CHIANG RAI – On Saturday November 2 Chiang Rai resident Tony MacGregor will describe a historic pilgrimage he undertook in Korea to honor a beloved Korean Saint, Wonhyo.
MacGregor, a journalist, lived in Korea for about three years and became entranced with Wonhyo, Korea’s most beloved and controversial Buddhist saint. He has made the Wonhyo Pilgrimage twice, the second time to make documentary film.Bogwangjeon hall at Bunhwangsa, Gyeongju which is a dedicated shrine to Wonhyo.“Wonhyo was an extraordinary person. He trekked across Korea in the seventh century and found enlightenment in a cave at the end of his crossing. We attempted to follow in his footsteps – the first time anyone had ever tried to do so in 1,300 years – and we also attempted to emulate his spiritual insights,” MacGregor said.MacGregor will give the Power Point presentation, which includes video, at the meeting of the Chiang Rai Expat Club on Saturday, Nov. 2 beginning 10.30 am in the fifth floor of the building that houses the Hill Tribe Museum and Education Center, 620/25 Thanalai, adjacent to the Cabbages and Condoms Restaurant.
MacGregor said that the pilgrims covered about 500 km, much of which was walked along back roads and mountain tracks. The journey took them from Gyeongju, ancient capital of the Korean Shilla kingdom, to what is known as Wonhyo’s cave near Dangjin, on the west coast of South Chungcheong Province, just south of Incheon.
On the way, they visited 11 monasteries and interviewed several abbots and many monks and recorded their conversations for the film. “Through the film, we hope to share the wisdom of these monks who spent many years in the monasteries, and also share Korean Buddhism, which has unique qualities.”
MacGregor said the ultimate aim of the Wonhyo pilgrims is to establish a permanent Wonhyo pilgrimage trail across the Korean peninsula. For more information, www.inthefootstepsofwonhyo.com.
Wonhyo (617 – 686), one of Korea’s most beloved and unconventional monks, was a great scholar with more than 80 commentaries and essays to his credit. Born into a simple family in the Silla Kingdom, Wonhyo, a monk for many years, renounced the formal religion life to teach ordinary people. He was known to carry a gourd, dancing and singing around the country, encouraging people to chant and recite the Buddha’s name. He called himself a “muae-geusa” ,unhindered practitioner
Introduction of Tony MacGregor to Chiang Rai Expat Club,
Nov. 2, 2013
Tony MacGregor has lived in Chiang Rai for about five months. He is a new father. His wife gave birth to his baby daughter Sara about five weeks ago.
Tony is a Canadian. He is a journalist and retired from a community relations job with a government-owned electric utility in British Colombia in 2005.
Before coming to Chiang Rai he studied Buddhism in Bangkok for about five years at Mahachulalongkorn Univesity, and before that he worked as a journalist in Korea for three years. While he was in Korea he became fascinated by Wonhyo, Korea’s most beloved Buddhist saint, who lived in the 7th Century.
He and some friends conceived the idea of a pilgrimage to honor Wonhyo and to recognize and pay tribute to the spiritual side of Korea and Koreans that is so often overlooked.
So Tony is here today to tell you about that pilgrimage that he and his friends made across the Korean Peninsula. It was an historic pilgrimage – the first time in 1,300 years that anyone had attempted to emulate Wonhyo’s journey across the Korean Peninsula. They stayed in monasteries, some of which Wonhyo had founded, and talked to the monks about the search for happiness. Thank you Tony.
In the Footsteps of Wonhyo
- Foreigners Plan Footsteps of Wonhyo Project Korea Times on January 13, 2009
- The Wonhyo Trail Project February 2009 Issue of Bulgyo Munhwa, Monthly Journal of Buddhist Culture
- The Footsteps of Wonhyo The Marmot’s Hole blog on January 14, 2009
- In The Footsteps of Wonhyo The Marmot’s Hole blog on October 22, 2011
- The Way of Walking Dongguk University News on October 10, 2011
- In the Footsteps of Wonhyo — A 21st Century Pilgrimage The Three Wise Monkeys blog on November 14, 2011
- KBS INTERVIEW Radio interview in Seoul on November 29, 2011
- Four Expats Begin Pilgrimage Across Korea The Three Wise Monkeys blog on December 5, 2011
- Expats undertake Buddhist pilgrimage across nation Korea Times on December 6, 2011
- Walking in the footsteps of Korea’s most beloved monk Yonhap on December 23, 2011
- Expats carve paths for Wonhyo Project Korea JoongAng Daily on January 10, 2012
- Image of Korea: Wonhyo pilgrimage Korea Times on January 12, 2012
- Korean Pilgrimage Diaries Groove Magazine, December, 2012
Facebook: In The Footsteps Of Wonhyo