- Sahng-jeh-nim as a Child
- 4 From early childhood on, Hahk-bohng showed virtue in saving and nurturing life. He cultivated a garden in the corner of the yard and planted trees around the field.
- 5 He would not destroy plants or harm insects. Whenever He saw any living thing in danger, He would do His best to save it.
- 6 In 1876, at age six, He gained a sudden awakening while watching a performance of traditional music and dance, poong-mool. As an adult, He continued to enjoy this kind of performance, but did not enjoy other forms of music and dance.
- 7 That year, though they were poor, the Sacred Father wanted Him to learn The Thousand Characters Text, so he hired a well-known teacher named Hwahng from Jahng-goon Village in Tae-in County. When the teacher arrived, Hahk-bohng opened the book and recited the words heaven (天) and earth (地) so loudly it shook the house. He then closed the book and left the room without saying anything else. After a few days, the teacher said, “Don’t You think You should study?” Though the teacher continued trying to persuade Him, Hahk-bohng would not read from the book again.
- 8 When the teacher finally gave up, Hahk-bohng said, “From the word heaven I learned the nature of heaven. From the word earth I learned the nature of earth. What more is there to know? Please relax until it is time to go.” In the end, the Sacred Father sent the teacher away.
- 9 At the age of seven, Hahk-bohng was asked by a teacher to write a poem using the word alarm (驚). His poem went as follows:
- 遠步恐地坼 大呼恐天驚
- Thinking of making a long jump,
I fear the earth will collapse.
Thinking of shouting loudly,
I fear heaven will be alarmed.
- 13 When Hahk-bohng was nine years old, the Sacred Father owed several hundred nyahng to a wealthy man called Bahk in Jung-eup County. The Sacred Father constantly worried because of repeated requests for payment.
- 14 One day, Hahk-bohng asked His father to give Him fifty nyahng so that He could make a payment. After delivering the money, Hahk-bohng played with the students who were in the study at the man’s house. The tutor was giving the students words with which they were to write poems.
- 15 Hahk-bohng also wrote a poem, and the students and tutor were amazed at its sophistication.
- 16 The wealthy man thought it extraordinary and invited Hahk-bohng to stay at his house to study with his sons and nephews.
- 17 Feeling obliged, Hahk-bohng stayed a few days, but His father’s debt was constantly on His mind. Because the wealthy man found Hahk-bohng’s concern for His father commendable and was impressed by Him, he decided to give up his claim. He burned the loan papers.
- 20 When learning new words and studying literature at school, Hahk-bohng understood everything immediately and never had to repeat a lesson.
- 21 When He wrote poetry with fellow schoolmates, they would always tease, “How could You write poetry, having learned so few words?” Yet, He always placed first.
- 22 One day, the teacher, fearing he would be disliked by the parents of the other students, decided to give first place to the student who was second in writing skill. He watched for the student’s writing, but Hahk-bohng again placed first.
- 23 Knowing the teacher’s intention, Hahk-bohng had changed His writing style and handwriting, and so the teacher was unable to distinguish Hahk-bohng’s writing from that of the other student.
- Childhood Meditation
- 31 When at home, Hahk-bohng spent His time in a backyard hut in which He meditated and immersed Himself in deep thought. At night, He would climb Shee-ru Mountain, yell loudly, and run from Big Shee-ru Peak to Small Shee-ru Peak.
- 32 He would breathe in the mountain qi and go into deep meditation in the midst of the stillness.
- (JSD Dojeon 1,15)