Direct audiobook sales (Woohoo!)

Well, okay, direct-ish audiobook sales! We’ve loaded the files to the sales website, Gumroad, and they’ll take care of processing payments and file downloads. I’m excited because now we have a way to get this to people who don’t have an account at or iTunes. Gumroad also takes Paypal, as well as credit cards.


My Heart is a Golden Buddha – Audiobook edition
by Daehaeng Kun Sunim
narrated by Garan Fitzgerald

A collection of inspiration and wisdom, seen through the tales of housewives and kings, monks and bandits, and the deep mountains of Korea.

In this collection of thirty-three stories, one of Korea’s foremost Seon(Zen) masters introduces the richness and depth of Korea’s Buddhist tradition. With humor and insight, Seon Master Daehaeng shows us our inherent potential and demonstrates how we can face the challenges of life with wisdom and vigor.

(Give it a try! It’s pretty good!)

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(buy direct from us, via Gumroad, and it’s only $7.99!)

 also available at and iTunes

In memoriam – Park Jae Won

박고모님  Today was the 49th day ceremony for Park Jae Won, who passed away in January. It’s hard to describe how warm and impressive he was. I’m a bit disappointed that this mediocre photo is the best I could find, but perhaps that’s impermanence telling me not to cling to any particular shape of him!

This is an interview with him from 2006, and touches on modern Korean Buddhist history, as well as his experiences with different Buddhist teachers in Korea.

Sadly, his wife also passed away a few weeks afterwards. Sigh. He leaves behind his daughter and her family.


Senior Advisor Mr. Park, and the Early History of Hanmaum Seon Center

This  interview appeared in the May/June 2006 issue (#27) of Hanmaum Journal.

If you visit the Anyang Hanmaum Seon Center, there is a chance you’ll see Mr. Jae Won Park(박재원). He has known Kun Sunim for many decades, and been a member of the Seon Center from it’s early years. In addition to taking care of all kinds of large and small jobs for the Seon Center, he also used to have many important roles in the Buddhist community and larger society of Korea. Here is his story.

How did you come to meet Daehaeng Kun Sunim?

I first met her through my association with Tanho Sunim [Tanho Sunim was also a disciple of Hanam Sunim, and was considered one of the foremost scholars of modern Korea -translator]. I’d met Tanho Sunim in the mid-1960’s and later had formed a group to help support his teaching and vision. He and Kun Sunim were very good friends, so on one of his visits, I went along and met Kun Sunim. That’s how I first met her, and eventually, in April of 1976, I had been appointed as senior adviser to Hanmaum Seon Center.

Tanho Sunim

For many years I’ve wondered about that karmic affinity that led me to meet Daehaeng Kun Sunim. Her path has been so different from that of a worldly person like me. In my heart she’s closer to me than my own parents were; what kind of connection must there be to cause this? How much strength and hope must I have gotten from her in my past lives that I would neglect everything else to help take care of the Seon Center? I’ve thought often about how meeting her gave me such strength and why it was such a turning point in my life. Continue reading “In memoriam – Park Jae Won”

No Matter What Your Need Is – Daehaeng Sunim’s Dharma talk


Here’s a nice, short Dharma talk about our connection with all things, and some of the implications. 

No Matter What Your Need Is

Your Juingong is one with everything.
Through it, you are connected to your ancestors,
the Buddhas, and unenlightened beings.
It connects you to the spirit of trees, and the spirits of the earth,
it connects you to dragon spirits
as well as everything else,
so whatever help you need,
whatever circumstances you find yourself in,
completely entrust the whole thing to your foundation,
with a quiet “thank you.”
Do it like this,
for a single thought handled unwisely
can multiply into a thousand evil seeds,
and plunge your family into chaos.
Yet the same thought, returned to this inherent foundation,
can become a thousand good seeds,
and create a comfortable, pleasant life.

— Daehaeng Kun Sunim

This connection doesn’t flow just in one direction. Physicists tell us that matter and energy are constantly switching places, and just like this, the energy of our intentions, when deeply input, becomes the matter of the world around us. Born as human beings, we now have the ability to affect the world around us through this connection and the intentions we input. This is a huge step up from being forced to either passively accept our conditions, hoping something else changes them, or else running away, trying to find a better place. Now we have the ability to change where we are, right now. Let’s all draw a better future, one where people live together wisely and harmoniously. 

Blog changes

금황 눈I hope the new year has been finding everyone well! Things here are proceeding along; we’re still working on translating Daehaeng Kun Sunim’s edition of the Diamond Sutra, as well as a couple of great talks about health and healing. Kind of looking forward to seeing those in print!

