AUTUMN COLORS IN KOREA

For those who love nature and beautiful landscapes, autumn is the best season to visit Korea.

What I enjoy most is climbing Palgong Mountain up to Gatbawi Buddha. On the peak, a Buddha statue stands peacefully. This Buddha wears a traditional Korean hat called ‘Gat’ in Korean, and is well-known for answering believers’ prayers. It is said that a monk made the statue to appease his mother’s soul.

Another place I usually visit in autumn is Haeinsa. There is a seven kilometers trail leading to the temple from the bus stop. In some stretches, the path runs along a stream. As we were walking along it, I took some pictures. However, the photos can not fully describe the romantic atmosphere of the place, the vivid multicolored falling leaves, and the murmur of the water that flows from the mountain and forms little ponds here and there.

Finally, we arrived at Haeinsa after walking for three hours. This temple is a World Heritage Site, for it keeps Printing Woodblocks of the Tripitaka Koreana. Buddha’s sutras were engraved on wood blocks to protect the country from the invasion of Mongolia. And then, they were printed and spread.

While walking to the temple, we enjoyed the beautiful autumn landscape, especially the autumn yellow and red leaves in the trees. There were a lot of fallen leaves on the ground. They are metaphor for human life. Leaves sprout, become green, then they change color, wither, and fall off the branches. Human life is like that. The cycle of life!

Ettore Grillo, author of these books:

November 2: The Day of the Dead in Sicily (English version)

A Hidden Sicilian History (English version)

The Vibrations of Words (English version)

Travels of the Mind (English version)

– Una Storia Siciliana Nascosta (versione in lingua italiana)

– Viaggi della Mente (versione in lingua italiana)

http://www.amazon.com/author/ettoregrillo

WALKING ON RED CLAY IS GOOD FOR BODY AND MIND

It is well-known that long walking is useful for keeping body and mind healthy. In particular, it soothes anxiety. If you walk barefoot on the earth, the beneficial effect is enhanced.

A few days ago, I saw people walking barefoot on a red clay path in Duryu Park, in Daegu, Korea. I decided to do the same. I took off the socks and shoes, rolled up the blue-jeans, and walked that path for about three hundred meters. I felt the energy of Earth under my feet. It was like when you are hugging a tree in the forest. Both the earth and the tree transmit healing energy to you.

At the end of the path, there was a place where the red clay was muddy. People enjoyed soaking their feet in the mud. They also walked on it. Someone stamped their feet on the mud. I did the same and had a feeling of peacefulness, and above all I enjoyed myself innocently like a child. Walking on red clay and mud is really beneficial. Try it to believe!

Ettore Grillo, author of these books:

November 2: The Day of the Dead in Sicily (English version)

A Hidden Sicilian History (English version)

The Vibrations of Words (English version)

Travels of the Mind (English version)

– Una Storia Siciliana Nascosta (versione in lingua italiana)

– Viaggi della Mente (versione in lingua italiana)

http://www.amazon.com/author/ettoregrillo

THE WALLS SURROUNDING OUR HEARTS

A few days ago, we visited Suwon Hwaseong Fortress, Korea. Its walls are almost six kilometers long. They are interspersed with towers and various wooden structures. Suwon Hwaseong Fortress is a World Heritage Site. It looks like a miniature Wall of China.

Walking on Hwaseong Fortress, I recalled a few walls that man has been building over time: the mighty walls of Troy, the walls of Rome erected by Emperor Aurelian to protect the city from barbarian invasions, the Hadrian’s Wall that marked the boundary between the Roman Province of Britannia and Caledonia, and many other walls.

Besides the walls made of bricks, man has been building immaterial walls. The most notorious is the Iron Curtain, an invisible wall that divided the world into two parts, during the Cold War. Even the borders between nations are invisible walls.

Will man be able to demolish these walls someday? The most difficult walls to eliminate are those that surround our hearts. Even unknowingly, every day we build walls around our hearts to protect ourselves from others. If we are able to remove the walls in our hearts, those between nations will also collapse someday!

Ettore Grillo author of these books:

November 2: The Day of the Dead in Sicily (English version)

A Hidden Sicilian History (English version)

The Vibrations of Words (English version)

Travels of the Mind (English version)

– Una Storia Siciliana Nascosta (versione in lingua italiana)

– Viaggi della Mente (versione in lingua italiana)

http://www.amazon.com/author/ettoregrillo

CHANGDEOKGUNG PALACE IN SEOUL, KOREA

Unlike the royal palaces I have visited in Europe, Changdeokgung Palace, the royal palace in Seoul, is not a single building; it consists of many wooden structures scattered in a large area. There are Throne Hall, King’s Council Hall, King’s Residence, Queen’s Residence, etc. The Royal Secret Garden takes up almost 60% of Changdeokgung Palace. There are several small pavilions on the banks of the ponds, and a library. The kings were taught and studied there. Maybe many of them were very learned.

