'As a Peace-Loving Global Citizen'
Sun Myung Moon
the Autobiography Text
NEW VISION FOR YOUTH
Find Your Purpose,
Change Your Life
When we meet someone new, we are always curious about
who he or she is. God has the same curiosity about each
human being. He is especially curious about young people,
and it brings Him great joy when He gets to know them
intimately. Why is this? It is because our youth is the
most important and the most beautiful period
of our lives. This period should be
a time of tranquility as one prepares for the future.
The process of growing to maturity is a
building block that opens the way to a new era.
It is difficult to find
young people today who are passionate about their lives.
We find so many young people who, with no goal or purpose
for their life, are just wandering around.
All great leaders in history had a definite purpose for
their life from the time they were children.
From childhood they nurtured that purpose held within
their hearts and exerted great energy to achieve it.
Whether they were sleeping or playing with their friends,
these great leaders geared every youthful action toward
preparing for the stage
that they would stand on in the future. Is that how you
are living your life?
We are all created to be great men and women.
God did not send us into this world without purpose.
When God created us He invested His complete love into
each person. So we are all created for greatness.
Because God exists, we can accomplish anything.
I became a completely different person when I began
to love God. I loved humanity more than myself and
was more concerned with the problems of others
than with the problems of my family. I loved everything
that God created. I deeply loved the trees on the hills
and the fish in the waters. My spiritual senses
developed so I could discern God's handiwork in all
things of creation.
As I was changing my heart to conform to God's love, I
also strengthened my body so that I could fulfill
my mission. I wanted to be ready to go anywhere,
anytime that God called me. I played soccer and did
boxing, some traditional Korean martial arts, and
'wanwado', a form of martial arts that I developed.
In 'wanwado', the athlete moves his body in a smooth
circular motion, almost as in a dance.
It is based on the principle that greater power comes from
circular motion than moving in a straight line.
Even now I begin each day with stretching excercises
for my muscles and joints and a breathing exercise
that I developed. Sometimes when I am traveling around
the world on speaking tours, I may not have time
for these exercises in the morning. Still I will
find the time, sometimes while sitting on the toilet.
I never miss a day of exercise. When I was young,
thirty minutes a day was plenty, but now that I am older
I have increased it to an hour a day.
In 2008 I was involved in
a helicopter crash. The helicopter was suddenly
surrounded by black rain clouds and in an instant
crashed into a mountainside. The helicopter rolled over,
and I was left hanging upside down by my seat-belt.
Instinctively I tightly grabbed the arm rests on both
sides of my seat. If I had not been so diligent
in my exercises, I think I would have broken my hip
the instant that I was suspended upside down. The body
is the container to hold a healthy spirit. It is
important for us to be diligent about training our bodies.
Few students go to school because they like to study.
They, usually go because their parents tell them to,
not because they look forward to studying. As students
continue to study, however, they gradually learn
to enjoy it. From that point, they will start to study
on their own and find their own path. An interest
in learning is a sign of maturity.
Parents cannot wait until their children mature enough
to study on their own. They tell them. "You have to
study. Please make up your mind to study." and put
pressure on them. Parents do this because they know
that children need to study in order to prepare for
the future. They worry that, if their children don't
study at the proper age level, they will face the future
There is, however, something
more important than studying to prepare for the future.
Before unconditionally focusing entirely on studies,
young people must realize what they want to do in life.
They must make a determination to use their talents
to help the world rather than just serve themselves.
Many young people today seem to be studying just for
its own sake. Unless you have purpose in life, your
studies will lack the passion needed for happiness.
Once I came across a Korean student working hard
on his English schoolwork. I asked him, "Why are you
working so hard to learn English?"
He answered, "To get into a university."
What could be more short-sighted? Getting into a
university is not a purpose. A university is a place
to go to study particular subjects in the course of
pursuing a larger objective. It cannot be the objective
Also, do not define your life goal in terms of how much
money you want to make. I have never received a salary,
but I have managed to eat and stay alive.
Money is a means to do something, not the goal. Before
you make money, have a plan for spending it. Money
gained without a prior objective will soon be wasted.
Your choice of occupation should not be based on just
your talents and interests. Whether you become a fire-
fighter, a farmer or a soccer player is up to you. But
what I am referring to transcends your occupation. What
kind of life will you lead as a soccer player? How will
you live as a farmer? What is you objective in life?
