The following is a letter written by Myung Joo Cheon, a high level female “master” in Dahnhak hierarchy when she resigned in 1999. “Susungnim” is a term meaning “Spiritual Teacher and Master) and refers exclusively to Ilchi Lee, or Seung Heun Lee, the founder of Dahnhak and Brain Respiration.
To my fellow disciples of Ilchi, all of whom I love. This is SongHwaJang [spiritual name given to select disciples by Ilchi Lee, denoting special favors and achievements]. My real name is Myung Joo Cheon.
Since I tendered my resignation, it seems inappropriate to use terms such as Susungnim [Spiritual Master], Sajae [Younger disciple], or Sahyung [Older disciple]. After today, I will no longer use these terms, so associated with the group of disciples of Ilchi. However, forgive me using these terms just for today, since they are so familiar to me.
I know that there are many Jidojas [term referring to Ilchi’s followers – literal meaning: leaders] who are raging against me. However, I felt the overriding need to expose the truth to the
heavens above and to all the younger disciples who believe that they are leading the way toward the creation of Utopia on earth.
I also beg your forgiveness for exposing the truth on the internet for all to see, instead of mailing this letter to Susungnim [Term exclusively reserved for Ilchi Lee in Dahnhak]. If I were to send this letter to Susungnim only, no one else would be able to see its contents. Also, since there are now over 100,000 followers of Dahnhak, I thought that this matter needed to be judged by the standards of the society in general. I agonized over this decision to make these words public. Until now, I thought that everything was my fault, that I was somehow to blame for all the wrongs that I saw in Dahnhak. I thought it was my perspective that was skewed. However, now I realize that the Tao [as taught in Dahnhak] cannot bear open scrutiny, then it does not have the power to make the world into a utopia.
Also, since there are over 100,000 people practicing Dahnhak, this is no longer the problem of an individual. The regular Dahnhak masters have so much that they don’t know about Susungnim and the upper management of Dahnhak, yet they act heedlessly because they only have access to the information fed to them and, therefore, do not have the power to judge objectively. I needed so much help from those around me in order to be able to finally see this whole situation in an objective light. I thought it was my last duty as a Dahnhak master to tell the truth as I felt it to all the younger masters.
My people are curious why I left Dahnhak and Susungnim, whom I considered to be equal to heaven. They ask whether I still respect Susungnim, whether I still believe in Dahnhak. Some even say that Susungnim forced me to quit in order to protect me.
Until now, my singular belief in Susungnim was the only thing that drove me, because I believed that whatever Susungnim did would lead to Utopia and save my people and the world. I thought it was only proper that Susungnim be at the center of all there is to Dahnhak.
However I eventually realized that everything Susungnim did was to gain more wealth and power, that Dahnhak is just another institutional tool to gain more power and wealth that was externally packaged as an selfless organization working for Korean people and humanity as a whole while demanding undying loyalty from its young masters.
I had a very difficult time reaching these realizations. More so, because I received a lot of love and generosity from Susungnim personally. I also worried that, by publicizing these internal problems, I was giving ammunition to those other groups who sought to oppose the Dahngun movement that we were engaged in.
I worried that others who have nothing to do with all this will somehow benefit from these negative information. I worried that many innocent Dahn masters and key members would be stigmatized as belonging to a weird cult and therefore have social difficulties.
Maybe [by releasing these negative information] I was making their lives too difficult when they were only working for Recovery of Korean Spirit, Dahngun, and Utopia.
Maybe I was sowing doubts into their pure motivation and feelings about Tao, enlightenment, and soul and making them too cynical to continue this work.
All these worries I considered. I had even decided to go quietly. However, I changed my mind. Many people helped me make this difficult decision by giving me the ability to see Dahnhak and Susungnim for what they really were. I really thought, at the direction they were going now, Dahnhak will end up being just another pseudo – religious cult.
I thought that the best way to judge Dahnhak was to judge it according to the standards of society at large. I finally realized that the sense of superiority that we had as Dahnhak masters [that we should teach the unenlightened masses because they don’t know better while our consciousness is much higher] is truly wrong. Wrapped up in my own sense of superiority, I gradually lost sense of the preciousness of relationship among people. Only now, after resigning from Dahnhak mastership, am I regaining that human connection among people. I sincerely apologize for my former sense of false superiority.
I believe now. It might be funny to say this, but I finally realize how big and wide the world is. To realize that everything is evolving, that everyone, in their own ways, are trying to make this world more beautiful, that we should encourage and advise one another in such work, that we should continue studying to make ourselves better workers for society, that we should not isolate ourselves and build a wall separating us form society because when you stay stagnant, you will rot from within, all these simple truths and more. I believe that all Dahnhak masters have the right to see all the information and judge for themselves. I thought this was my final responsibility. That’s why I am revealing all that I know.
If I don’t act now on what I think is right and just, I will forever carry a burden of guilt with me. I do this out of my true love for Dahnhak. I will relate to you all that I remember, omitting the dates. I don’t really remember the dates accurately and don’t want to tell inadvertent falsehoods because of inaccurate dates. I apologize beforehand if some timeline is confusing.
The first place that I worked as an honorary master was at a center in Seoul where Sunahmjang was the honorary head master. He told me to lie down because he will give me a Whalgong (Whalgong is massage in Dahnhak vocabulary – it will be referred to as massage throughout this text to avoid confusion). While giving me a massage, he touched me in private places. He said, “touching here and touching your face are the same. You shouldn’t feel any difference. Only then you will have overcome your sexual preconceptions. After you have attained the rank of Jungsa (Jungsa is a higher level master in Dahnhak vocabulary), you should be able to sleep with any fellow master if he or she requests it.” Some time afterwards, when I lay down to rest because I was tired, a male master tried to kiss me.
I refused and he apologized. But he said that he made a pass because I had sexual energy about me. Afterwards, I went to another center as pre master. The head master then was Arijang (female) and the center master was Daegeun Koo (male).
Master Koo was, at the time, dating Dahnyongjang (female). Dahnyongjang was pregnant at the time and having a difficult time. I was curious how I could overcome my sexual preconceptions. Therefore, I asked Joonsanjang (male) when he visited. He told me about Keumchok (not touching) for three years.
Our class (Dahnhak master training class) received $80 monthly as salary in the beginning. Therefore, we got our older masters to buy us food and clothes. After master training, I was sent to Wondang center. I earned a lot of money at that center and was soon promoted (in a record time) to head master. I always prayed. When there were no members around, I was always mumbling. This was my life’s direction.
“I will become a martyr for utopia. I will be the invisible fertilizer. Please help me become an embodiment of Susungnim.”
Originally I had no interest in personal enlightenment, Tao, or spiritual world. I firmly believed that what I was doing was to make this world beautiful and open people’s hearts. I believed that all I needed to do was to do well here. Doing well here meant exceeding monthly revenue goals. Since the amount of money people give reflect their commitment, I thought that earning as much as possible was actually an act of saving people.
Dahnhak always evaluated masters according to how much they earned. My only goal in life became wiring as much money as possible to the headquarters. Even the time that I took to go eat or go to the bathroom was too much. I always had a phone in my hands even sitting in the bathroom. I was always on emergency call. When I slept at night, I called up the images of every member and prayed. I dreamt that I would save all those workers who were now building Cheonwhawon (Dahnhak retreat center building in Korea) if they had difficulties. I always woke up at 4 in the morning and prayed that I could become a part of Susungnim. I earned the most money and became the biggest star within the organization. The overall vision was to open up 100 new centers (by borrowing money from members at prima rate or no interest or through donations) and achieving $10,000 in net profit per center. I soon started seeing people as money and that led me to many inner conflicts.
As time went by, I became more and more cold and violent. I cursed and beat the masters who were working in my center. I was called Ice Queen, Poison, and more. I felt sicker and sicker, but was earning more and more money. My center wired $20,000 ~ 30,000 every month to the headquarters and received hundreds of thousands of dollars from members to build new centers. To the members, I was the angel of hope. Many people came to see me.
My only mission in life at that time was to tell them of utopia and lead them to Susungnim. But personally, I became sicker and was always cursed as being poison by other masters.
Dahnhak’s primary evaluation criteria was monthly revenue. Then it was how much money you borrowed to use to open new centers. Then, it was how many new Dahnhak masters you produced. I was always the first and a star.
