Bamboo Salt of Chaotic Age
|How can I express everything about bamboo salt with just words? It is a long period.|
From the time when nobody knew what bamboo salt was to today, when bamboo salt is widely known in the world, I have known it better than anyone. In some ways, that is why I don't want to talk about it and will just turn away from it when people hassle me about bamboo salt.
It is because people use bamboo salt and deliver it to other people as much as they know. So, exactly to say, I don't want to have an argument about that. But, still, I have a story I want to share with people. The story will also be accepted differently by individuals. That is why I will say just what I saw and heard. Although this could just be a forlorn attempt… Anyway, judgment is in your hands.
Let me get to the point. It was about 28 years ago when I first saw bamboo salt roasted in a drum can. My family came down from Seoul and lived in a rented house in the middle area of the road from the current Hamyang Intercity Bus Terminal toward Namwon. There were all rice paddies in front of the road. One day my father told me to go out and see bamboo salt being roasted. Since it was cold, as the place is an empty plain in winter, I was bothered. But my father insisted and I went out. One drum can was heated. It burned furiously, but soon the contents melted and red-hot fire water poured out in a split second. Looking closely at it after it cooled down, I saw a stone mountain. The bamboo salt was roasted like that. However, my father gave it to somebody who said he would send money once he went to America. The person even owed my father his life.
Actually, my father already knew that the person would not send the payment for bamboo salt. As I asked my father why he gave it to him, and he said it is OK that he was not paid because the person would not throw out but provide it to sick people. I could not understand what he meant at the time, but now I clearly see its deep meaning.
People nowadays make a big fuss about technologies of bamboo salt. They make another fuss about the colors of bamboo salt. I do not want to talk about technologies and colors either. I do not want to look knowledgeable about technologies and play with colors either. I actually asked my father what a good bamboo salt color was. My father said it should be hard like stone and its cross sections should glitter dazzlingly.
I have ground it in an iron mortar. But the mortar was broken. Since then, I have rolled it up with cloth, put it on a big stone, and hit it with a big hammer.
One day, when I was living in Daejeon 20 years ago, my father called me. He told me to come and get bamboo salt. When I visited, he gave me two sacks of bamboo salt, 80kg each, and also two red clay lids for bamboo salt, saying that they would be very handy. However, I am not a person who keeps good things in my hands.
Since I said I had roasted the bamboo salt that my father gave me, everyone wanted to have it. So, I distributed that entire amount of bamboo salt. If I had that bamboo salt now and distributed it to people nowadays who make fuss about it, it might be helpful. Now I think I must be stupid. But I'm always like that.
As my father became renowned in the world, people visited my father to get prescriptions. He used to write the name of the person who visited on the day or his/her family member's name on the first page of his book, Shinyak (The God's Medicine) and give it to them. He did it in most cases. He then threw them a large lump of bamboo salt (600g) and told them to take it and diligently melt it in their mouth to eat it. Most of them were surprised because the one thrown to them was too hard, like a stone. What stone? For those who didn't know about bamboo salt, it was difficult to understand. So they grabbed almost anybody and asked what it was because it was hard for them to ask my father. They really might have wanted to ask in detail. Meanwhile, I asked my father and learned about it in detail, so I could convey it to people.
Break off as much as you need from the lump, melt it in your mouth and eat it. The molten bamboo salt enters your body and will kill germs in the body. Bamboo salt should never be eaten in water. It can be poisonous. But, if you cannot eat it that way, boil some ginger tea and mix one teaspoon of bamboo salt powder in it. If you still dislike it, then eat it with hwalmyeongsu (upset stomach reliever). You have to grind the lump of bamboo salt whenever you eat it. Purchase a mortar and pestle used for compounding medicine from a drugstore and use this when you grind bamboo salt.
If the bamboo salt exists as a lump, the medicinal particles are not destroyed. But when it is ground into a powder, the medicinal effect gets weaker. That is what my father said.
My father was against a family member establishing a bamboo salt company at first, but he finally allowed it after the person repeatedly asked for permission. The reason why he objected is this. If someone makes bamboo salt for his or her family, he or she will make a passable good one because everyone does something with love and heart when they do it for their family. But if they do it for other people, the love and heart will be reduced. The heart is the first element for good bamboo salt. In addition, manufacturing bamboo salt properly is really hard work. But if someone does it for his or her family, he or she does it while enduring everything without greed. And my father said that making bamboo salt should be done two times a year, in fall and winter.
As I make bamboo salt myself, I sometimes want to buy it unless it is made to feed my children. It is that hard. I put salt in one joint of bamboo and place it on pine stuff, like a chair. Then, I batter it, holding the upper part. At first it sounds dull but later it sounds like a wooden gong. If I batter it more like that, the crushed salt becomes hard like stone. It takes about 20 minutes to crush salt in one joint of bamboo
I make it repeatedly that way for several months. I am careful about how I act and what I eat. I make my best efforts to have a clear mind before making bamboo salt.
Nowadays, many people raise their voice about things like the technology of roasting bamboo salt, the can in which bamboo salt is roasted, and the temperature with which bamboo salt is roasted and shout that they are the best. I have always ignored this. I just use the love and heart with which I do something to feed my children. I am that sort of person.
I think the temperature of bamboo salt is directly connected with merciful love. My father, who had a great merciful heart, showed me bamboo salt that melted in the twinkle of an eye,
I thought the answer was there.