To set your objective is to give meaning to the life
you will lead. If you are going to be a farmer, then
you should set your objective to test new agricultural
methods, develop better species of crops, and help
eradicate world hunger. If you are going to be a soccer
player, then set a meaningful objective such as to
heighten your country's image in the world or to
establish soccer camps that will nurture the dreams
of economically deprived children.
To become a world-class soccer player
takes incredible work. If you do not have a definite
purpose in your heart, you will not be able to endure
the difficult training required to reach the top.
Only if you have the objective will you have the power
to maintain your course
and live a life that is a cut above those around you.
Embrace the World
Setting a goal in life is similar to planting a tree.
If you plant a tree in the front yard of your home,
you will have jujubes in your home.
If you plant apple tress on the hill behind your home,
then they will produce apples. Think carefully about
your choice of goals and where you intend to plant them.
Depending on the goal you choose and where you plant it,
you can become a jujube tree in Seoul or an apple tree
in Africa. Or you can become a palm tree
in the South Pacific. The goal you plant will bear fruit
in the future. Think carefully where the best place is
to plant your goal so that it will bear the best fruit.
When you are setting your goal, be sure to consider
the entire world. Consider Africa, which continues to
suffer from poverty and disease. Consider Israel and
Palestine, where people continue to aim their weapons
at each other and fight over matters of religion.
Consider Afghanistan, where people barely keep themselves
alive by raising poppies used to make harmful drugs.
Consider the United States, where extreme greed and
selfishness has contributed to the global
economic crisis. Consider Indonesia, Haiti, and Chili,
which have suffered from earthquakes and tidal waves.
Imagine yourself in the context of those countries and
think which country and which situation would be most
appropriate for you. It may be that you are best suited
to India where a new religious conflict may erupt. Or
it could be in Rwanda which languishes in drought and
In setting a goal, students shouldn't be so foolish as
to decide that because a country is small, like Korea,
it isn't worthy of your goals. Depending on what you
do, there is no limit to how large a small country can
become. Its national boundaries could even disappear.
Whether you do good work on a large continent of Africa
or in the small country of Korea, your goal should not
be restricted by size. Your goals should be about where
your talents can have the most impact.
Think of the world as your stage as you decide what
you want to do in life. If you do you will likely find
many more things to do than what you were originally
dreaming about. You have only one life to live so use it
to do something that the world needs. You cannot reach
the hidden treasure on an island without adventure.
Please think beyond your own country, and think of
the world as your stage in setting your goal.
During the 1980's, I sent many Korean university students
to Japan and the United States.
I wanted them to leave Korea, where tear gas canisters
were being fired almost daily,
and let them see a wider world of greater reality.
The frog that lives at the bottom of a well does not
realize that there is a bigger world outside of the well.
I was thinking globally before that word even entered
the Korean language. The reason I went to Japan to study
was to see a wider world. The reason I planned to work
for the Manchurian Electric Company in Hailar, China,
and learn the Chinese, Russian and Mongolian languages,
even before Korea was liberated, was to enable me to live
as a global citizen. Even now
I travel by plane to many places in the world. If I were
to visit a different country every day, it would take
more than six months to visit all of them.
People live in different countries,
and they all live in different circumstances. There are
places where there is no water to cook rice with, while
other places have too much water. Some countries have no
electricity while some countries are not able to consume
all the electricity that they produce.
There are many examples of how something is lacking in one
place but overabundant in another. The problem is
there are not enough people focused on equalizing
The same is true with raw materials. Some countries have
an abundance of coal and iron ore stacked in piles.
They don't even need to dig into the earth. All they need
to do is shovel the coal and iron ore from piles that are
easily accessed. Korea, however, has a critical shortage
of coal and iron ore reserves. To dig out anthracite coal
we need to risk our lives to go thousands of feet
Africa has many places where bananas grow naturally
in abundance, and they could keep people from starving.
But there is a lack of technology
and lack of access to productive land, so not enough
banana plantations are created. Korea's climate is
not suited for growing bananas, and yet we grow bananas.
This technology in Korea could be very helpful in solving
the problem of poverty in Africa. It is similar to
the way that South Korean technology for planting corn
has helped relieve starvation in North Korea.