I always thought that all this was for utopia and that an expansion of Dahnhak organization will become the utopia. Although I was personally sick, I had to always appear bright and angelic because that was what the members expected of me. But I kept a certain distance from the members while praying for them at 4 every morning.
I became unbearably lonely.
I was the face of Dahnhak. Whatever I did became a model for others to follow. What I did was required study for all other masters. Other masters came to my center to learn whatever it was I did to be so successful.
Susungnim gave me a lot of praise both privately and publicly. I was really sick. But I thought that my sickness was a part of my evolution to overcome my body, so I ignored it. I constantly prayed to help me become a martyr for utopia. Even when I slept, I had the membership information cards with me. But the masters who worked and lived with me were having a hard time. They had no private time. I wanted them with me 24 hours a day, always on call, always looking for members, always earning money. I thought that it was their own weaknesses that made them have a hard time. I really thought that. I always wanted them to live according to my own script. I knew that I would have an easier time earning money the larger the star I became. I told people how to introduce me to the members. I shared all my special tricks and skills with other masters.
Anyway, masters did not last long in my center. Either they quit or wanted to go to another center. They complained about my faults to the headquarters but it didn’t matter. The headquarters were on my side and told them complaining masters that they were the ones who were weak. I became even more famous within Dahnhak organization.
Susungnim trusted me more and more and gave me frequent hugs whenever we had a private interview.
And he often touched my breasts.
He would laugh and tease me about how my breasts were so small. I was grateful because I thought that he was personally teaching me how to overcome sexual preconceptions. But I became more and more conflicted. But I couldn’t say anything to anyone because whatever I say would be exaggerated and come back to bite me.
And Susungnim praised and reassured me that the path I was walking was the right one. Quitting would be doing wrong to Susungnim. I personally did not have the self confidence to quit.
The headquarters would not cease in their relentless demands. For us, 100 new centers were a vision that we had to risk our lives for.
Of course, there was no weekends. Even major holidays were spent with fellow masters. It became only right that no one go home for holidays and only read the words of Susungnim, and no other books. During one of his lectures, Susungnim chastised a master for having books other than Susungnim’s own in his room. And he instructed that no one go home during the holidays. I always followed his instructions to the letter. All the masters wanted to do like me. All we talked about was how to earn more money for the vision, how to help member evolve, and how to get that member to donate money to Dahnhak. Any other talk would be discouraged and severely reprimanded.
The members, burdened by the constant demands to pay more and more, would fall to the wayside one by one. Wonsa’s [Wonsa is past equivalent to today’s master healers or brain respiration instructors] sole role was to bring in more money. In such a system, I saw the limitations of our One Culture Movement. I became sicker and sicker and unbearably lonely. All the masters were at each other’s throats in competition over who would take first place in monthly revenues. Jealousy, need for recognition ruled the day, leading to an invisible split among the more able Dahnhak masters.
I often cried myself to sleep. Susungnim seemed so far away and I had no Sahyung (elder master) whom I wanted to emulate. All the elder masters only wanted to be recognized by Susungnim and drove their younger masters mercilessly, abusing them for not having a pure enough heart. All the masters wanted to do was earn more money so that they could be recognized.
I honestly wanted to throw up when I saw what the elder masters were doing. Enduring mindlessly is not a way to gain enlightenment. In my eyes, all the elder masters were doing was trying to endure. Or, some would take advantage of their name value or ability to speak well to make the best of their lives.
However, everyone had the common trait of being absolutely loyal to whatever Susungnim said. I was confused. I did not want to be like the elder masters, but I found myself becoming exactly like them. I became even more abusive and was always cursing out my younger masters. I became even more conflicted. I wanted to shout that I couldn’t go on this way at the top of my lungs. But if I did, I wouldn’t be able to face Susungnim who praised me so much. Moreover, I wouldn’t know what to do afterwards. I cried myself to sleep at night even more often. I cried and prayed that our vision of utopia on earth not be destroyed. At the same time, I worked feverishly, as I always have done. No other master could equal me in terms of monthly earnings. I became the best head master. I also earned the nickname of ‘poison’ [for being so tough and abusive].
I opened up the Ilsan Center and became its head master. I earned $60,000 in the first month and signed up over 100 new members. I recall having borrowed $100,000 to open that center. In Dahnhak masters’ award ceremony, I was recognized as a MVP head master. Susungnim officially designated me to be his representative. My prayers were answered. He called me in later privately and told me he was proud of me. But I no longer had any hope. If this was the answer to my prayers, I was in a despair. I thought about quitting. I was tired of all the mistrust and infighting among the Dahnhak masters over earnings competition. I was tired of seeing all the members as sources of money. Key members either had to give us all their money or become a Dahnhak master themselves in order to be let alone. I could not see the end of the tunnel. I was always tense and became more tired.
The following year’s vision was to open up 360 centers, create 10,000 members in the One Culture Family Club, and achieve an average of $10,000 net profit per center. They said we could create utopia on earth by magnifying the Dahnhak organization. I had my doubts. I was a fake myself. Honestly, if utopia was an enlarged version of Dahnhak, I thought that it might be better not to have a utopia. However, I couldn’t say this because I would have been branded a traitor. I also did not have the confidence in my own knowledge on how the world worked. Therefore, I did not have the self – confidence to criticize anything.
As one who had received most grace from Susungnim, I started thinking how I could quit without bringing harm to the organization. Meanwhile, sexual problems among the Dahnhak masters continued unabated. In his official lectures, Susungnim spoke about not having physical contact for three years. Then he told us to watch porn videos in our centers, followed by spiritual training to get rid of all the sexual energy. He forbid rape and sex with members.
One day, I went to a masters’ reeducation program. That night, feeling closed in, I went out for a drink with a male master. He tried to kiss me in the car. I was very sensitive to begin with and could not bear the situation. And several days afterwards, a younger master whom I brought over from another center and loved very much and who thought of me as his mother, rebelled against me.
I left my own center and spent several days in the center run by the regional head master. I knew my own faults. The headquarters wanted to punish the younger master who rebelled against me. I asked them to send to him to another center. I couldn’t stand myself. I told everyone that I had to go on an extended leave because my former boyfriend who was a gang member found me and was bothering me. I had to leave to take care of the problem. I left even without setting my affairs in order. Of course, it was all lies. But if I told them anything else, they would all tried to convince me otherwise, which I knew I couldn’t stand.
I couldn’t stand even one more minute. I began with $80 a month as my salary. At the time I left on the extended leave, I was probably receiving $200 a month. But I owed a lot of credit card debt because I was always making up money for accounting irregularities or mistakes at the center.
They gave me bonuses a few times. But since the headquarters did not buy us any computers, I had to buy the computer for the center out of my own pocket. I was always in debt. The Wonsas would give me some money but, according to regulations, I had to wire all that money to the headquarters also.
After taking the leave of absence, I couldn’t go back home because I hadn’t talked to my mom ever since I became a Dahnhak master and she was remarried in the meantime. My younger brother was serving in the military and my older brother and I haven’t talked in the longest time. So, I rented a motel room and slept straight for a week, without eating or going out. After a week’s worth of sleep, I felt better. I wanted to go back to the starting point and really begin studying [spiritual training is often termed ‘studying’ in Dahnhak vocabulary].
In fact, I had no other choice. So I ate and slept for another three days and went back to Dahnhak. I told them I took care of my old boyfriend’s problem and waited for my next assignment. During that waiting period, I went to Mt. Moak for a few days with the person that the headmaster of AhnKook Center wanted to marry without telling anyone.
At that time, marriage was officially forbidden by Dahnhak. That’s why he wanted to marry in secret. The woman he wanted to marry was a former Dahnhak master. I was the head master at Wondang center when she became a member again. When I met her accidentally at a subway station, we both decided to go to Mt. Moak together right then and there. She said that they had set a date for the wedding. I reported that to Chunghaejang who was the regional manager. She, in turn, reported to Susungnim. Susungnim gave me a call.
He told me to tell him [master who wanted to get married] that “Marrying is the same as betraying me and tell him to come to America.”
