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​Faraway Travel

A man I met in Nairobi

Soyeon, Yoon

 We visited Nairobi, the capital city of Kenya in September, 1990. One day, I had an incomprehensible experience. Although Master couldn’t speak foreign languages, he made an appointment with a person at a huge mosque. We arrived at the mosque 15 minutes earlier. A muslim professor was delivering a lecture in a religious meeting of tens of muslims. When the meeting was over, the professor came up to us. About 20 muslims followed him. He asked Master.


 “What is your religion?”

 “I don’t have particular religion. I am a master who sees what exists in the world and teach it.”

 “And you?”

 He pointed at me. I said.

 “I am a Buddhist nun.”

 “I heard that you make wooden statues, bow them and donates money in front of it.”

 He said mockingly and muslims around us were giving sardonic smiles.

 “I don’t do such things and don’t tell people to do so, either.”

 At that time Master said to muslims.

 “I haven’t met those who try to bless their future yet since I came here. What are you doing for your future?”

 “I worship God and live in the belief in God. We follow the way prophesied.”

 “Israelites worshiped their God. However, they killed the righteous man and after all destroyed themselves. What is the difference between you and them?”

 Listening to what Master said, the muslims’ voice became louder because of anger.

 “You said that you can see what exists in the world. Then, how many rivers are there in the heaven?”

 “I don’t know even the number of rivers in my own country. How can I be aware of the number of rivers in the heaven?”

 “It is recorded in the Koran.”

 Master said pitifully.

 “Which do you believe in, what exists or what doesn’t exist? If there is the one who teaches the world among you, do you follow him and learn from him?”

 The professor cried out.

 “I live my life, following the Koran. It is the revelation from the heaven. If you have come from the heaven, what is the evidence? Present the evidence.”

 “The evidence lies in my body and mind and the wisdom which knows things of the world. I have the eyd of wisdom, my mind can win all the evils, and I can remove human sins.”

 They said, giggling.

 “We don’t even want that kinds of proofs and admit them, either. Die and resurrect yourself on the spot and we will believe in what you say.”

 They shouted at us to go back to Korea quickly. As they became tough, Master put his hands together, smiled at them, said ‘Thank you, thank you.’, leaving the mosque. On the way to the next destination, I asked Master a question because I couldn’t understand why he had done so at the last moment.

 “For what did you say ‘Thank you, thank you.’?”

 “Well, isn’t it thankful to tell us to leave without our doing something useless? I will never come back to Africa for myself. They have all the causes for unhappiness in themselves. The place where ignorance coexists with vice is really a dreadful place.”

 Master felt sorry to see their stupidity.

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