We must not neglect anything that Father teaches. Some people have a great capacity to receive, while others’ capacity is smaller, but whatever our capacity may be, we have to receive everything we are capable of. The Principle is wonderful. But even a good medicine, if taken too much at time, can become poison. Therefore, Father doesn’t explain everything at once, but leads us step by step in our understanding of truth.

During his life Mr. Aum became quite a well-known architect in Korea and built up quite a large architectural firm. He designed landmark buildings such as the Sejong Center for the Performing Arts and a number of buildings associated with our movement, such as the Dowon Building (which is covered in last week’s One-minute Spotlight on the International Headquarters Facebook page) and the Sunhwa Arts School and Little Angels Performing Arts Center. He passed away in the summer of 2012, just a few months before True Father himself ascended, and was honored with a national-level Seonghwa Ceremony

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