I told Susungnim to call the master directly and tell him. The master told me afterwards that he received a phone call from Susungnim and that he would be going to America. But I was stuck on the word, ‘betrayal’. I did not understand why Susungnim would use the word ‘betrayal’ over matters of marriage and disobedience. I wondered whether I did the right thing telling on the master and his plans for marriage.
A Wonsa who was a key worker for Ilsan center became pregnant. She asked Bupyeonjang whether she should have an abortion, because a baby would prevent her from working at the center. Bupyeonjang told her that she should have the baby because all life is precious. The Wonsa then asked the same thing to the regional master.
Chunghaejang, who was the regional master, asked Susungnim and he told her to erase the baby [erase is the term used to describe abortion]. Bupyeonjang said she couldn’t quite understand Susungnim.
Then after a few days, Bupyeonjang told me that she now understood Susungnim fater reading Susungnim’s lectures. But I still couldn’t understand. Nevertheless, I continued praying to let me become a martyr for utopia and be a part of Susungnim.
Actually I added one more request to my prayer. I prayed to want to become real. At that time, our publisher wrote a nonfiction account of a woman [whose third eye was open] who could live on water alone. Many members went to visit her and she became quite popular. Susungnim wanted to train a person like her. He called me in.
“I am going to make you into the biggest star. You have an inborn energy. You are special. Your energy can be seen through your eyes. Train for 100 days in your center and do not eat meat. When you finish training, I will call you. I will check your training progress and if I am satisfied, I will bring you to Sedona.”
Then he told me that it would be better if I have whiter teeth and gave me a gift of a tooth whitening paste. I knew that I was being groomed to become a Dahnhak product, but I just wanted to get away from the everyday pressure of having to make money. That’s why I welcome the prospect. I entered America with the Sedona tour group. On the plane, Jinamjang distributed money filled envelopes. Each envelope contained money under the prohibited amount. He said that he would collect them all once we got past the customs in America. He warned that a master left the money on the plave before. He collected the money once we arrived.
I knew that this was illegal transfer of foreign currency, but thought that it was justified because we needed to establish ourselves in America. I thought that we couldn’t be successful in America if we did everything by the law. If this became a problem, Susungnim would possibly go to jail. I experienced a heartache thinking how Susungnim risked these dangers to become established in America.
I was ready to take the blame in his stead, if it became a problem. Anyway, every time I went to American afterwards, Jinamjang or an employee of One World Travels would collect the money in the same fashion.
But now I think differently. I think that Susungnim used a makeshift way to get past the rules. There were plenty of other options. If you really wanted to establish yourself in America, you have to go through the legal ways even though they might take longer. I realize now that we cannot change the world by trying to fit it into our own intellectual perspectives. What Susungnim made us do made us unconsciously regard governments as our enemies and taught us that the ends justify the means. This made us think that governments could never understand what we do and will eventually try to harm us.
This would happen when a traitor among us informs on Susungnim to the government. The thing that changed my mind was when a member complained strongly to me about illegally transferring money overseas. After listening to her, I became nervous, aware that I might be wrong. Anyway, I thought that Susungnim was in too much of a hurry. Instead of planting seeds for future realization of the vision, I though that he was trying to finish it all in his own lifetime. Therefore, I always thought that he was not really trying to help his disciples grow but to use them as tools to achieve his ends. I also was confused about the word “Chunsi” [this means opportune time granted by God].
He kept saying that the Chunsi was here and that we should hurry. I had my doubts but thought only an enlightened man like Susungnim could tell whether this was Chunsi or not. And to be of use to such a grand project was to be lucky, so I willingly endured and worked.
[The following is located in Sedona]
For a few days, I spent time with Dahnjaejang and Arijang. Their friendship were truly beautiful to behold. I was glad just to be in the same space. I asked Dahnjaejang what utopia really was. Dahnjaejang told me that an elementary school child couldn’t understand a college level answers and that I should rest for a while since I had been working for so long.
Arijang believed in me without any conditions. I really liked Arijang. I thought to myself that I wanted to live with Arijang one of these days. I then was called to a private meeting with Susungnim. He repeated what Dahnjaejang told me. I thought that Dahnjaejang reported her conversation with me to Susungnim.
I rested, ate, and exercised for a few days. I trained for 21 days. Of course, I was on a fast. However, I slept. Since Sedona had such good energy and I was born extra sensitive to energy, I had a lot of energy and spiritual experiences. Many senses opened up in me. I felt that the truth was so simple. All these countless experiences taught me much cosmic knowledge but I still thought that truth was so simple. I thought that these experiences had nothing to do with enlightenment. I still think this way. I just had experiences associated with training. I was just grateful to Susungnim for providing me with the realistic opportunity to experience the truth. I was very happy. I decided to forget about my doubts. Even Susungnim was bound to make mistakes, since his experiences in this world were not enough to avoid mistakes. I decided I should recruit able disciples for him. I thought that it would solve all problems. However, I always worried about his tendency to regard individuals as mere tools instead of precious people. However, an enlightened person is bound to be cold [as in indifferent and emotionless]. Heaven is indifferent. Since its love is so large, human beings experience it as indifferent and cold.
Susungnim officially designated me, for the first time, as a Bup – disciple [special disciple recognized as an embodiment of the teachings]. He told me to act in his and Byukwoonjang’s stead and run the Dahnsikwon [a Dahnhak diet and meditation center in Korea] and have as many people do Cheondojae [ancestor blessing rites] as possible. He told a group of Wonsas that the most joyous occasion in Dahnhak’s history was my creation. Sunahmjang [then head of Dahnhak in Korea] told all the Dahnhak masters during a gathering that Susungnim instructed that everyone bow down to me three times. From then on, in any masters’ gathering, masters bowed down three times to me. [according to former Dahnhak masters, all masters and instructors have to bow down three times to Ilchi Lee when meeting him]
After a while, Joongamjang [Head secretary in Korea] called me and said, “there shouldn’t be two centers in an organization. You can continue receiving three bows from individuals but don’t receive three bows when there are more than 10 masters present.”
I was actually glad. It was burdensome receiving three bows. I wrote a letter to Susungnim. “I will no longer receive three bows from anyone. People think that I did not eat or sleep during my 21 day training in Sedona. I want to tell them the truth.”
But Susungnim did not answer me. I regarded his silence to mean that I should keep quiet.
People were having more Cheondojaes. On a good month, we earned over $200,000 in Cheondojaes alone. We received cash for Cheondojaes. We did not go through the banks. The secretary office came once or twice a month to collect the money. As far as I was told, the money was used as Susungnim’s research budget in America. Masters who were working supposedly resigned in masse from Dahnhak and was being paid salary covertly [in order to account for the money].
Susungnim gave the name of Cheonilahm [to the diet center]. It went well. Although everyone working in the center were Dahnhak masters, we had them all resign and paid them separately because we had to register the business as a personal business [instead of being part of Dahnhak].
When things were going well, we earned over $100,000 every month. I heard that this income became the only slush fund in Dahnhak. I opened another diet center in Milyang and made as much cash as possible to give to Susungnim.
My greatest interest at the time was to recruit able people as his disciples. I also wanted to make him big money. Because I had always heard about how we were always in the red, I was sick and tired of hearing about money problems. I even thought that he would stop complaining about money only when he could spend all the money in the world.
Because this money was for utopia and we needed infinite amounts of money to make a utopia.
I wanted to live without having to push my younger masters for money. I wanted to tell them to really love people, not see them as sources for money. However, I personally knew that masters had no choice when the headquarters pushed. It would be the same as telling the masters to leave.
I really didn’t want masters to suffer because of money. But I still kept complaining about lack of money to them. I began to suffer again.
I also wanted to introduce able and successful people to Susungnim. Therefore, I created a VIP care system and made many programs especially for them. I taught them myself. I introduced them to Susungnim and they helped us a lot. I learned a lot from them.
The first thing that they pointed out was that Dahnhak masters were to be pitied. This organization was run on the innocent sweat and passion of young masters. We needed to improve their working conditions and training.
Second, they suspected whether this organization was interested in politics. There were many things that made them suspect. They thought this organization could easily become a religion. They wished that we remain non political and pure.
Third, Susungnim was not accustomed to dealing with the world at large and is always in a hurry. These are the things that all the VIPs told me in common.
