About

We’re a group of friends  interested in spiritual practice, and especially Seon Master Daehaeng’s teachings about one mind, non-duality, and relying upon one’s inherent Buddha-nature.  We met in Korea in 2007, although we’re now spread around the world.

The Gugeong Pagoda on Buddha’s Birthday (at Hanmaum Seon Center)

Chong Go Sunim: I’ve been a Buddhist monk in Korea for the last 17 years. I actually came to Korea to ordain because I’d met Daehaeng Kun Sunim in the US. I’d been practicing on my own and at other centers for many years, but didn’t seem to be making much progress. It was as if I’d been looking at a dirty painting, with only a small clean spot in the middle. When I began listening to Daehaeng Kun Sunim, it was as if the clean spot had suddenly became much larger and I could see what had been hidden. What she showed me seemed exactly what should be there, but had been unable to see for myself.

Joe: Buddhism began intellectually as part of my undergrad major. The real thing came about in 2000, when I actually began sitting at the San Diego Zen Center. I’ve cycled through the various traditions, finding the most resonance with the Theravada school, albeit influenced by Zen. I took the five precepts under Daehaeng Sunim in 2008, and since that time have failed daily to put them into practice. Once an ardent nondualist, I now find comfort, utility, and truth in dualism and free-will.

Joseph: I came to Korea with a fascination in shamanism but soon got over taken by the stark truth of the Dharma. While I was in India, Joe told me of a really great Zen book he’d found, back in Korea, by a nun who he thought must be enlightened. My first Saturday back in Korea, I followed Joe to Seoul, where we met Marcus for lunch, then made our way to the library where Chong Go Sunim was facilitating the group discussions of No River to Cross. Like many of the great teachings I’ve come across, Daehaeng Kun Sunim’s message is so simple you don’t realize how profound it is until you start practicing it!

Marcus: Difficult to sum up in just a few words,  you could say I enjoy a mixed bag of practices. I have a devotion to the Bodhisattva of Compassion, but also call the name of Amida Buddha. I’m a huge fan of Thich Nhat Hanh,  but also draw from the Anglican and Quaker Christianity of my background. Given this, what Seon Master Daehaeng Sunim does is cut through all the names to show the real essence of spiritual practice: believe in your fundamental nature of wisdom and compassion, entrust everything to it, and observe. This blog explores that wonderful teaching.

Carl: I met Chong Go Sunim in 2007 and liked what he’d said about just about everything we spoke of. I never met Dae Heng Kun Sunim, but I read her books and saw her, and bowed to her in respect, several times. As with anything, I don’t accept all aspects of this form of Zen, which in Korea is called “Seon”, but Han Maum, or One Mind Zen has at its center of understanding a beautiful way of looking at reality, namely saying that our inherent nature is interconnected with all things and that if we let go our worries, concerns, and desires to this foundation, they will find themselves through our conscious effort of letting go of them, solved, in the interconnectedness of all things, working together. This is called Juingong. What I love about it is, it doesn’t conflict with science, or any faiths, if you truly understand it. In a funny way, it’s like The Force, in Star Wars. All life is bound and penetrated with this oneness, and its energy emanates from all things as well. To me, Zen meditation can be utilized by anyone at any time, regardless of his or her religious practice. It is a tool for peace, harmony, and relieving oneself of useless worry, greed, and harmful states of mind that give rise to our misfortunes. It brings enlightenment. The main practice in any form of Buddhism, or Zen, is to meditate; to live mindfully. I think Christians and Muslims should do it. But people sometimes ask me why I cannot just follow God, and they say, ‘if you did that’, you wouldn’t’ need meditation’. I love people for caring about me this much, but these people who say things like this are betraying a fear of other solutions that can be added to our spiritual kit-bag, and they are basically saying something tantamount to, ‘hey, I got God; who needs penicillin, or stretching before running, or hammers?’

My practice has been “intuitive” in that I’ve let myself be guided along a path to self-discovery, trusting my connection to Higher Wisdom.  Reading Daehaeng Kun Sunim’s book, No River to Cross, was like coming home. She beautifully articulates the simplicity of (Buddhist) practice, stripped of what can at times seem like cumbersome dogma and ritualism. Spiritual practice should be simple and accessible, because in essence all we’re doing is “letting go”. 

25 thoughts on “About”

  1. Hi, Marcus,

    I am glad to see and grateful for your sharing what you learn through Hanmaum. This site immediately makes me calm and smile 🙂 All the bests!

  2. Hi Young! Wonderful to see you here! And thank you so much for leaving such a lovely comment! If ever you’d like to write something here too, please let us know! Thanks again and with palms together, Marcus _/\_

  3. Dear Chong Go, Marcus, Joseph, and Joe:

    It’s inspiring and wonderful to see you asembled here. I am delighted. (George Carlin’s voice, with throaty, ising intonation:) What does that MEAN; ‘deighted’? You had your lights turned out? It doesn’t sound too good to me! Why we can’t we say “I’m Happy”? What’s wrong with that?

    I like your story about how things came clea to you, Chong Go Sunim. I remember you telling that story (I was going to say ‘I SEEM to emember…’, but that’s just ceativeo cliched speech; a lie; I really DO remember)! It is a nice one. By the way (what does by the way mean?; I want to say, ‘along another way’, or, ‘hey, hold on, I’m gonna change the subject now.’): I have been meaning to call you, but I like giving you a break, instead.

    Anyway (no, not ‘anyway’, ‘THIS WAY’, specifically [!]:)I received a note fom Marcus, and would like to join you all here. Thank you Marcus.