I realized that I haven’t done anything with the blog for quite a while, so I’m changing the theme, as well as reposting some excellent posts from long ago. Please bear with me! There may be few hiccups as I get this sorted out. As we approach the lunar new year, may your families all be healthy and happy, and may all your worries about health and finances soften and turn out well!

with palms together,
Chong Go

Our Mind and Evolution

In his post a while back, Joseph relayed the story of a monk who died in the Jiri Mountains (A glimpse). It highlighted two critical truths, namely, that we are not our bodies, and the importance of how we use our minds.

In Chapter 2 of No River to Cross, Daehaeng Kun Sunim also covers these points:

Even after your body falls away, your consciousness remains. It often happens

…running from the things that scare us, chasing after desires, where will we end up?

that people do not understand that their body does not exist anymore, and they do not realize that living people cannot see or hear them. So, sometimes, in their confusion and desire, they cause other people to suffer. If you sincerely cultivate mind while you have a body, then you can leave without having any attachments. However, if you don’t practice, then even though you’re dead, you’ll be caught up in all of your old relationships, and won’t be able to freely leave. Instead, you may just wander around, stuck in that state for a very long time. When people die, if they have never practiced spiritual cultivation, their consciousness cannot see and cannot hear. In the middle of the darkness, their consciousness cannot correctly perceive things, so those people may (accidently) enter the womb of a pig or a magpie. However, people who have cultivated mind give off a great light and thoroughly illuminate their surroundings. Even their families tend to live brightly, although individually they may not know anything about spiritual practice. (p 20-21)

If we just wander around in the fog…

Have you ever gotten caught up in a dream about walking through a building that no longer exists? Those steps you were walking up are now only empty sky a hundred feet off the ground. After we die, we no longer have physical senses, so with what are we seeing and hearing? If we haven’t practiced while alive, then we’re only experiencing the arising of karmic states of consciousness. However, we think those things are really happening, and so chase or flee them. In essence, we’re running outdoors at full speed, while blindfolded.


Thus, how we use our minds while alive is critically important to us.

In order to be born as a human being, it may have taken a thousand years of accumulated virtue and merit. It’s so hard to become a human being. Nevertheless, if you don’t let go of the habits you developed prior to becoming a human being, and if you think of only yourself, your suffering will be endless. If you live this way, you may live like this for many, many lives, stuck like a hamster on a wheel, unable to evolve. Or you may devolve and be reborn as an animal. Once you are reborn as an animal, you will suffer a lot, having to eat others or be eaten. There will be very little opportunity to reflect upon your state, and if you develop the habits of an animal, it will be even more difficult to free yourself from that state, even over billions of eons.(p 19)

We go where we look. Or in this case, where we think.

From the perspective of evolution, lives are affected by circumstances and the 

environment, and can adapt themselves to a certain degree. However, the more fundamental things all depend upon consciousness. (p 21)

Once the level of mind changes, the body also changes accordingly. Evolution is the process of the mind becoming brighter, while creation is the outward manifestation of the minds design. Thus, while this process is evolution, it is also creation.

Mind is the basis of both evolution and devolution; they aren’t separate forces. Devolution is also done by mind. All of this is the manifestation of our fundamental mind (and how we use it.) (p 22)

Alive or dead, awake or asleep, if we always rely upon our inherent Buddha-essence, what could we have to fear?

Our True Flavor


We’re working on translating Daehaeng Kun Sunim’s Korean version of the Diamond Sutra into English. This is from the last chapter.  There is still some work and review to go, but even so, this seemed like a nice way to start the new year!

Everything is arising and responding
in accord with you yourself.
Because you are here, it is here.
So in whatever situation you find yourself,
with whatever confronts you,
entrust all of this inwardly,
entrust everything you need inwardly,
and observe.

All sorts of flowers,
every kind of flower
blooms and fades,
blooms and fades,
blooms and fades,
fades and blooms,
bearing fruit.
You have to bring to ripeness
the fruit on your own tree,
without being too narrow
or too diffuse.

As fruit of your tree ripens
and becomes able to respond and manifest
to whatever arises,
it will feed every kind of unenlightened being,
feeding, giving, feeding.
When they too can go forward with wisdom,
with future enlightenment assured,
with the future ability to manifest
according to any need encountered,
then this world will become at peace,
the universe will become at peace,
everything will become at peace.

As every color of flower
blooms and fades,
fades and bears fruit,
that fruit has to ripen
on its own tree
for its true flavor to appear.

— Daehaeng Kun Sunim