A 1991 bestseller in South Korea, where it was serialized in that country’s largest newspaper, Little Pilgrim is a tale of adventure and self-discovery in the tradition of Hermann Hesse’s Siddhartha. Based on the Gandavyuha, one of Buddhism’s deepest and most challenging scriptures, Ko Un’s Little Pilgrim relates the heroic journey of Sudhana, who sets out to discover what is truth. Throughout 20 years of fantastic travels, Sudhana encounters teachers that are human, animal, and spirit as he navigates mountain vistas, lush valleys, and remote villages.
Drawing from his own 20-year journey, as well as first-hand experiences with war and monastic life, Ko Un infuses his book with reflections and memories, creating fascinating characters and a vibrant story. The pinnacle of Ko Un’s career as a writer and as a man in search of truth, as well as the first of Ko Un’s works of fiction to be translated into English, Little Pilgrim is a poignant voyage that resonates on many levels.
A man of great insight. —Thich Nhat Hanh
Ko Un's work is known across the world, with many translations being published in every major language. He himself has made countless journeys, visiting every continent and reading to large audiences with many of the most significant poets of today's world. He has published many volumes of poetry and has been nominated for the Nobel Literature Prize three times, most recently in 2005. Ko Un lives in Ansong, South Korea.