Kim Jiha [famous Korean poet and democracy activist] was also on the VIPs that I taught personally. I decided for myself. Daewonjang’s [new head of Dahnhak Korea] new policies aimed to redress the problems of working conditions. I decided to support him fully. He asked me many questions in his work. I thought that he was in the right. [Even now I think that he did many thing right. I thank him for that.] On Daewonjang’s recommendation, I even convinced Susungnim to reverse a few of his decisions.
Second, I asked Susungnim outright whether we had any interest in politics. He officially said no.
“I am not interested in politics. However, I want to nurture many politicians. I want them to govern in the right way. World can only change through politics. But I won’t do it myself. I will nurture many people,” he emphasized many times.
Third, I wanted to recruit many successful disciples for Susungnim. Therefore I changed my prayer and switched personal guiding spirit to Cheonmonim. Cheonmonim was someone who lived and died for our people. I thought that, if I were pure in my intentions, he would help me. Susungnim had also recommended Cheonmonim to me.
“Cheonmonim, this is Songhwajang [the auhor]. I will become a martyr for utopia. Please forgive me all of my sins and help me achieve my mission to set free the soul of this people [Korean] and humanity. Please gather many able disciples around Susungnim so that he could do the work he wants.” I prayed and trained every day. And it all went well. People I wanted became his disciples and many people helped our cause without any conditions. Kim Jiha also decided to help us.
However, I began to have doubts and regrets about Susungnim as an individual, although I couldn’t say it outright. His sexual attitudes and behaviors were especially disturbing.
I know that all the enlightened teachers in history have discussed sex. But I know that Susungnim educated his disciples directly on matters of sex (roundabout way of saying that he slept with his disciples directly). I had heard a lot of rumors in this regard. But I withheld my judgment and waited. I wanted to see what these sexual education sessions had on the person I loved the most, Arijang (This was a one–sided feeling. Arijang did not feel the same way about me). Through Arijang, I will make my judgment whether this was sexual harassment or sexual education.
However, there was one instance where I thought that Susungnim’s judgment was definitely a mistake. This was the case of Shin Mijung (now known by her spiritual name of Kayajang), which I was involved directly. Shin Mijung, like others Jidojas, trusted me. I also personally feel great love for Shin Mijung, even now. This also was a one–sided feeling on my part. One day, she wanted to speak with me. We met in Seoul and she gave a couple of advice.
“I hope that you get along well with Joongsanjang (person in charge of accounting). I hope that you focus on encouraging the Jidojas. The fact that the VIP’s that you are taking care of is more connected to you rather than to Susungnim is wrong,” she told me. I told her that her last advice was based on false information, but agreed to accept the rest. They were my problems. Then she spoke to me of her own personal life.
“Susungnim told me to check on the Publicity Team. I am trying to create an atmosphere for work there. I am giving him regular reports. It’s gotten much better over there…”
“Last night, I had ménage a trois with Jinmyungjang and Noh Kyungmin (all women). We cried and let our emotions out. Then we prayed to Susungnim. Once you get your emotions out, only thoughts of Susungnim and his vision is left. I hope that I get more sleep these days. Afterwards, we called the master in charge of the third region to call us to report. He said that he was scared of us. We call ourselves the Geisha Group.”
I had a general idea of what was going on by what she told me. I asked her whether she reported all this to Susungnim. She said Yes and showed me the reports she had sent to Susungnim. But the contents were too abstract for him to know exactly what happened. I asked her whether he answered and she said No. Frankly, until then, I had no idea how one could go about studying the nature of sex. Therefore, I just listened to her. Inside, I was actually nodding, ‘Ah, this is how you do it…’
When Susungnim came to Korea, I asked him two questions.
“Other Jidojas tell me that I am cold person without tears or blood. I only focus on the business. Is it OK for me to go on this way?”
“Yes, that’s how you should be. I like you because you are tough yet think of the whole organization. You are doing well.”
“Shin Mijung is educating other people on sex in this fashion. Through sex, she is connecting people’s mind to you. Is this correct?”
“She’s doing this every night?”
“Yes, I think so. No wonder she lost so much weight.”
“That’s not how you study sex. I also have used many methods, but that’s not how you study sex. That’s why there is a saying that you shouldn’t ask people about their lives below their belt. Since she hasn’t done any harm to the organization, just let it go quietly.”
“Many Jidojas are stuck on sex and are mistaken about it. I think you should gather all Jidojas and teach them about it.”
“What if we designate one woman and one man in CheonHwaWon (Retreat Center) and in each region and denote a special massage day each week when people can ask for a special massage in which they could sleep with the designated man or woman, wouldn’t this solve the problem? You take the lead in pursuing this project. By the way, are you stuck on sex also?”
Then he proceeded to touch me in my private parts. I told him that I couldn’t do this. Several days later, Lee Kunho asked to see me. This is what he said.
“How do you overcome sex? I recently was going out with Master Noh Kyung Min. What she does really wants to make me quit being a Dahn master. Noh Kyung Min does everything that Shin Mijung tells her to do, trying to learn about the separation of the soul, spirit, and other parts of the overall Vision by sleeping with a lot of random guys. She tells me I have a problem because I am too attached, and it’s driving me crazy. We drove out to the Han River the other day where she went crazy yelling at me that I have a problem with attachment. She keeps telling me to sleep with other women. I just don’t know what to do.”
I told him exactly what Susungnim told me.
A few days later, Daewonjang called me. “Vice Chairman Kim Jaewon called me to tell me that Shin Mijung is crazy. Some say she is possessed by spirits. Why don’t you check the truth of the allegations? Call Nam Soyeon to see what she has to say.”
I called Nam Soyeon to CheonHwaWon late at night to speak with her. She was a smart girl. She said it was always our organization’s problem to find out things behind people’s backs. I told her I was sorry. But this was one case that it was difficult to ask the accused herself directly. I told her to tell me everything she knew.
“…when I first went to the publicity team, male masters came to my room at night two nights in a row. I refused (to sleep with them) and sent them away. One day, Shim Mijung called me to tell me how sorry she was to send me men who were weaker in energy than I was…”
I asked Nam Soyeon to tell Susungnim what she told me when he came to CheonHwaWon the next day. I called to report what I found out to Daewonjang. I thought we should send Shin Mijung. I told him that reporting to Susungnim was the only way to solve the problem. I asked Daewonjang to make it happen.
I told Joongamjang that I had a report to make about Shin Mijung to Susungnim and that I would have Nam Soyeon ready and waiting. I also told him that it would be best if Susungnim called Vice Chairman Kim Jaewon directly. Susungnim was then on his way to CheonHwaWon from Jeju Island. He was upset that Okamjang decided to have a eyelid surgery without his permission. He was upset that his disciples don’t mean it when they declare that their bodies belong to Susungnim. He was so upset that she had the surgery done without his express permission that he spoke of it several times. He spoke for a long time with Nam Soyeon.
Nam Soyeon also spoke about her own personal actions. She admitted that she slept with the VIP member she was in charge of taking care of. Susungnim asked her whether she slept with him several times. She said she did and promised him that she would help him until he reached enlightenment. She said that she spoke with him on the phone at least once a day. That VIP was someone who really helped our organization. I was the one who actually had made the initial connection.
Susungnim told Nam Soyeon that since her body and mind were all his, she should get his permission even before dating anyone. Then he appointed her to the publicity team. Then he sent for Shin Mijung to come in. While waiting, he asked, “Was Sungjaejang taken care of (with sex) in the same way?” Sunjaejang was a businessman who was lending us more than 2 million dollars and giving regular donations. Shin Mijung was in charge of taking care of him. I told him probably.
Susungnim said that “since Nam Soyeon brought in Kim00, she has earned the right to become the head of publicity team. If you want date someone, it should be at least a person like Kim00. He is no pushover; that’s why I thought there must have been something else there. I will have Shin Mijung to take care of Sungjaejang only. Even that would be enough work for her.”
My heart felt like collapsing. “What kind of man was this (Susungnim)? Does he really see us as human beings?” I saw Shin Mijung separately in the morning. She was till crying.
