Good and bad have no self-nature;
'Holy' and 'unholy' are empty words.
Before the six gates is a land of stillness and light:
Spring comes, and the grass grows by itself.
Zen means understanding my True Self: "What am I?" It is not a religion, a theology, a creed, a belief system or philosophy. Zen is an ancient technology of clearly perceiving the roots of our original nature, before-thinking appears. Utilizing sitting meditation, chanting meditation, mantra practice, and bowing meditation (prostrations), Zen is a science of profoundly looking, straight into the actual nature of self, attaining don’t know, and then functioning from moment to moment to save all beings from suffering. That is Great Love, Great Compassion — the Great Bodhisattva Way.

“The true man of no-rank —
what a piece of dried shit he is!”
           Zen Master Linchi (?-866)
Hyon Gak Sunim (Paul J. Muenzen) was born in 1964 to a family of devout Catholics in New Jersey, U.S.A. Educated in literature and literary theory at Yale University (1987) and comparative religions at Harvard Divinity School (’92), he was ordained in 1992 in China.He is the first Westerner ordained in PRC China since the Cultural Revolution. He has been doing Zen training in various remote mountain places, including 3 intensive 100-day solo meditation retreats and some forty 3-month intensive meditation retreats (“ango“) in the ancient Zen temples of Korea.

He received formal public certification of his enlightenment and authorization to teach (“inka“) from Zen Master Seung Sahn, at a public ceremony in Hwa Gye Sah Temple, Seoul, Korea, in August 2001.He was later appointed by Zen Master Seung Sahn to be the Guiding Teacher of the Seoul International Zen Center at Hwa Gye Sah -- his Teacher's 500 year-old home temple in the mountains outside central Seoul. He served as the Zen Master's personal secretary from 2003 until his death, in 2004.

At the request of his Teacher, he has compiled and edited several of Zen Master Seung Sahn's books, including The Whole World is a Single Flower, The Compass of Zen, and Only Don't Know, Wanting Enlightenment is a Big Mistake.

He also translated into English the 500 year-old classic of Zen Master So Sahn, The Mirror of Zen.

Hyon Gak Sunim is the author of the Korean-language bestseller, From Harvard to Hwa Gye Sah Temple, an autobiography which became a number-one bestseller in Korea for nearly two years. The book is widely credited with leading a revival of interest in Korean Buddhism, especially among the young generation in Korea, where Buddhism had been perceived to be in decline. Sunim is also the editor or translator of several best-selling translations into Korean of Zen Master Seung Sahn's English-language books.

The former Buddhist co-Chaplain at Harvard University (1996-97), Sunim has given public talks at Harvard, Yale, Stanford, UC-Berkeley, Oxford, Columbia, NYU, Union Theological Seminary, Brown, SUNY, Université de Paris, University of London, Charles University (Prague), University of Latvia, Vilnius University, Universidade de Sao Paulo, University of Salzburg, and University of Oslo, among many others, in addition to colleges, divinity schools, and countless temples throughout Korea, and other temples in Hong Kong, Singapore, and Japan. Sunim held a public conversation with His Holiness the Dalai Lama in Yokohama, Japan, in 2012 which was filmed by Korean TV. He was invited to teach meditation to executives at Facebook HQ in Silicon Valley. In 2018, he taught Zen meditation at a seminar inside Vatican City.

He currently lives as a wandering monk, based in Europe, giving talks and leading retreats and conducting seminars wherever invited.

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