Buddhism for me is like food I ate for ten years, for a long time as a monk, and the food you eat goes to your bones and stays there, so in that sense it’s inside me, it’s not that I wouldn’t be identified by Buddhism but it’s there, a part of me … Buddhism has this emptiness and in opposition to it the ‘is-ness’, but the zero concept – there’s nature, there’s the whole existence of the universe but that itself for me is a part of the zero.
The South Korean poet, who studied as a Buddhist monk for a decade before rejoining secular life, is considered a favorite for the Nobel Prize — with authors like beat icon Allen Ginsberg and Zen master Thich Nhat Hanh having written forewords to his books of poetry.
Photo of Ko Un by AFP/Getty Images
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