I really felt like going crazy. Shin Mijung was telling me that she was happy that the buttons 789 on her cell phone was now working well. When her energy was aligned with Susungnim’s, she said that the buttons 789 worked well and vice versa. And she wondered why people who told on her hated her so much when she did nothing wrong to them. I lied to her that Susungnim told me to get some Oriental medicine for her. Then I went into the bathroom and cried loudly.
Shin Mijung has a one track mind, not eating or drinking when she had a firm goal in mind. She was very sensitive to energy and spiritual training. According to my experience, she would be OK once she could eat and rest for a while. Once she had enough time for introspection, she could even make that jump forward. Since she was smart and could do a lot more work, I hoped that she would get a chance to rest for one full month.
Since our Ilchi Family was so rife with exaggerated rumors, I hoped that Shin Mijung would get a chance to work in America. However, Susungnim did not concern himself with individual disciples. He seemed to consider Sungjaejang more important than Shin Mijung. I became nervous over my doubts that Susungnim considered sex as not a tool for enlightenment but as a tool to achieve his vision. I was overwrought. From then on, I kept telling people that did not want to be a center manager master any longer. I thought that I might betray Susungnim in this state of mind. I wanted to get away far from Susungnim and only have the Utopian vision in my sights.
And I thought that this case was yet unresolved. In one of his lectures (Susungnim’s lectures are called “KangCheon” meaning Voice from Heaven), he spoke, “if possible, abstinence for three years is good, and you can date and marry if you want, but don’t mistake yourself into thinking that this is sexual studies. And never sell my name when saying that you are undergoing sexual studies.” That’s what he said but I knew, according to our organizational culture, some of the masters would interpret it in whatever ways it suit them. Some would think that Susungnim was just saying that for the benefit of those people with lower levels of consciousness in order to maintain the organization. But I knew that these practices will go on hush hush. I worried and therefore met with other masters on my own prerogative.
She told me, “Daejookjang recommended that I sleep with Uhsang Lee, but I just couldn’t bring myself to do so. Then I accidentally met with my first love on the subway. When I told this to Daejookjang, he told me to sleep with him. So I asked him to sleep with me; he was shocked and went away. I called Daejookjang to say that I failed and he told me to do 103 bows. Then my first love called me drunk and said that he hit his wife for the first time ever and asked me to come live with him because he was going to divorce his wife. I told Daejookjang what he said, and he told me that I shouldn’t worry about it because all the other stuff was for my first love to go through on his own and had nothing to do with me. Is that really true?”
I told he no emphatically. I told her that’s not how to undergo sexual studies and shed attachments. I met with Jinmyungjang. This is what she said.
When I was leading the Kindergarten Team and was not doing well, I thought that it all had to do with my not resolving my energies with Dosanjang. I thought not, but then everyone around me kept telling me so. So, if I cold just sleep with Dosanjang once and get it all solved, I thought it wasn’t such a big deal. I am now sorry about it to Susungnim and don’t know why I thought like that in the first place…”
I kept meeting with other masters to see how wide spread a problem sex was. I met with Master Park (3). She said:
“When I was working at the army Dahn group, a Jungsa Master who came to lead a special training told me that every Dahn master is hung up about sex. Aren’t you hung up on sex also? If you are not, then come to my room tonight. I didn’t want to admit that I was hung up on sex and therefore went to his room that night to sleep with him. When I said goodbye in the morning, I cried and realized that this wasn’t it. I won’t go through this again.”
Then I met with Jung Youngju who worked at the headquarters. She told me, “…when I was having a difficult time, Wolyajang told me to cheat on my husband. I don’t think that’s the way…”
I wanted to organized this in my mind. I though of the people whom I know had sex with Susungnim directly.
1. Han00 Wonsa (Member)
“… I was a virgin but wanted to go through sex at least once. I think that Susungnim felt that too. That’s why I slept with him.”
Han00 had wanted to go to America. But Susungnim that Han00 had the princess disease (high maintenance) and would trouble him if she came. I agreed at that time. She was someone whom you had to pay attention to all the time. It was hard living with her. Now, she’s left Dahn.
2. After Dahnjaejang quit, Susungnim sent for me from America. When I came, he told me to check how Cha00 Jungsa was. I asked Arijang what was going on. She told me:
“Cha00’s first sexual experience was with Susungnim. She got pregnant and had an abortion. When she was having a difficult time with that, it was Dahnjaejang who took care of her. Now that Dahnjaejang is gone, she is having an even more difficult time. It might be hard for her to recover. With her personality, she might try to commit suicide if she goes back to Korea.”
I reported back to Susungnim exactly what I heard. He replied, “I even gave up my wife and kids…” When I spoke with other masters, I heard many criticisms of Cha00. She was a graduate of Seoul National University. She wasn’t stupid. It just meant that she was having a really difficult time.
Susungnim told me that he even doubted that Arijang was planning to leave every since Dahnjaejang quit. He told me to check on her. Since I liked Arijang, I asked her to spend a day with me. We spent a whole night on Bell Rock talking. What she told me was shocking:
“…I had asked Susungnim whether his having sex with his disciples was to teach them about sex but he said that sometimes he has sex just to purify himself, which was shocking to me…”
“…Dahnjaejang said ‘how do you maintain a Teacher – Disciple relationship during sex? He told me to act like a woman, so I did’…”
“…Jung Seonhwa acts like she is Susungnim girlfriend. I was shocked. Susungnim wife hates the mention of her name. The reason I had to come back to American was that Susungnim wife hated Jung Seonhwa with a passion…”
“…Master Park(1) kept saying that her private parts smelled bad. So I asked her and she told me that she had her first sexual experience with Susungnim. I didn’t know although I was lived in the same house. These days, she sleeps early in case Susungnim calls her to his room…”
“…Master Park (2) is going out with Michael. Susungnim wife said how she could go out with someone else while she is serving Susungnim. I was in a bad mood. I think that Susungnim’s wife is mistaken about many things…”
“…there is a lot of talk that Taeamjang is making his own private organization…”
“…Susungnim slept with Master 000. Taeamjang called me to complain what that hell he was doing…”
“…Younji Dahnsa is the same as ever. Her husband complained to Dahnjaejang that she falls asleep looking at Susungnim photograph. She is an incredible sunflower. She should really focus on her husband when she sleeps with him…”
“…I want to throw away my body.”
I felt that Arijang was going beyond repair.
Master Park(1) quit being a master. But Susungnim gave Arijang more jobs and responsibilities. She was trying to make a fresh go at it.
3. Ssiatjang told me this:
“I didn’t tell anyone what Susungnim did to me when we were alone together.”
4. I thought of my own case. When he came to CheonHwaWon, he called me to his room in early dawn. He made me lay down next to him and touched my private parts. I was tense. He didn’t say anything and continued to massage me in that fashion. I didn’t feel good at all.
I thought again. Maybe this is all part of a process. Since sex is such a fundamental energy, it’s hard to understand it. All these people might be in the middle of their studying process. Maybe Susungnim is waiting for them to study on their own. Maybe some even feel liberated and comforted through such experiences. I decided to wait a little more. I wanted to believe. Anyway, Daewonjang’s strong internal policies seem to have checked other internal sexual problems. I decided to put this aside in a corner of my mind for a while.
But now, the situation has changed. Two months before I resigned, Arijang sent me an email saying that she wanted to take off he body. When I spoke with Susungnim alone in Beijing, he told me that Arijang had disappeared for three days. He said that she was irresponsible and didn’t know what to do with her. He said that he would send her back to Korea.
I concluded that Susungnim thought of his disciples only as tools to reach his goals. If the tool worked fine, it was good; but if the tool didn’t work well, then he would discard it without a second thought. I talked with Arijang. She was worried that she would become a burden to me if she came back to Korea. I just told her to come as quickly as possible. My dearest wish was to live with Arijang. Arijang was still a loyal disciple, believing and following only Susungnim.
One day, Susungnim called Shin Mijung in order to find out more about Kim Jiha behind my back. (Kim Jiha is a famous Korean national poet who was once Ilchi’s disciple but publicly broke away by declaring Ilchi and Dahn as hopelessly corrupt – one of the author’s jobs was to take care of Kim Jiha).
He told Shin Mijung: “Songhwajang (author) made you look like a total fool by having Nam Soyean tell me everything about you. And yet you still defend her?...”
