Zen Meditation:
The Basics

In this one-of-a-kind online course, Zen Master Hyon Gak Sunim will guide you through an introduction to Zen Meditation. You will learn all the basics, as they are taught in the ancient temples of Asia, for establishing an authentic home-temple practice in your everyday life.

WElcome to
The ZEN basics course

In this short video
Hyon Gak Sunim gives an overview of the course

Enter the Temple

"Now more than ever, WAKING UP is urgently important."

Hyon Gak Sunim

Who is the Zen Basics Course for:
  • Beginners in meditation.

  • Experienced practitioners requiring a software upgrade in Zen.

  • Those wishing deeper connection to sangha practice.

    What you
    will get from the Course:

    See detailed curriculum below

  • Building a posture.

  • Detailed instructions on variations in the posture.

  • Becoming grounded in natural breathing.

  • Your first guided meditation with Sunim.

  • Full English transcript of the Course.

  • BONUS: Hyon Gak Sunim’s translation of the 500 year-old classic, “Beginner’s Mind,” by Zen Master Won Hyo

      Course Curriculum

      CHAPTER 1:
      Course Overview

        Sunim gives an overview of the course.

        CHAPTER 2:
        What is Enlightenment?

          Sunim introduces students to Zen, discussing the Zen path and informing about what “Enlightenment” truly means.

          CHAPTER 3:
          What is True Meditation?

            Sunim talks about the different kinds of meditation that exist out in the world today. He delves deeply into the subject-object relationship and discusses how Zen meditation is different in that it is subject turning toward subject.

            CHAPTER 4:
            Meditation in Everyday Life

              Sunim talks about meditation in everyday life. He also gives an in-depth account of a car accident he was in, recounting how in the moment he was calm and present.

              CHAPTER 5:
              On “Don’t-Know Mind”

                Sunim prepares viewers to reflect on "the great question" and explores "don't know mind" as a basis for our meditation practice.

                CHAPTER 6:
                Posture

                  Sunim helps you find the sitting posture that is right for you in your meditation practice. There is no single “perfect posture” for everyone. We must each find our own posture.

                  CHAPTER 7:
                  Standing in Meditation

                    Sunim shows how standing can alleviate some of the aches and pains that emerge during practice. He instructs how to stand and sit back down properly during formal meditation.

                    CHAPTER 8:
                    Eyes Open

                      Sunim describes the importance of keeping the eyes open during meditation. He discusses common problems one may face when maintaining open eyes and how to resolve them.

                      CHAPTER 9:
                      Mudra

                        Sunim talks about how one should keep their hands during meditation practice - otherwise known as the mudra. He shows how the mudra is positioned in Zen meditation and explains its importance.

                        CHAPTER 10:
                        Breath Awareness

                          Sunim talks about one of the most important aspects of Zen meditation -- the breath. He expresses the value of the breath and how it can change one’s life. He shows how to have a light awareness of the breath, and how simple it might be to leave it alone during practice.

                          CHAPTER 11:
                          On the Great Question

                            Sunim explores the Great Question, which arises from the ones which all humans ask themselves: Why do we suffer, even those who are “good” to others? Why am I born into this world? Why must I die? What am I?

                            CHAPTER 12:
                            A Guided Meditation in Zen

                              Sunim puts together everything he has discussed thus far. He gives a guided meditation and reemphasizes the significant aspects of Zen meditation.

                              CHAPTER 13:
                              Final Reflections and Outlook

                                Some final thoughts from Sunim, and an outlook on the in-depth work of a future course — The Novice Course. Most importantly, Sunim encourages the work of constantly watering your practice, until it blooms and takes deep root in your consciousness.

                                BONUS 1

                                A Dharma Jewel: The Path of Sangha

                                  Practicing alone can be very challenging. That is why, in the Zen tradition, there is emphasis on connecting one’s practice with other people: Sangha. Sunim gives some hints about upcoming functions which will help to support this dimension in your practice.

                                  BONUS 2

                                    Zen Master Won Hyo (617 – 686 CE) is one of the towering figures of Korean Zen. This essay is memorised by all “baby” nuns and monks when they first enter the monastery.

                                    Hyon Gak Sunim’s version of the 500 year-old classic, “Beginner’s Mind,” by Zen Master Won Hyo.

                                    Zen Master Won Hyo (617 – 686 CE) is one of the towering figures of Korean Zen. This essay is memorised by all “baby” nuns and monks when they first enter the monastery.

                                    A comprehensive 14-part course in the fundamentals of Zen, as lived by Zen Master Hyon Gak Sunim in his 30+ years practicing and teaching Zen throughout the world.