The phrase "global leader" is now in vogue in Korea.
People say they want to become fluent in English and
become global leaders. Becoming a global leader, however,
is not just a matter of a person's fluency in English.
The ability to communicate in English is nothing more than
a tool. A true global leader is someone who is able to
embrace the world in his own bosom. A person who has no
interest in the problems of the world cannot become global
leader, no matter how well he might communicate in
To be a global leader a person must think of the world's
problems as his own and have the pioneering spirit
that is needed for finding difficult solutions. A person
who is attached to a secure and fixed income, or dreams
of having a pension after retirement and a comfortable
family life, cannot be a global leader. To become
a global leader a person must consider the whole world
to be his country and all humanity to be his brothers and
sisters and not be overly concerned that he does not know
what the future may hold for him.
What are siblings? Why did God give us brothers and
sisters? Siblings represent all human beings around
the world. The experience of loving our brothers and
sisters in the family teaches us
how to love our fellow countrymen and love humanity.
Our love for our own siblings expands in this way.
The family whose members love each other is a model of how
humanity can live together in harmony. Love among
siblings means that one sibling is willing to go hungry,
if necessary, so that his brother or sister can eat. A
global leader is someone who loves humanity as his own
It has been a while since we first heard the phrase
"global village." Yet the earth has always been a single
community. If a person's goal in life is to
graduate from a university, get a job with a company that
will pay a high salary, and lead a secure life, then
that person will have the success of a puppy. But if he
dedicates his life to helping refugees in Africa, he will
have the success of a lion. The course that is chosen
depends on the heart of the individual.
Even at the age of ninety I continue to travel around
the world. I refuse to rest from my mission. The world
is like a living organism in that it is always changing.
New problems are always arising. I go to the dark corners
of the world where these problems exist. These are not
the places with beautiful views or comfortable amenities,
but I feel comfortable in places that are dark, difficult
and lonely because that is where I'm fulfilling
my mission, my purpose and my goals.
My hope is that Korea will produce global leaders
in the true sense. I hope to see more political leaders
who will lead the United Nations to fulfill its purpose
and more diplomatic leaders who will stop the fighting in
areas of conflict.
I hope to see someone like Mother Theresa who will
take care of those wandering and dying on the streets.
I hope to see peace leaders who will take on my mission
of pioneering new solutions from the land and sea.
The starting point is to have a dream and a goal. Please
have an adventurous and pioneering spirit. Dream dreams
that others dare not imagine. Set goals for yourselves
that have meaning, and become global leaders who will
bring benefit to humankind.
Everything We Have Is
Borrowed from Heaven
People say I am one of the richest people in the world,
but they don't know what they are talking about.
I have worked hard all my life, but I don't own so much as
a single house in my name. Everything is for the public.
Virtually every adult Korean has his official stamp that
he registers with the government and uses to sign legal
documents. I don't have such a stamp.
You may wonder then what benefit I have received from
working hard and not eating or sleeping while others ate
and slept. I didn't work so I could be rich. Money has
no meaning to me. Any money not used for the sake of
humanity, or for the sake of my neighbor who is dying
in poverty, is nothing more than a piece of paper. Money
earned through hard work should always be used to love
the world and carry out projects that benefit the world.
When I send missionaries overseas, I don't give them a lot
of money. Yet they survive wherever they go. It takes
very little for us to support ourselves. If we have
a sleeping bag, that is enough for us to sleep
anywhere. What is important is not how we live but
the kind of life we lead. Material affluence is not
a condition for happiness. It is sad to me that
the phrase "to live well" has come to be defined in terms
of material affluence. To live well means to live a life
that has meaning.
I wear a necktie only for worship services or special
events. I don't wear a suit often, either. I generally
wear a sweater when I am at home. I sometimes imagine
how much money is spent on neckties in Western societies.
Necktie pins, dress shirts and cuff links are very
expensive. If everyone stopped buying neckties and used
the money instead for the sake of our neighbors who suffer
from hunger, the world would be a little bit better place
Expensive things are not necessarily the best to have.
Imagine what it would be like if the building were
on fire. Who would be the first to get out: I in my
sweater or someone with a tie? I am always ready to
Some people might think I take conservation to extremes.