Shin Mijung later told me that Susungnim was wrong to try to start a fight between sisters (Mijung and I), but she nevertheless wanted to ask me why I told Susungnim about her when she looked up and followed me so much. If I had otldher not to do certain things, she said that she would never have done them. I made a lot of excuses then, but now I want to tell her I’m sorry. Then again, although she would have stopped if I had told her to, she would have made excuses and justified herself about sex as not being wrong and such acts would have gone on and spread and she would have become more and more fearless since she had the brought in SungJaeajng, the rich businessman.
That’s why I had felt that Shin Mijung needed to be disciplined officially by Susungnim. I still think I judged correctly.
Of course, when Shin Mijung was in America in the immediate aftermath, Susungnim told her to be abstinent for 3 years. However, I thought that was just a temporary solution. I believe that sex should not be used or twisted for other purposes. Sex itself should be respected as the beautiful and precious thing it is. Also, there are many people hurt by sex. They are hurt to their soul. I can now say for certain. That sex is a not a subject to be studied.
Susungnim is just using sex as one of the tools for him to control the organization. He is not trying to used to somehow help people reach enlightenment or make them more mature. This is definitely wrong.
The next thing that I came to regard as wrong was Susungnim distrust of everyone except his family when it came to money.
Even in CheonHwaWon, all the lands had to be purchased in Susungnim’s name. When it couldn’t be done for some reason, it could be bought in a disciple’s name but he or she had to sign a document and give it to the headquarters. Daahmjang complained about it once. He told me that Susungnim found out once that the biggest parcel was in Joongamjang’s name. He called Joongamjang into his office. Joongamjang’s colors changed to gray and he called Jisoojang immediately.
Even CheonIlAhm had to be put under the ownership of CheonJiInSangSa (Merchandising arm of Dahn). CheonJiInSangSa was under the ownership of Susungnim’s younger brother. CGI in America was under his wife’s ownership. To build CGI, the masters had to continue to squeeze money (called Vortex Membership Dues) from members even after we had bought the Sedona land – it created a lot of problems.
The Vortex Membership Dues ($2000 lifetime membership fee) was a result of blood and sweat of the masters. But (after CGI was built) Susungnim’s wife became the president of CGI and she was put in as the owner. Afterwards, she even bought an extra land to build a hotel on without consulting anyone else, which disappointed many masters who knew about it but they couldn’t say anything. Susungnim said that he could not trust anyone because he had been betrayed too many times by his disciples. But I couldn’t understand that logic. Should a Teacher trust in his disciples although some of them betrayed his trust? Because these disciples are people who give up their families, sell their houses, and work for less than one–fifth of their former income all because of the vision; if you don’t trust them, can you really create a One World as he says? I began to doubt the whole thing.
I know that no one in our Ilchi family comes in thinking that they will earn tons of money. I now think a little differently. Once people see money, they sometimes start thinking other thoughts. However, I think you still need to trust people when you interact with them in society.
Anyway, what was certain was that we shouldn’t even dream of founding a Utopian world in this fashion. I had one more experience. He was a man who quit being a manager of the accounting office in Dahn. We went to Sedona and spoke with Susungnim together. Although he used professional vocabulary, what he mainly said was:
“Why don’t you trust your disciples and only buy property in your family’s names? You shouldn’t do that. The stocks of the company shouldn’t be bought like that. Masters should have a stake, become owners and guarantee their future…”
Susungnim told him to discuss it with Joongamjang if he had good ideas. He said that he would follow his recommendations if his ideas were really good. Then he told me and Joongamjang to keep a close eye on him so that there is no trouble.
Recently, Daewonjang said that the man threatened to expose everything and brought with him copies of the accounting books. They had to pay him hush money and get a job for him in an affiliated company. Susungnim kept saying that he had to do it this way because he had been betrayed so many times. He said that he never used the money for his own personal purposes.
Anyway, I felt sorry for my younger masters. Since they were being constantly hounded for increasing income, they would declare an income without having actually received the money; then, if the expected money did not come in, then they would fill in the discrepancy with their own money from monthly salary (which was a pittance), credit cards… then they would be neck deep in debt and not be able to pay rent on the center until they were found out by the headquarters and be punished by having their monthly salaries docked for years, in addition to being officially demoted and/or humiliated. We, who have been on the frontlines, know what goes on; but the people in the accounting office have no idea about the stress that we receive in the actual retila operations of the center.
Anyway, in our Ilchi family, accounting mishaps were treated with severity. Then if someone got sick working like that, then they had no place to go. Everyone was busy making money. They didn’t have personal monies of their own. Since many of them cut off contact with their families when they became masters, they didn’t have the option of going back home when they got sick. Actually it was my job to take care of and treat warmly these sick masters, but I was also so preoccupied with my own job of earning money for CheonHwaWon, CheonIlAhm, donations, and more that I ignored them. That fact that Susungnim did not trust the masters who slaved for the vision like this made me doubt even more.
One master who created an accounting problem was sent to CheonHwaWon (that the author was in charge) as a punishment. The head of accounting told me that he mentally strange, that he could not understand the simplest things. The master insisted:
“When a member said that he wanted to become a life time member then I added to the center income. Then he would change his mind and not bring the money he promised… other times, someone would say that he wanted to become a member and to bring the money in the next day but doesn’t come, but I had added to the center income already anyway… after several months, there was a discrepancy of several tens of thousands of dollars…”
The problem was that the master didn’t think he did anything wrong. Of course, he was mentally weak in that he caved into the pressure from above about increasing income and engaged in such dubious income reporting. Anyway, the punished master thought that he was unfairly treated and had a difficult time adjusting. There were many cases like this accounting mishap among the masters. This was just an extreme case. Then the case got worse. The headquarters called. The credit card company sued to take their debts out of his paycheck. The master said that it was his mother who ran up the debt on his credit card and to not take the money out his salary. I asked Hwatajang about his status. He told me that the punished master was becoming worse, taking long walks by himself in the middle of the night. I reported to the headquarters that he should be made to quit being a master.
But then, several days later, that master died when he fell off the cliff above the Mokgye Fall in CheonHwaWon. Since there were plenty of witnesses, it was treated as an accident. I was in Seoul during that time on a business trip.
I reported to Susungnim about the incident and he comforted me by saying, “He is a lucky guy for having died in CheonHwaWon.”
I cried all night silently in my room. I couldn’t bring myself to perform the CheonDoJe (ceremony guiding the soul to pass beyond) and had someone else do it.
Another problem was with CheonIlAm. CheonIlAm brought in a lot of cash for the organization. Susungnim wanted an expansion of the CheonIlAm operations. He created a CheonJi Divinity Center as a branch. He also wanted 360 centers to open in Korea. I told him that opening so many centers was too much and that we should try to craft our goal according to the income numbers, instead of center numbers. He then said that 1 Million Dollars a month should the new goal for net profit income. He then told me to go see what the Unification Church was doing to earn money and copy them. I didn’t go myself but sent my younger masters. I heard that they did group soul release sessions that brought in millions of dollars a day. I heard about their teachings indirectly.
It was like any other religion in that they stimulated the fear factor of the worshippers to squeeze money out of them.
I thought that such actions were frauds.
But Susungnim said, since everyday people were of such low consciousness, they should be comforted by these methods. I said that I couldn’t do it. I judged that such direction made us equal to any other religion and had nothing to do with enlightenment, planting another set of preconceptions in people. I really wanted to get out of CheonIlAm. I asked Susungnim to appoint me to a center master’s position, but he said no, saying that someone as tough as me was had to be there to make it successful. He told me to make the operation so that I didn’t have to be there for it to run, and to also train a replacement. All these things and more made me more judging and discerning of everything. But I still thought, “Yes, since many disciples betrayed him, I guess he could do it this way. As long as all this money is spent for the creation of Utopia and the Korean people.” I waited some more.
When we began working with Kim Jiha, we still had hope that all this money will now finally be used correctly, this money that my fellow masters and I risked our lives to earn. However, now I no longer have that hope. I now know all too well that the expansion of our organization is not the way. The fact that we were not able to create not one single iota of proof for the bright future to come shows us that there was no will to do it in the first place. The money we earned will be used for Susungnim’s personal idea of personal Utopia but that has nothing to do with collective Utopia.
