PureInsight | September 13, 2007
article discusses the bright and virtuous protagonist in a long-running
South Korean television series who overcomes numerous difficult
obstacles to become, first, a high ranking member of the king's kitchen
staff and, later, a physician who helped many people and even was
appointed as the king's physician in a time when there was no precedent
for such a responsible position for women. The series is available on
DVD's in Korean with English subtitles under the title "Dae Jang Geum"
(Great Jang Geum). The Chinese name of the character, used by the
author of this article, is Da Chang Jin. - Editors] After I
watched "Da Chang Jin," I was deeply moved. Chang Jin, the protagonist,
had a unique quality of calmness. She was always very calm. No matter
how much suffering, how much glory, she appeared to be calm. This is
very hard for an ordinary person to do and it is also her most charming
quality. In order to reflect the calmness, the qualities in the film,
positive and negative as well as good and bad, were all stretched to
the maximum in a very gentle manner. Therefore, one is very comfortable
in accepting it. Perhaps, one can say this is the highest spiritual
realm. Whether we are dealing with matters or people, we should be
calm. When you are agitated, you are irrational. This peaceful
state is, indeed, the outstanding quality of this film.
There are two other important cultural references in this film. One is
the Korean cuisine in the royal palace, the other is traditional
Chinese medicine. Both of them left me with a profound impression. In
the beginning when Chang Jin was a palace maiden, she tried to prepare
the best food, she had no other complicated notions but only how to
prepare food that was good for human beings. Often she pondered and
experimented with ingredients to prepare food that was both tasty and
beneficial to the body. While she was learning the Chinese
medicine, she also encountered trials and tribulations. In traditional
Chinese medicine, one makes diagnoses by observation, taking the pulse,
and so on in accordance with the theories behind Chinese medicine.
Chinese medicine is very profound. When you have time to think about
it, you will find that the Western medicine can never measure up.
Finally, Chang Jin's life was mentioned and I think that it was very
successful. In the film, fate was playing tricks on her. Of course that
has a lot to do with the power struggle within the palace. And
Chang Jin's life was constantly becoming the center of that power
struggle. A small character took center stage. Why is that so? Because
of Chang Jin's firm belief in justice. When she was a palace
maiden, she believed in working for the good of others' health. When
she was a physician, she firmly believed in saving lives. Why did
Chang Jin have so many tribulations? Only because she was righteous, so
the evil would expose itself. What the evil fears most is righteousness
and therefore it would do everything to harm her. That is the most
basic manifestation and most obvious opposing element. In reality, it
is the same way in our society. There is good and bad, just and
evil, right and wrong. Einstein and his theory of relativity,
Socrates and his dialectics, or Hegel and his contradiction all point
to the same thing. Of course, these are the philosophies of life.
Detail-oriented people will discover that the similarities among
these matters. Looking further, mutual generation and mutual inhibition
is the basic principle in this universe and the reflection of it is
Human nature consists of Buddha nature and demon nature. Only the
manifestation of the Buddha nature is the reflection of the true self.
Why are so many people in agreement with Chang Jin and are deeply moved
No matter which angle you choose to look at it or understand it, the
most basic observation is that her goodness touched everyone's heart.
If people choose evil, the side that chooses evil is pitiful. However,
nowadays, many people do not believe that good deeds will be rewarded
and bad deeds will meet with retribution, due to the impact of atheism.
There is a saying that human beings are elevating higher.
Unfortunately, people think it means that they should try to live on a
higher level of material life, obtain more power, and pursue more
desires. Actually, that is going backwards and it brings the moral
standard down. If human beings pursue these things, they stop at
nothing to get what they want. Therefore, the society becomes
really corrupt and so do human beings. At the present, there are all
kinds of ugly scenarios in society. In the ancient times, the saying
that human beings are elevating higher means a higher spiritual realm,
improved cultivation level, and nobler character. How many people of
today can understand that? Confucianism, Taoism, and Buddhism all teach
people to be a good person, return to their true self, and be a
gentleman. Aren't these the principles that human beings should
observe? It is a shame that people of today give all of them up. It is
due to the decadence of our culture, namely the destruction of the
traditional Chinese culture. The destruction of our traditional
culture is indeed the saddest and most regrettable.
What can Chang Jin's inspiration bring us Chinese people? We really should take some time to seriously think about this.