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Lions Roar : September 2005
74 SHAMBHALA SUN SEPTEMBER 2005 Wonhyo saw this as skillful means. In the Tripitaka, there are examples of the Buddha in dialogue with householders. He teaches how householders can live a pious life.” There was another long silence, the master continuing to look off into the distance. Finally, the master looked at each of us and addressed Ilmee directly. “It’s good that you are marrying a longtime, com- mitted Buddhist who has also studied Buddhism at Harvard and published a book. Your marriage will be a bridge that connects Korean and Western Buddhism. You can be a good team for spreading the Buddha’s teachings around the world and to the new generation.” He continued, “Maybe you have heard that our island has recently been desig- nated as an international zone, which is why the government built the World Cup soccer stadium here. Since meditation is becoming popular with laypeople, I want to build a new, international meditation center. I would like to invite you to be an integral part of it and I hope you will come here frequently to teach. Please build a branch center in America.” Ilmee and I looked at each other and smiled with relief. Not only did we have permission to marry, but the master wished to deepen the connection among us. It was a compelling vision for the future. The secretary began peeling a per- simmon and preparing tea. The conver- sation became less formal, with Ilmee speaking mostly in Korean. After many cups of tea, our legs getting stiff, the master recommended that the secretary show us around the island. The three of us bowed three times to the master and left. As soon as we got in the SUV, the sec- retary burst out in rapid-fire Korean, “Oh my Buddha, Ilmee Sunim, you can’t imagine what’s really been going on! A few months ago, I noticed that the master had suddenly become silent and seemed really distressed. I couldn’t figure it out. One day, while I was straightening out his papers, I found your letter on his desk.” Ilmee looked calm and listened care- fully. She continued, “Personally, when I read the letter, I thought it was wonderful