Another things that put me off was the use of the term, “traitor” and “betrayed.” Susungnim had appointed a male master to put in charge of CheonIlAm. I thought that he was unqualified and would run it into bankruptcy. So I told him: “If you want to put him in charge of the operations, let him take over completely. I don’t want to be held responsible for what he does. I want to leave completely.” He asked whether it would work that way. I replied emotionally, “No, I don’t it would work out too well. But if you still want me responsible for the whole thing, I don’t want to use him as my administrative head.”
When I called Susungnim again the next dawn on some other matter, he scolded me greatly for “having the seed of betrayal” in me. Many high level masters called me to express their worry. Several days later, when I was submitting a 12 page plan for the future operation of CheonIlAm, I sent along a letter explaining my opposition for the male master’s appointment. That case was then smoothed over in that fashion.
Bupyeonjang, after resigning her position as the head of Sedona retreat center, wanted to come back to Korea. Susungnim called me at dawn and asked, “Does Bupyeonjang want to come back to Korea?” I knew that Susungnim was thinking of what a waste of a perfectly good visa it was if Bupyeonjang came back to Korea. Susungnim told me to tell Bupyeonjang that “coming back to Korea was an act of betrayal.” Of course, I didn’t tell Bupyeonjang.
Jin Soohyung was an older master than me – he became a master before me. While in the US, he didn’t use the Dahn sign but used another name. This was a complete act of betrayal. He went to Susungnim and confessed and apologized. As a punishment, he was demoted and told to not work in a Dahn center but go find a job in a regular American shop. But he could still live in a Dahn Center. Shortly afterwards, however, he came back to Korea and went into a cave for 21 day no-food, no-sleep training, vowing that he would become enlightened. Then he died. According to the rumors, he died because he didn’t eat carefully after his 21-day fast. Sunamjang asked me how to do a CheonDoJe and I told her. I could understand her mind. Jin Soohyung was one of the very early, original members. He was well respected. I could really understand how desperate he felt.
Another incident involved Sukjungjang. He had a difficult time adjusting to life within the organization. He therefore got permission to go independent. But he failed. He wanted to come back into the organization once more. We accepted. But he committed suicide. On the surface, it was ruled a traffic accident. But we knew that it wasn’t. He was one of the very first member also.
Susungnim said, “He always used to say that he’d rather die that betray me. Since he was always timid, I never thought that he would have the guts. But I guess he did. His spirit is now in Sedona, training.” After thus praising him, he instructed me to perform a CheonDoJe ceremony along with the top masters.
Dahnjaejang quit. Then he gathered to himself those masters who he had taken care of and formed an independent, separate organization. Susungnim was apoplectic with anger. He lectured that it was a blatant act of betrayal.
I realized that betrayal meant not doing what Susungnim wanted. I also realized that this organization was designed to publicize Susungnim, the individual, and not the ideals of Utopia. If you sought to publicize Utopia but not Susungnim, then you were also a traitor. Of course, at first, I thought that since only tan enlightened person could know what a Utopia was, everything that Susungnim did was the way to the promised land. Now I know differently.
In other words, the growth of our organization actually interferes with the emergence of the ideal, utopian world that we all aim for. This means that all the methods that Susungnim is using are wrong.
In that sense, betrayal is meaningless – everyone, once you have gained a certain level of study, must go on their separate ways and deal with the world in their creative ways and continue on their studies. Then they can come together again when there is a need to come together. But to stay within a framework in which one person’s word alone decides what is betrayal or not is not something a really enlightened person would do.
Of course, a grand vision is something that someone with a large consciousness can suggest but people should be able to participate on their own and decide on the issues. The speed would not be as quick but it would provide everyone with a chance to grow. Our organization always want something strong and bright. I think that brightness must come together to become strong. Just because something is strong does not mean that it is bright.
I also have a wary eye on violence. Susungnim always wanted something strong. He said that our organization should no longer be weak but produce fear in others. One day, he said to me:
“I once visited the 3rd region. Three masters bowed down to me and one of them asked a question. As I left, I saw the master who had asked me the question were on his knees begging for forgiveness for having committed a deadly sin. I asked about it later to Youngjijang (3rd region managing master – now head of Korean Institute of Brain Science). She told me that the other two masters beat him up in a room for having asked me a stupid question. That region is like the communists. Youngjijang really controls her people well.”
On Susungnim’s instructions, Chunghaejang really tried hard to learn Youngjijang’s control know-how. In another incident, Youngjijang led a group of members to Sedona on a meditation trip. During the trip, one of the women members said something silly, supposedly. Youngjijang instructed one of the female masters to hit the woman. The female master cursed and hit the member. Then the police came. Since the female master didn’t speak English, she just smiled and the police went away, thinking that nothing was wrong. Later on the night, that female master (who hit the member) was called over to Susungnim’s room and received a personal massage from him. Since this was the first time she had experienced this, she was in heaven.
When they came back to Korea, the member who had been cursed at and beaten came to apologize to Youngjijang. Youngjijang thought that even such actions were necessary when you were trying to teach – she recounted the story proudly in front of other 3rd region masters during a meeting. During those times, there were many incidents of minor violence in the 3rd region. After Daewonjang punished one incident in the 3rd region, the violence seems to have abated somewhat. However, the real problem lay simmering. I knew why these violence occurred. That’s because everyone was under inhumane pressure to produce income and there was no space to release stress. Even violence was forgiven, or even thought helpful, to produce more income.
Yoo Hajin called me. Wooamjang was her superior. During a dinner, after having drunk alcohol, Wooamjang spit at her and called her a bitch for not sharing her secrets with other masters. She wanted to know what to do. After Susungnim found out, he personally comforted her and switched her over to Youngjijang’s care. Then he wanted to see Wooamjang at the airport as he left the country, but Wooamjang didn’t show and the whole thing was left at that.
There was an incident in CheonHwaWon also. I pressured Daamjang for more income and he, in turn, pressured the master who was in charge of general affairs. There was an incidence of violence between the two. Daamajng tendered his resignation but I persuade him to stay. I instead sent the master who was in charge of the general affairs to another place and smoothed the whole thing over.
Choongamjang’s violence was famous. Choongamjang is the younger brother of Susungnim.
When he was running the CheonJiIn Sangsa (merchandising company for Dahn), he used to hit a lot of masters. All the incidents were hushed up for a while until Master Choi got hit and reported directly to Susungnim. After this, Choongamjang was only the owner of CheonJiIn Sansa in name and nothing to do with its operations – he only was put in charge of HanSegye Constructions. The problem was that Master Choi who had reported the violence was also demoted and sent to America.
There was an overall understanding in our organization that violence could be justified and used for the right purposes if needed.
One day, Susungnim instructed me: “Since I need bodyguards and we also need to threaten those people who want to go independent, we should become a fearful organization. Since Han Cheol Un said that he used to be the administrative manager of a nationwide violent gang, you take care of this matter. I will give you a budget of $10,000 a month and see if you can make such an arm of our organization.”
I discussed this with Daewonjang and he said that since we are not a conspiratorial organization, he would rather not see it done. I told Susungnim of another method and told him that I couldn’t do it.
During the incident when Kim Jiha left and Susungnim was in Korea trying to take care of the problem, he said:
“When a Catholic priest said something bad about some other religious figure, that religious figure’s worshipper went and threw human waste at the Catholic priest. Kim Jiha could die too.”
From all these incidents and others, I judged that Susungnim could use violence to further his own interests. I still think that this is wrong. Personally, I don’t think that violence could be justified under any reasons. Even worse, violence perpetrated to further the ends of an organization, a self – claimed Tao organization, is even worse.
Now, I want to speak about the things that led me to decide to quit being a master, the events surrounding Daewonjang, Kim Jiha, and related matters.
(Kim Jiha is a famous poet known for his democratic and patriotic causes. He had been jailed many times by South Korean dictatorial regimes. Kim Jiha was originally impressed by Ilchi Lee’s work on behalf of Dangun, the original founder of Korea, and joined the organization. Ilchi Lee’s Dangun movement was bitterly opposed by the Christian Right of Korea, who deemed it idolatry. Kim Jiha broke with Ilchi Lee in 1999 after a famous press conference accusing Ilchi Lee as an immoral fraud.)
