Beginning, Middle & Zen
184 pages, 6.14 x 9.21, illustrated
Korean Buddhism, Korean-Canadian culture, Memoir
Beginning, Middle & Zen: Tales from Canada to Korea and Back Again
Glen Choi has a simple request for the universe – help him find his one true passion in life. He moves to the opposite end of the world, to his ethnic homeland of South Korea, to find it. There, his request soon turns into a quest: Choi navigates through several challenging, and sometimes divergent, career paths, from academia to the Buddhist monkhood to even traditional Korean opera. With hope fading and desperation mounting, his life experiences culminate in a Zen-inspired insight into “emptiness” and the discovery that what he was looking for was never that far away.
Along the way, Beginning, Middle & Zen weaves together stories that bring to light – and life – the cultural differences between East and West, namely Korean and Canadian culture. It is also a meditation on the duelling universal themes of utopia vs. reality, the individual vs. the collective, and the journey vs. the end result.
Glen Choi lives in Toronto, where he teaches social sciences as a college professor. A lifelong Buddhist, he received a Ph.D. in Religious Studies from the University of Ottawa and an M.A. in Seon (Zen) Studies at Dongguk University in Seoul. His writing has appeared in publications from South Korea to the United States and Canada. Glen also hosted a 12-part TV documentary series on Buddhism in Canada called Path to Enlightenment.