Wonhyo is probably Korea’s best loved Buddhist saint, and someone who earned that title by the depth of his insight, and the compassionate way he returned to teach after attaining Enlightenment.
In the 13th century, together with another monk, Wonhyo set out on a journey, or a pilgrimage, that would take him from one coast to the other in the Silla kingdom of Korea. When he arrived at his destination he lived in a cave, and it was there that he had his breakthrough.
One night he found himself thirsty and picking up what he thought was a bowl, he scooped up some water and drank it. It was so sweet and refreshing. In the morning though, he found he had drunk muddy water from a human skull and was repulsed. Understanding that all things originate with mind he awakened.
A Canadian journalist, Tony MacGregor, who had been living in Korea for some time, came across Wonhyo’s story and decided to retrace his steps, in an attempt to understand what Wonhyo had understood. This film follows his journey as he explores Korean Buddhism and its meanings.
This is the first in a series of films from Korea with Buddhist themes, although the ones that follow are movies rather than documentaries, and explore their motifs with Korean Buddhism as the backdrop.
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