Funded! This project was successfully funded on October 5, 2012.


Through the eyes of a Western pilgrim, this film explores Korea, its landscape and the ancient Buddhist lifestyle in the mountains.

*** UPDATE ***

Short Summary

This documentary explores the ancient Korean monastic way of life in the mountains through the eyes of a Western pilgrim travelling across South Korea. Besides introducing the audience to the beauty of Korean nature, and the wisdom and simplicity of Korean Zen Buddhism, the film will encourage the creation of an official Buddhist pilgrimage trail covering 500 km. When this documentary is made, and when the route is established in the future, it will help thousands to increase their wisdom and compassion, control their karma (habitual patterns) as well as provide economic growth to rural Korea along the path.

The narrator, a retired Canadian writer and Buddhist, follows in the footsteps of a beloved 7th Century Korean Buddhist saint Wonhyo who, according to popular tradition, found enlightenment in a cave near the western seaboard after walking across the Korean peninsula. The narrator discusses with meditation masters in the mountain monasteries Wonhyo’s teachings on oneness and reconciliation and asks questions such as: "How do you overcome suffering and achieve happiness?", "Can one attain enlightenment in the cities, or does one have to go to the mountains?" and "What spiritual advice would you give to people watching this documentary?".

Why It's Important

Korea, a divided land boiling with the conflict of an unresolved war, is an ideal place to explore the human heart – its search for peace and the demons that must be battled to achieve it. Those who are seeking peace in the mountain monasteries of Korea have some answers to man’s quest to overcome hatred and fear and to create a heart of loving kindness. The documentary will additionally support the creation of an official 500 km Buddhist pilgrimage route across South Korea.

What We Need

Our $1,000 goal is only part of the total budget and will be used to fund the production and all of the post production of the film, including the editing, sound design, translation and subtitles transfer to master, tape stock, etc... Original music from traditional Korean musicians will be used on the soundtrack. The end result will be a fully produced feature length documentary.

Other Ways You Can Help

In the Footsteps of Wonhyo needs all the support it can get! You can also help us out by sharing this page with everyone you know through social networks, tweeting, blogging, and e-mail.

Thank you!!


Wonhyo (617 – 686), one of Korea’s most beloved and unconventional monks, was a great scholar with more than 80 commentaries and essays to his credit. Born into a simple family in the Silla Kingdom, Wonhyo, a monk for many years, renounced the formal, elitist religious life to teach ordinary people. He was known to carry a gourd, dancing and singing around the country, encouraging people to chant and recite the Buddha’s name. He called himself “ooae-Gursah” (unhindered practitioner). For a short time he was married to a princess and had a son, who became a leading Confucian Scholar.

His philosophy centered on oneness or Ekayana, the interrelatedness of everything in the universe. Legend has it that this view arose from an event that took place while he was attempting to travel to China. That event is the focus of this documentary.

To reach China, Wonhyo journeyed with his friend Uisang to the port of Danjugye, a city no longer in existence near-present-day Incheon. Legend has it that on a dark night a storm drove Wonhyo and Uisang into a cave for shelter near Dangjugye. During the night Wonhyo was overcome with thirst and searched in the dark for something to drink. On the cave floor, he found what he thought to be a gourd filled with cool water and lifting it to his lips drank deeply from its refreshing contents. In the morning when he awoke, he looked for the vessel and was shocked.

The delicious, thirst-quenching water of the previous night was dirty rainwater swarming with maggots that had collected in a rotten skull-cap. He fell to his knees and vomited and experienced deep inner enlightenment. He realized that truth is created by the mind.

Wonhyo is reputed to have said, “The three worlds are only mind, and all phenomena arise from the mind, consciousness. If the truth is present in the mind, how could it be found outside of the mind!” Because of his experience and the realization of the importance of the inner journey, Wonhyo abandoned his trip to China and returned to Silla to study and teach.


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    Acknowledgement on our website and mention in the film credits. Starter Karma.

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    A temple postcard with a personalized Zen message posted from a remote Korean town. As well as mention in the film credits. Good Karma!

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    11 backers

    A beautiful Wonhyo inspired skull rosary. Hand-crafted from bone. As well as mention in the film credits. Great Karma! And a digital copy of the film upon completion.

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    An 8x10 photo of an ancient Korean temple, signed by a monk. As well as mention in the film credits. Excellent Karma!! And a digital copy of the film upon completion.

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    Your name and personalized message on a roof tile to be used in the construction or maintenance of a temple in rural Korea (photo included). Mention in the film credits. Fantastic Karma!! And a digital copy of the film upon completion.

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    10 backers

    A beautiful Korean calligraphy wall hanging limited edition of a Zen phrase. Beautiful bone Wonhyo skull rosary. Mention in the film credits. Infinite Karma!!! And a digital copy of the film upon completion.

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Funding period

- (30 days)