Zen Meditation:
The Novice

In this revolutionary 6-week course,
Zen Master Hyon Gak Sunim mentors your first steps as a novice Zen practitioner.

WElcome to

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

Start your practice NOW!

"As the clouds are not the true sky,
your thoughts are not your true mind."

Hyon Gak Sunim

Who is the Novice Course for?
  • Beginners in meditation.

  • Experienced practitioners requiring a software upgrade in Zen.

    What you
    will get from this 6-week Course:

    See detailed curriculum below

  • 18 Videos in total.

  • Building a strong home-temple practice.

  • 6 Dharma talks (each approx. 30 mins) on Thinking, Emotions, the Body, Hindrances and Obstacles.

  • 6 weekly check-ins (each approx. 10 mins).

  • 6 weekly guided meditations (each approx. 25 mins).

  • Nudges to guide your effort.

  • Full English transcript of the Course.

      Course Curriculum

      WEEK 1:

      On the Body

        The experience of meditation is not "in the head". It is an embodied experience. Our beginning in meditation means first opening up to the conversation with the body. Sunim uses his own experience of pain in meditation to show how this could be the possibility of your first awakening..

        WEEK 2:

        On Thoughts and Thinking

          The root of enduring human suffering is humanity`s attachment to thinking. "The mind is an excellent servant, but a terrible master," said the eminent sage. Sunim introduces us to the "nudges" he`s come to use, to signal return from random thinking..

          WEEK 3:

          On Emotions

            Emotions are thoughts which are experienced as rooted in the body. They are not pure, not impure. How do we manage the appearance of emotions in meditation, in life? Sunim shares a powerful little-known story of his teacher, Zen Master Seung Sahn, at the Berlin Wall which points to handling emergence of emotions in life.

            WEEK 4:

            On Hindrances and Obstacles

              Sunim talks about obstacles and hindrances in meditation and how to work with them. Meditation is not a practice for bulldozing through the things that are difficult in life. We're not trying to get to clarity. Clarity is there. Clarity is already present. It's our birthright, but we just get involved in many patterns of thinking and we might lose contact with this clarity, but it's always there. This spaciousness is ours.

              WEEK 5:

              On Meditating for Others

                One day someone came to the great Hindu sage Ramana Maharshi and asked, “How should we treat others?” And the great teacher answered, “There are no others.” This is a profound teaching and not something we need to strive to arrive at. The habits of the mind, attachment to conceptual thought as it arises automatically entering thoughts. We make self and other. We make me and you. This is the fundamental error from which all suffering emerges. Just be it. Let your meditation like a fragrance inhabit the space of your relationships. It will. You don't have to make it. It's waiting to enter the space of your life if you just get out of the way.

                WEEK 6:

                On Gratitude

                  Sunim is considering the experience of gratitude. We use the words so easily in our quotidian life. “Well thank you very much, oh, thank you, thank you.” So it can have an automaticity and can be reduced in our understanding to a kind of social etiquette, an exchange of something given and received, part of the transaction. But gratitude is something far, far profounder. It's hardwired into us. Gratitude is not something learned. It cannot be taught. It need not be taught. It need only be discovered, it's there.

                  A comprehensive 6-week course to build an Authentic Temple Zen home practice, as lived by Zen Master Hyon Gak Sunim in his 30+ years practicing and teaching Zen throughout the world.

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                  Mirror of Zen Courses
                  First 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.


                  The Basics

                  The fundamentals for building a home-temple practice, from the ground up. No previous experience is assumed.

                  Learn More

                  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 Novice is a is a continuation of Zen Meditation: The Basics. It is a six-week Course. You will receive access to the lessons week by week.

                  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.

                  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]