I'm not in favor of taking a bath every day.
Once every three days is enough. I also don't wash
my socks every day. In the evening, I take off my socks
and put them in my back pocket so that I can wear them
again the next day. When I am in a hotel, I use only the
smallest of the towels that are hanging in the bathroom.
I flush the toilet only when I have urinated in it three
times. I use only a single square of toilet paper, after
folding it in half three times. I don't care if you
call me civilized or barbaric for this.
The same desire to conserve is true at mealtime. I have
no interest in elaborate meals. There may be all sorts of
exotic foods and different types of deserts in front
of me, but I am not interested in those. I don't fill
my rice bowl completely. It's enough if it is three-
The shoes I prefer most in Korea cost 49,000 won ($40)
at a large discount store. The pants I wear every day are
well over five years old. The meal I enjoy the most in
America is McDonald's. Some people call it junk food and
don't eat it, but I like eating at McDonald's for
two reasons. It's cheap and it saves time. When I take
the children out to eat we often go to McDonald's.
I don't know how it came to be known that I often go
to McDonald's, but now the Chairman of the McDonald's
Corporation sends me a New Year's greeting card
The message that I give to our members every year is
"Spend money carefully, and conserve on everthing."
I don't tell them this so they can save money and become
rich. I want them to have a consciousness of conserving
in order to help the country and save humanity. We don't
take anything with us when we leave this world. Everyone
knows this, and yet for some reason people are desperate
to get their hands on as many things as possible. I plan
to give away everything I have built up during my life
before leaving this world. The Heavenly Kingdom has
plenty of treasure, and there is no need to take anything
there from this world. When we understand that we are
going to a place that is better
than where we are now, there is no need to become attached
to the things of this world.
There is a song
that I have always liked to sing. It is an old popular
song that many Koreans know. Every time I sing this song
it sets my heart at ease and tears come to my eyes.
It reminds me of my boyhood when I used to lie in
the fields at home.
You may say you will give me a crown
with platinum and jewels,
But a shirt smelling of dirt
and dripping with sweat is worth more.
A pure heart wells up within my bosom,
I can make a flute out of willow leaves,
And the sparrows sing along with my tune.
You may say you will give me enough gold
to buy the world,
But an ox that will till the soil
in a barley field is worth more.
The buds of hope sprout in my bosom,
I can talk freely with the rabbits,
And the days go by as I play my tune.
Happiness is always waiting for us. The reason that we
can't find happiness is that our own desires block
the way. As long as our eyes are fixed on our desires,
they cannot see the path we should follow. We are so busy
trying to pick up the scraps of gold lying on the ground
near us that we do not see the huge pile of gold that is
a little way up the road. We are so busy stuffing things
into our pockets that we don't realize that there are
holes in those pockets.
I have not forgotten what it was like to live in Heungnam
Prison. Even the most terrible place in this world is
more comfortable and more materially abundant than
Heungnam Prison. Every object belongs to Heaven. We are
only its stewards.
a Life Lived for Others
Children are born
from the flesh and blood of their parents. Without
parents there would be no children. Yet people in this
world shout out for individualism as though they came into
the world on their own. Only the person who receives no
help from anyone whatsoever has the right to speak
of individualism. There is nothing in this world that
comes into being for its own sake alone. All created
beings are created for one another. I exist for you and
you exist for me.
There is no one as foolish as the foolish person who lives
for his own sake. It may appear that a selfish life
benefits the individual, but ultimately it is a life of
self-destruction. The individual must live for the
family, the family for the people, the people for the
world, and the world for God.
All the schools I have founded have three mottos.
The first is "Live a life that casts no shadows, as if you
were under the sun at high noon." A life without shadows
is a life with a clear conscience.
When we finish our life here on earth and go to the spirit
world, our entire life will unfold before us, as though
it were being played back on videotape. Whether we go
to heaven or to hell is determined by how we live. So we
need to live spotlessly clean lives, casting not even
the smallest shadow.
The second motto is "Live shedding sweat for earth, tears
for man and blood for heaven." There are no lies in
the blood, sweat and tears that people shed. There is
only truth. There is no great meaning or value, however,
in the blood, sweat and tears that a person sheds only
for his own sake.
This great investment must be shed for the sake of others.
