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John Kerry - Master of Shim Gum Do?
<img src="http://www.bullshido.com/images/news/shimgumdomaster.jpg" height=148 width=108 align=left> <b>Kerry: 'I'd Like to Visit Korea's Buddhist Holy Sites.' </b>
Possible Democratic Party Presidential Candidate John Kerry and the Korean Buddhist martial art of Shim Gum Do. Althought the two might not appear to go together, a certain karma has been developing between them for the last 10 years. Kerry is very close to Shim Gum Do's founder, Zen Master Kim Chang-sik, and has been a very strong supporter of Kim's activities in the United States. They exchange letters once a month to exchange views on Zen and spiritual discipline, and meet whenever the need arises.
Just to give you an example of how close the two are, when Kerry's father passed away in 2000, he secluded himself at home to console his grief-stricken mother. He met with no one. No one, that is, except Zen Master Kim, whom it's said he met even then. According to those associated with Shim Gum Do, Kerry is not a student of the practice, but is know to have much interest in Eastern Zen and other forms of spiritual training. Although he's never visited Korea, he is reported to have said he would like to visit Buddhist holy spots in this country.
Shim Gum Do espouses "Zen through the sword," and while it is still quite unknown in Korea, it has been spreading in the United States. This is because its founder, Zen Master Kim, went to the United States in 1974 and set up shop in a neighborhood of Boston. With its headquarters at Shimgwang-sa Temple in Boston, the World Shim Gum Do Association (www.shimgumdo.org) has 20 temples throughout the United States, including branches in Pennsylvania and Rhode Island. Mary J. Stackhouse, an American practitioner of the 12 (and highest) rank, has been entrusted as the abbot of Shimgwang-sa Temple.
There are about 20,000 Americans who have studied Shim Gum Do, with 9,500 of those attaining grades. Owing to the headquarter's location in Boston, known for its famous universities, the art counts among its disciples many professors, lawyers, and other notable individuals. Besides propagating Shim Gum Do, Kim also gives lessons on Zen meditation near Harvard University, MIT, and Boston College. Sen. Kerry's ties with Shim Gum Do have much to do with Boston being within Kerry's electoral district -- the state of Massachusetts.
The core of Kerry's ties with the Korean art goes back to his second marriage in 1995. Kerry married the widow of friend and fellow senator, John Heinz of Pennsylvania, who was killed in a plane accident in 1991. Through this marriage, he gained three stepchildren, the eldest of whom is one of the top leaders of Shim Gum Do. Because of this, Kerry's family has maintained a special relationship with the Korean martial art. Kerry gets along extremely well with his stepchildren, the youngest of whom is helping his father with his presidential campaign.
Heinz Empire Inheritor With the Shaved Head
John Heinz V, who will inherit the Heinz food and condiments empire, is head of the World Shim Gum Do Association's secretariat. He began practicing Shim Gum Do in his second year of university. "Shim Gum Do thinks of everything as the mind's sword, and is a martial art that wakes up the mind through act action. Through the mind's sword, pain and delusion disappear, and Shim Gum Do, which cultivates a pure mind, is Zen mediation that wakes one up through Active Zen, via the sword," said Heinz as to why he's devoted to the practice.
Shim Gum Do came to Zen Master Kim, who learned his Zen from Monk Sungsan of Hwagye-sa Temple, following a 100-day prayer session in 1965. Sungsan is quite famous for spreading Buddhism abroad, establishing nearly 150 temples worldwide. The art officially started with the formation of Korean Shim Gum Do in 1969, and in 1991 the World Shim Gum Do Association got underway. It now has branches in Japan, Italy, Poland, France, Norway, and other countries.
Shim Gum Do, considering its deep examination of the inner world, is along the same lines of Sonmudo, a Zen-based martial art well known within Korea. Said Kim Hyeong-ju, the head of Shim Gum Do within Korea, "With the mind's sword, I slash and slash all thoughts, and worldly thoughts disappear. I become immersed in a world of deep Zen."
(Kim Chang-ki, firstname.lastname@example.org )