                                    It’s all the kit you really need to “only don’t know”.

                                    Temple Training Fees


                                    €275

                                    Special Offer

                                    €180

                                    + applicable Taxes and fees

                                    Mirror of Zen Courses: Next Steps

                                    Introduction to Zen

                                    The three free videos (and one BONUS video) introducing you to a Zen monk functioning moment-to-moment in the modern world. Sunim explains the power of meditation and the urgent need to wake up.

                                    Free!

                                    Zen:
                                    The Novice

                                    This 6-weeks course builds your daily practice with weekly dharma talks and guided meditations.

                                    Coming Soon

                                    Frequently Asked Questions

                                    “Authentic” temple Zen? How so?

                                    The title is a little audacious — we get that. Any kind of title is a mistake. But this title was chosen because Sunim learned Zen practice in some of the most eminent temples in Asia’s Zen tradition, and we wanted that to be reflected in the title of the course. The word “tradition” brings to mind something too stiff, conservative, or dead. So we chose the “lesser of two evils”. But the title is not meant to imply that the teachings of Sunim are any more “authentic” than anyone else’s, or any other tradition. It’s just a word to capture one quality or dimension of his experience.

                                    Why the Golden Buddha?

                                    “Buddha” simply means “wake up”. It is NOT a god or a deity of any kind. It is merely a symbol of our already-awakened True Nature. The Buddha in these videos is a copy of a ninth --century Buddha from the Koryo Dynasty in Korea. It was given to Hyon Gak Sunim by a Korean Bikkhuni (Nun) for his second 100-day solo retreat in the Jiri Sahn Mountains (1998-99). And the Buddha is NOT wearing a baseball hat, Eminem-style: In the center of the Buddha’s head is represented, in gold, the Third Eye, representing wisdom. The Buddha’s hands are not in the “cosmic mudra” of meditation; rather, they are in the “relaxed” position, representing the relaxed mind of our innate, true, natural wisdom in everyday life.

                                    Is Zen meditation for everyone?

                                    Zen just means sitting in silence, observing the movement of breath, and turning the view back to interrogate the “place” of the nature of the witness. At the same time, while there are scientifically proven benefits from meditation, for some people with traumas, or with bipolar or psychotic conditions, sitting in silent meditation can bring people past their window of tolerance, and thereby can be harmful if these mind-states are investigated so deeply, especially without the direct, in-person guidance of an experienced teacher. Therefore, it is highly recommended that people who have any history of particularly challenging mental struggle should only engage meditation practice in consultation — and constant dialogue — with their chosen therapist. Notice the body, notice the mind: If you notice deleterious changes, immediately stop this meditation, and consult with your therapist.

                                    When does the course start and finish?

                                    Zen Meditation: The Basics is a completely self-paced online course -- you have full access to all course materials immediately and you may study them at the pace that is most comfortable for you.

                                    How long will I have access to the course?

                                    After enrolling, you have unlimited access to the course for as long as you like - across any and all devices you own.

                                    Why this price for a course?

                                    Yeah, we struggled with this for a while. Sunim feels particularly sensitive about anything having to do with “charging” for the Dharma. But an online course such as this is another animal altogether: the enormous unexpected costs for producing and promoting such a high-quality set of videos as this course was much more than we expected. Salaries needed to be paid, and equipment needed to be bought, as well as expensive software. Sunim has uploaded hundreds of hours of his talks and teachings on YouTube for years, with next to no “return”, which is how it should be. At least half or more of the people who attend Sunim’s retreats attend for free, because Sunim does not wish finances to be a barrier. If there is any “profit” left over from the registrations for this course, it will be plowed back into Sunim’s work to spread the Dharma teachings all over the world. In this way, your course registration can be seen as a donation for the work of Dharma.

                                    Will there be a scholarships program?

                                    Yes, absolutely. Scholarships will be offered in the future, especially to low-income and to those in historically underserved communities. Once our unexpectedly high production costs have been recouped, we expect to begin finding a way to opening these teachings to whoever wishes to handle them, whatever their financial condition.

                                    What is your refund policy?

                                    If you are not satisfied with the course, you may contact us within 30 days of purchase to receive a full refund.

                                    There are additional courses after “Zen Basics”?

                                    The path of meditation and spiritual evolution cannot be adequately addressed in one book, let alone one online course. The next course, Zen Novice, takes the elements of Zen Basics and goes for a deeper dive into developing your meditation, while addressing topics which are common for people to face when they begin their practice.

                                    Mirror of Zen Technical Support

                                    In case you experience any difficulties with accessing the Course or any other technical issues, please contact us at:

                                    [email protected]