    With Palms Together, Love, Peace, and Joy (and any other attachments you can think of that make life better for a time),

    Carl

  4. Hi Carl! Fabulous! With you here, we are complete! The Dharma brothers all back together again! Wonderful! Delighted?! Yes I am! I’m very happy! All the very best mate, Marcus _/\_

  5. I was really happy to discover this lovely website. Thank you all for writing and sharing your lives and experiences in the Dharma.

    I made use of your suggestion to use Seol Selections to order another copy of Daehaeng Kun Sunim’s book on the 1000 Hand Sutra this morning. I had given the last one I purchased to my teacher.

    All best wishes,

    – roy. __/\__

    1. Thank you Roy! And thank you too for maintaining your beautiful site ‘Return to the Centre’. I’m so glad that our sites are linked. With palms together, Marcus _/\_

    2. Hi Roy,
      Thanks for stopping by! I have to echo Marcus and say that I’m honored you’re linking with us. Your site has a wonderful feeling that in Korean is called 맑고 향게 롭다, it doesn’t translate well, but means something like clear and fragrant. (I also loved your poem about texting while driving!)

      with palms together,
      Chong Go

  6. Dear Brothers:

    Thank you for having me. I am very pleased. I am honored, actually, to be invited to be an author.

    This is going to do a lot for my practice, and for me as a person, for just associating with you gentle men and friends, has a humanizing effect on me. I will confess, that life can make me quite the attached and grumpy soul from time to time, when actually what my heart wants is for me to walk the Earth gently, kindly, lovingly, and peacefully, slow to anger, quick to forgive, and able to lead others in peace. Just being invited to this sangha again, like doing my counseling online, has an affect of helping me to be more mindful.

    Imagine if the average person had to come before more than his peers regularly. Would it not affect his behavior for the better? I take therefore, gleefully, refuge in this sangha, and thank you gentle Brothers, for this blessing in my life.

    With Palms Together and Love in my Heart,

    Carlo Leo Mando (“Carleo”)

    PS: I have used this theme and found it frustrating that the search bar atop the page covers page titles fashioned. The secret is to rename the pages, if you want to prevent the truncation of titles; ‘About’ therefore could be shortened to ‘Us’, ‘Daehaeng Kunsunim’ could be refashioned, ‘Our Teacher’, or ‘Teacher Daeheng’, ‘Master Daeheng’, or ‘Kun Sunim’, or, least damaging to your intentions, ‘Spiritual Practice’ could simply be ‘Practice’, if you like. ^^

  7. I wrote an email to the man who designed this theme and mentioned the page/search problem, haven’t got any response yet…

    I also went through every single theme available, testing them on my own blog, and didn’t find a single one that looked as fresh or clean as this one. There were a couple really nice ones, but in my opinion, there’s something about this one that’s nice!

  8. Hi Josho Adrian Cirlea,

    It is so wonderful to see you here, and thank you so much for dropping by and leaving a comment. That is very very kind of you.

    And can I just say, that I continue to follow your blog and find that you are one of the clearest and most inspring writers in the entire Buddhist blogging world.

    Thank you so much for all your efforts: http://amida-ji-retreat-temple-romania.blogspot.com/

    I also lurk a good deal on the True Shin Buddhism Yahoo site and also find that a great place for dicussion and Sangha.

    As you might remember, I’m planning on moving to Japan later this year to join my partner, who is a Jodo Shinshu Buddhist, and will approach you through your blog or the Yahoo Group, if I may, as questions come up. Would that be okay?

    Thank you again so much for visiting ‘WakeUpandLaugh’, and thank you again so much for your wonderful efforts on behalf of the Dharma.

    With palms together,

    Marcus _/\_

  9. Thank you, Marcus.
    Yes, of course, you can always approach me or Paul and others via True Shinbuddhism yahoo group for questions.
    I am sending you my good wishes to you and your partner.

  10. Hello everybody!

    I’m Eunhee Kim and I’m staying in Vancouver to study for a while but I will go back to Korea soon. I’m Buddhist as well.

    I came across this site when I was looking for the some pictures of Buddha’s Birthday because I want to introduce Buddha’s Birthday as a Korean festival to my class. Is it ok to take your beautiful pictures? I’m so happy to find out a good site. I hope everybody to be happy.

    1. Hi Eunhee,
      Thanks for asking first!
      That would be fine as long as they’re used for the class. If there is an internect use, please cite the photographer and where they’re from.
      with palms together,
      Chong Go

  11. Hello Chong Go Sumin,

    I just wanted to personally thank you for adding me to your blog roll. I hope in some small part I’m helping to promote the sights and sounds of Korean temples.

    Dale

  12. Greetings Chong Go Sunim. I now live in Bihar, India, just 100 kilometers from the Bodhi tree where Buddha gained enlightenment. I am visiting Seoul and would like to know if you will be holding a Dharma Talk tomorrow, Saturday, 5 July. I feel the need for some Dharma infusion!

    1. Hi Don, great to hear from you again! Unfortunately, we won’t be meeting Saturday, as I’m out of the country. However, we’ll be meeting next Saturday, and I’ll be returning on Monday if sometime after that works better for you.

  13. Oh, sorry to have missed you Chong Go Sunim, I am off to India tomorrow. I have a proposal for you. Would you have time this winter to come to Bodh Gaya and several of the other Buddhist pilgrimage sites in Bihar such as Nalanda, Rajgir, and Vaishali? I would be honored if you would be my guest.

  14. Chong Go, will you be giving a Dharma talk tomorrow, Sat, 4 April 2015? I am visiting Seoul and would love to meditate with you.

  15. It was good to see you yesterday Chon Go, thank you for taking the time to come out and have coffee with me. Hope to see you again soon. Best, Don

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