In Changdeokgung Palace, there is even Nakseonjae Hall, the place that King Heonjong, 24th king of Joseon, built for the concubine he really loved. It is said that the concubines vied with each other to win the king’s favors and reach high rank position.

While I was visiting the place, I recalled a friend of mine who was a teacher of Italian literature. At the time, he said to me,

“Remember this! Neither monarchy (one-man rule) nor democracy (people’s rule) has ever existed. What has always existed and still exists is just oligarchy (rule in the hands of a few men).”

Was it right? I think so.

Ettore Grillo author of these books:

November 2: The Day of the Dead in Sicily (English version)

A Hidden Sicilian History (English version)

The Vibrations of Words (English version)

Travels of the Mind (English version)

– Una Storia Siciliana Nascosta (versione in lingua italiana)

– Viaggi della Mente (versione in lingua italiana)

http://www.amazon.com/author/ettoregrillo

A SPECIAL STATUE OF MARY HOLDING THE CHILD JESUS

Is it man who creates God in his image and likeness?

In the entrance courtyard of the oldest Catholic church in Korea, a particular statue of the Madonna and Child Jesus stands out. Both the Virgin Mary and Baby Jesus have almond-shaped eyes and oriental features.

The depiction of the Madonna with features typical of the local population also occurred in other parts of the world: In the sanctuary of Our Lady of Guadalupe, in Mexico, the Madonna appears as a mixed race young woman; in the sanctuary of Kibeho, in Rwanda, the Virgin Mary has a dark complexion.

Not only the somatic features change, but also Mary’s language is expressed in different ways: In Lourdes and La Salette, Mary speaks in the local dialect!

What is the bottom line? Mary and Jesus are beyond time and space. They even existed in the pagan era, although they took different forms.

Ettore Grillo author of these books:

November 2: The Day of the Dead in Sicily (English version)

A Hidden Sicilian History (English version)

The Vibrations of Words (English version)

Travels of the Mind (English version)

– Una Storia Siciliana Nascosta (versione in lingua italiana)

– Viaggi della Mente (versione in lingua italiana)

http://www.amazon.com/author/ettoregrillo

ROBOTS ARE HERE TO STAY

Yesterday, I was sitting in the living room of my sister-in-law’s house in Suwon, Korea, when a small robot passed by. It was a cleaner. For me, a man who still cleans his house with a broom and a mop, that little device was something new. So I asked her,

“What is this?”

“It is a cleaner robot. It keeps the map of the house in its memory. When I need, I just touch a button on my smartphone and ask it to vacuum the floor. It does the job flawlessly!”

Undoubtedly, computers and robot are wonderful devices. Their brain is similar to humans’. They can do the same job as men and even better, but without a person that turns them on, they are just useless pieces of metal.

Who turned human beings on? Did they give themselves life or was it God who gave them a soul?

Ettore Grillo author of these books:

November 2: The Day of the Dead in Sicily (English version)

A Hidden Sicilian History (English version)

The Vibrations of Words (English version)

Travels of the Mind (English version)

– Una Storia Siciliana Nascosta (versione in lingua italiana)

– Viaggi della Mente (versione in lingua italiana)

http://www.amazon.com/author/ettoregrillo

SOME DIFFERENCES BETWEEN ITALIAN AND KOREAN RESTAURANTS

When you enter an Italian restaurant, you see tables set with tablecloths, napkins, and cutlery.

In some Korean restaurants, there are no tablecloths, napkins, or cutlery. This is because customers boil or grill the food by themselves on the stoves set in the tables. The restaurant serves a lot of side dishes. If you want to wipe your mouth you can take a paper tissue on the end of the table. On the other hand, you don’t need cutlery, because the food has already been chopped into small pieces and you can eat it with spoons and chopsticks.

We boiled a big saucepan full of various kinds of mushrooms, meat, and vegetables, and when the food was well-done, we ate it in our dishes. It was hot and delicious. After that, we moved to a cafeteria to eat Korean Patbingsu, similar to Sicilian granita, but with red-beans (the Korean name is Pat) on the top. It was very delicious.

The ways of cooking in Italy and Korea are different. But to cook well, whatever country you belong to, you just need three things: good ingredients, love for cooking, and love for those you are cooking for. Love is the basis of everything. It is the main ingredient!

Ettore Grillo author of these books:

November 2: The Day of the Dead in Sicily (English version)

A Hidden Sicilian History (English version)

The Vibrations of Words (English version)

Travels of the Mind (English version)

– Una Storia Siciliana Nascosta (versione in lingua italiana)

– Viaggi della Mente (versione in lingua italiana)

http://www.amazon.com/author/ettoregrillo