The museum is the former villa and estate of James Deering (1859–1925), a bachelor millionaire who made his fortune from his family’s agricultural machinery enterprise. When Deering died, he left the estate to his half-brother Charles, whose sons eventually inherited it. Because they couldn’t manage the estate well, Deering’s nephews sold it to the state of Florida, who turned the villa and its elaborate gardens into a museum for the public.
The villa is a grand piece of art with about 70 rooms. I noticed, however, that the master bedroom was not bigger or more spectacular than any other bedroom. When I saw John Deering’s picture in the house, I felt that he has the energy of earning money. When people visit this mansion, I think most would think about James Deering’s money—how rich he was, how they could also become rich, how he got to be rich, etc. But I wonder how many of the visitors think, “I will become rich like this guy in order to use the money to benefit the human race and spread the Hongik philosophy.”
More than how much money you have, what’s important is what you do with it. It’s the purpose of your life and how well you fulfill it that really matters.
When John Deering died, he left this beautiful estate and a company that made equipment that increased the productivity of farmers, and perhaps more. When your life comes to its inevitable end, what will you leave behind for humanity?
As I walked through the beautiful gardens, my thoughts turned to Mago, Mother Earth. Not many people know about Mago and the Earth creation story of Mago Castle that comes from the Korean Sundo tradition. At Mago Castle, all life lived in harmony and oneness with each other. There was a spiritual civilization that was quite different from the material civilization in which we are currently living.
I would like my legacy to be a change in human consciousness that rejuvenates the ideals of the spiritual civilization of Mago Castle.