It was shortly after the Policy Team was created, led by Daewonjang. They wanted to meet with me separately. They spoke of the need to retool many parts of the organization and wanted help. I agreed and told them, since I believed in Daewonjang, whatever he did, I would support it.
And Kim Jiha took over the MinShiRyun (Korean Nationalistic Civic Group) and Susungnim instructed everyone to support him. However, Daewonjang expressed his worry over Kim Jiha’s direction. I also thought that, knowing Susungnim’s working style, Kim Jiha and Susungnim would run cross against each other. Further, if we didn’t control the very active rumor mill within our organization, I thought there might be problems.
Susungnim always says that he trusts someone 100% in the beginning when instructing him or her with some project, but there are always problems later on. Therefore, I wanted for Kim Jiha to consult with Daewonjang in his work. I reported thus to Susungnim.
But Susungnim said that he only trusted Kim Jiha. But, before long, Kim Jiha asked complained to me that Susungnim was micromanaging even the tiniest details and in this way, the bigger picture might get ruined. He wanted me to become a go between.
I suggested a 3 – Way meeting solution.
I wanted to get Daewonjang’s suggestions and conclude most matters at his level, without going up to Susungnim’s level. I wanted these meetings to be kept secret. The reason for the secrecy was that Susungnim did not like Daewonjang meeting with Kim Jiha. Also, we had to write detailed report to Susungnim every time we met, and it took a long time to write those reports. And I didn’t want Susungnim to instruct me on a separate agenda in those 3 – way meetings.
I just told Eumhwa (who was in charge of BCC, secretarial dept. under direct control of Susungnim) of the existence of such meetings. We had several 3 – way meetings but there was nothing big enough for Susungnim to decide himself. It was a meeting of sharing information. It worked well.
By phone, Susungnim spoke to Kim Jiha and Daewonjang of his opinion of Han Munryun petition (this was a nationalistic petition to be published in newspapers). Both of them disagreed with Susungnim’s opinion. They wanted Susungnim to trust them enough to leave the work up to them.
I got a call from Susungnim, who said: “When I talk to you, I feel blocked in the chest. It is obvious that both Kim Jiha and Daewonjang have negative information about me. You judge both Kim Jiha and Daewonjang according to your conscience and report to me about them.”
I understood what was going on generally. I first checked with Eumhwa and Shin Mijung to see how they had reported to Susungnim about me. Ultimately, they decided to go with Susungnim wishes on how to proceed with the petition. The result was not good.
Kim Jiha stated that Susungnim must change his working style. Kim Jiha said that he would risk any humiliation to succeed in his work in order to change Susungnim’s style also. I agreed and told him of the problems within our organization (about 60% of the contents of the letter) to help him reform the organization. However, the result was the opposite of what I expected. Kim Jiha became very angry and regretful over his original decision to join the organization. In the meanwhile, Lee Hyungtae, senior advisor to Dahn organization, came to Korea.
Lee Hyuntae said: “We only need 100 masters willing to risk their lives. Blood must be shed. We need to aim guns at the Christian ministers and threaten them. We need masters willing to go to jail.” I discussed this with Kim Jiha. Upon hearing this, he became angrier. He said, “That man does not know the meaning of terrorism. I don’t even need to meet with him.”
I discussed this with Daewonjang. He said, as long as he was there as the Executive Manager of Dahn Korea, something like that would not happen. We had another 3 – way meeting. At that meeting, Kim Jiha, in an emotional voice, recorded what he wanted to say to Susungnim on a tape. I had plans to meet with Susungnim in Beijing. Kim Jiha wanted me to deliver the tape to Susungnim in Beijing. Daewonjang agreed that the tape should be delivered without any editing. So I did.
The tape basically said: “If you continue on this path, Dahn will be no more within 3 years. You are not an enlightened man. I renounce you as my teacher. You should listen to my advice instead from now on.”
Susungnim got angry at these words. “If Kim Jiha apologizes for the three things he said on the tape, I will forgive him and never interfere with his work. But if he doesn’t, I will end the relationship.”
When I came back to Korea, I hid from everyone for two days and rested. Then I discussed with Daewonjang. He proposed lying to both Kim Jiha and Susungnim to allow them to come together and talk with each other directly. But they both knew each other well and both wanted to end the relatioinship.
Susungnim told me to take the responsibility for this incident. All I wanted to do was to become a center manager and live with Arijang. I wrote down an official apology, just as Susungnim wanted, and became demoted to a lower level master and allowed to go to a center. Susungnim, in a nationwide masters lecture, spoke about me. “She wanted to be God but, because of pride, ate from the tree of knowledge. Enemy within is always the more dangerous.” And he projected my apology letter on a huge screen for all the masters to see.
A few days later, Susungnim visited me in CheonIlAm and said: “You sin was that, under the pretense of protecting Daewonjang and Kim Jiha, I was no longer in the center of your heart. You cannot have anyone more important than me in your life. Go to Japan. I will get a visa for you. Go there and succeed without Kim Jiha. Then come back successfully. Kill that bug in your head. If you disturb me one more time, you will die.”
I then received a 15 day rest. In the meanwhile, I met with Song00 member. I told her everything.
Then Lee Hyungtae wanted to see me, saying that he had to tell me something that Susungnim wanted to tell me. He actually told me he defended me: when some male master said that I was a bitch, he told that master if he ever saw me act like a bitch to say such thing. I told him that although I understood people having suspicions about my relationship with Susungnim, I didn’t understand people having suspicions about me and Kim Jiha. Listening to him, I was even more discouraged and wanted to quit being a master.
Lee Hyungtae told me that other masters reported to Susungnim that my phone voice was still as bright as ever and that I showed no signs of remorse. Susungnim told me to stay quiet and repent. That discouraged me even more.
So many masters called. I told them all that whatever Susungnim said was right and to obey him in all things. To those who cursed me, I apologized for not setting a good example. That evening, I went to stay at a place that a close member had prepared for me. On the second night, Susungnim called me directly: “…Don’t go around saying useless things and go to Japan as soon as possible. And even in Japan, don’t stay in the local center but go become a pioneer and don’t come back to Korea…”
I was tired. I couldn’t do anything. Then that close member made a pass at me at night. In the other room, my assistant master was sleeping. I refused his advances and asked him why. He said that he thought all Dahn masters practiced free sex. I said he was wrong. I then slept next to my assistant master and cried all night. I was at my wits’ end. When my cell phone rang, I cried into the phone without caring who it was. It was Kim Jiha’s wife.
I then went to Ilsan and told Kim Jiha that I was going to quit. I also told Daewonjang by phone that I was quitting. I said that won’t ever think of Tao, enlightenment, spirit, or things like that again. I went on a trip. After coming back, I got a small room in Wondang, which I was cheaper than Seoul. I knew Wondang from my days there as a center master. I only contacted Kim Jiha, Song00, and Daewonjang. To Daewonjang, I asked whether he could recommend me to a job, even manual labor. Kim Jiha told me that I could have an administrative job in his office. I said OK.
And this is all that’s happened until now. I sincerely apologize to all those who loved me and whom I loved. I just don’t know right now how I could this situation. To tell you truthfully, I feel like I am standing in a place where different set of rules apply. I feel like a little kid.
Everyone knows of the dream of Utopia. Many people, including me, have gone through mistakes in trying to make it happen. The biggest reason is that personal ambition and greed always become a higher priority than the original vision. Until now, I worried that people might think that it was my personal desires that made all these things happen. But now, I understand that even that fear of misunderstanding is a result of my ego.
I don’t care now who misunderstands me. I just worry about those young people like me who, in their pure heart and vigor, are risking their health and lives to save the Korean people. I also know that 80% of the masters and members have no idea of what’s going on. I also know that there are masters who think differently having the same information that I have. What I am doing now could be twisted to serve these people’s purposes. However, not doing anything and keeping quiet about all these, living my life in a compromise with my past, I couldn’t live like that. Even writing this letter is wrong, then I will learn from it. If you want to discuss with me on how to solve this, contact me and I will take you phone call. I will accept calls only from Dahn members or masters. My number is 000-000-0000. You might no believe me, but I really loved Dahn and respect all those whom I met in Dahn. I hope you forgive me of all my sins that I might have committed unknowingly.