South Korea: Sect of Eternal Life Nov 7, 2016 20:44:48 GMT
Post by Admin on Nov 7, 2016 20:44:48 GMT
Both Parks were mentored by the late cult leader Choi Tae Min, a Buddhist monk turned Roman Catholic who around 1970 started his own religion called Yongsaenggyo, which means Sect of Eternal Life. It includes various elements of Buddhism, Christianity and a Korean religious movement called Cheondoism, which combines Confucianism and Korean shamanism.
In an advertisement for Yongsaenggyo, Choi described himself as the royal messenger of the spiritual world. He also claimed to be a modern-day Buddha and pastor, preaching that everyone was God in the beginning and should lead a life of salvation so as to become God again and live eternally.
He was also a powerful shaman, according to a 1998 book on him written by Korean cult expert Tahk Myeong Hwan. In 1974, after Mr Park's wife died taking a bullet meant for him, Choi reportedly approached the family claiming that the dead woman had appeared in his dreams and that he could communicate with her.
He then became a spiritual guide for both Parks and was often compared to Russian cult figure Grigori Rasputin. However, investigations at the time by the country's intelligence agency revealed that Choi was actually using his connection to the Parks to get bribes.
In 1979, Mr Park was assassinated by his spy chief, who said part of the reason that he killed Mr Park was that the President failed to prevent Choi's corrupt activities and keep him away from his daughter.
But Choi continued to be Ms Park's mentor until his death in 1994. A leaked 2007 report by the United States Embassy in South Korea said: "Rumours are rife that the late pastor had complete control over Park's body and soul during her formative years and that his children accumulated enormous wealth as a result."