The final motto is "One Family under God!" There is only
one God, and all human beings are brothers and sisters.
Differences of language, race and culture account for less
than one percent. As human beings we are more than
ninety-nine percent the same.
There are fourteen island counties in the South Pacific.
When I visited the Marshall Islands, I asked
its president, "This is a beautiful land, but it must
still be difficult to lead this country, isn't it?"
The president sighed and replied, "Our population is just
sixty thousand and the land is just two meters above
sea level on average. So high waves or
a rise in sea levels of just one meter would flood much
of the country. But our most serious problem is
education. Children of rich families go to America
or Europe to beeducated and do not return.
Children of poor families have no schools from which to
receive a good education, so even the brightest child
cannot be trained properly for leadership. The concern
for an island country such as ours is that we are unable
to raise up leaders who will lead us in the future."
After hearing this lament, I established
the High School of the Pacific in Kona, Hawaii, for the
sake of the children of these island countries. This
school provides secondary education to children from
countries throughout the Pacific and helps them apply
to college. We provided round-trip airfare to Hawaii,
tuition, board and even computers so that they can
receive the best education. We attached just one
condition to receive this education: Once they finish,
they must return to their countries and work in
the service of their nation and its people.
Living for the sake of others
requires sacrifices from time to time. Some years ago
one of our church missionaries was touring South America
when the place he was visiting was hit by a major
earthquake. His wife came running to me with her face
as white as a sheet. "What should I do?" she asked
with tears in her eyes. "I am so worried. I don't know
what to do."
You might be surprised by my response.
Instead of patting her on the shoulder and comforting her,
I shouted at her, "Are you most worried about your
husband's safety? Or are you worried about how many lives
he may be able to save in that disaster area?"
It was natural for her to be concerned for her husband's
safety. But because she was the wife of a missionary, her
concerns should have been of a higher order. Rather than
only pray for her husband's safety, she should have prayed
that her husband could save as many lives as possible.
Nothing exists for its own sake. That is not how God
created the world. Man exists for the sake of woman, and
women exist for the sake of man. Nature exists for the
sake of humanity, and humanity exists for the sake of
nature. All created beings in this world exist for the
sake of their counterparts. It is an axiom of Heaven that
every being lives for the sake of its partner.
Happiness is possible only in relationship with a partner.
Imagine that some fellow who has lived his life as
a singer goes to an uninhabited island and sings as loudly
as possible. If there is no one there to hear him,
he will not be happy.
To realize that we exist for the sake of others is
the great achievement that changes our lives. When we
realize that our life is not ours alone but is meant to
be for the sake of the other, we begin to follow a path
different from the one we were on.
Just as singing to yourself will not make you happy,
there is no joy without a partner. Even the smallest
and most trivial thing can bring you happiness when you
do it for another.
a Peaceful World
For years I have called for a world where all religions
live together as one, all races live as one, all nations
live as one.
Yet for thousands of years history has seen the continuous
increase of divisions. Each time a different religion
was adopted or a new regime came into power, more
boudaries were drawn and wars were fought. Now, however,
we live in an age of globalism. For the sake of the
future we must become one.
One way I purpose to facilitate that is through
the International Peace Highway, a huge undertaking.
It will link Korea and Japan by an undersea tunnel
and create a bridge or tunnel across the Bering Strait
that separates Russia and North America.
These great links can unify the world. When the highway
is completed, it will be possible to travel by car from
Africa's Cape of Good Hope to Sandiego, Chili, and from
London to New York. There will be no roadblocks;
the entire world will be interconnected like the way
the blood vessels function in the body.
The world will become one integrated community, and
everyone will be able to travel freely across
international borders. Borders that give free passage
to anyone will lose their significance as borders.
Something similar will be true for religion.
As the frequency of exchanges among religions increases,
greater mutual understanding will arise, conflict will
disappear, and the walls of separation will crumble.
When different types of people live together in a single
global community, barriers between races will come down.
Interaction between races will occur despite differences
in appearance and language. This culural revolution will
bring the world into one.
The ancient Silk Road was not simply a trade route that
people used in order to sell silk and buy spices. It was
also a vehicle for the peoples of the East and West
to meet and for Buddhism, Islam ad Christianity to meet.
These different cultures intermingled and gave rise to
a new culture. The International Peace Highway will
play a similar role in the twenty-first century.
Rome could thrive because all roads led to Rome.
This is a good illustration of the importance of roads.
When a road is built, people use it to travel. It is used
to transport culture and ideology. That is why when
a road is built it can change the course of history.
When the International Peace Highway is completed,
the world can be physically bound together as one.
The road will make this possible.
I cannot overemphasize the importance of bringing
the world together.
Some may think that this is an idea ahead of its time.
Religious people, however,
foresee the future and prepare for it. So it is only
natural that we are ahead of our time. The world may not
uderstand this and may cause us to suffer, but religious
believers must persevere to lead the way of the future.
Completing the International Peace Highway will require
the cooperation of many nations. China which was a victim
of Japanese agression, may not welcome the idea of being
connected to Japan by a highway. Japan and Korea,
however, cannot connect to the rest of the world
without going through China, so we need to make efforts
to win China's trust.
Who will do this? Those who will take spiritual ownership
over the International Peace Highway in the twenty-first
century need to take the lead in this effort.
How about bridging the Bering Strait?
It will cost a great deal, but this should not
cause concern. The amount of money that the United States
has spent in Iraq would be more than enough to build
such a bridge. We must stop waging war and forcing people
to suffer. It is perverse to start wars and squander
hundreds of billions of dollars. The time has come
for us to beat our swords into plowshares and our spears
into pruning hooks.
The International Peace Highway
is a project to bring the world together as one.
To become one means more than simply connecting continents
by tunnels and bridges. It refers to an equalization
of the world's standards of living.
When someone monopolizes a technology and keeps the profit
for himself, the balance of the world is upset.
The International Peace Highway will rearrange the current
inequality by creating access to existing natural
and human resources. This will bring about a leveling
of wealth. Leveling means that a little is taken off
places that are high and added to places that are low.
As a result, the two have the same height. This will
require sacrifice from those with greater material
possessions or knowledge. Building a world of peace
cannot be done with onetime charitable acts or donations.
Only sincere love and continuous sacrifice is capable
of creating a world of peace. We must be willing
to offer everything.
Building the International Peace Highway does more
than just provide the world with a physical means
of communication. Human beings are created so that
their mind and body become one. Something similar is true
for the world we live in. The world can be completely
unified only when there is both physical communication
and communication of heart.
For this reason, I have been working for the reform
and renewal of the United Nations for many years.
Of course, the United Nations has done much
for the world. All Koreans are grateful for its efforts
in preserving our freedom during the Korean War. However,
today, more than sixty years after its founding, it seems
to be losing sight of its original purpose
and is in danger of becoming an organization that
works for the interests of a few powerful countries.
In 2005, I founded the Universal Peace Federation
in New York and immediately afterwards embarked on
a world tour to a hundred cities to deliver
a peace message about a new future for the United Nations
and the world. The United Nations was created to solve
the conflicts that arise in the world, so it must
put the world's interests before the interests of
one side or the other. It only leads to further conflict
when a powerful country insists on its own way
and uses force to pursue it.
Unfortunately, the United Nations today is unable
to do much about such situations.
In this light, I have proposed a restructuring
of the United Nations as a bicameral institution.
In addition to the General Assembly there should be
a religious, or cultural, assembly or council.
This body would consist of respected spiritual leaders
in fields such as religion, culture and education.
The members of this interreligious assembly would need
to demonstrate an ability to transcend the limited
interests of particular religions and cultures and
to speak for the spiritual and moral purposes of all
humanity. I maintain that the two chambers,
working together in mutual respect and coooperation,
will be able to make great advances in ushering in
a world of peace.
Some may oppose this, saying, "Why should religious people
become involved in world affairs?" My answer is that
the world today is in a period when the participation
of religious people is crucial. Those who have achieved
deep self awareness through religious practice are needed
now more than ever.
It is only truly religious people who can stand up
to the righteousness and evil of the world
and practice true love. It is only when the knowledge
and experience of political leaders are combined with
the wisdom of interreligious leaders that the world
will be able to find the path to true peace.
Each day, I set out on my path with renewed determination
to achieve that goal. My prayer is that every person
on earth will be reborn as a peace-loving global citizen,
transcending barriers of religion, ideology and race.