Jungto Society, the international Buddhist community founded by the revered Korean Dharma master and social activist Venerable Pomnyun Sunim (법륜스님), has announced that its popular online study and practice course Jungto Dharma School will return in September, with online registration now open to new students.
Building on the success of the English-language Jungto Dharma School online study program launched in early 2022,* the new intake is accompanied by the parallel launch of a Korean-language version of the Dharma school aimed at non-native speakers of Korean.
Ven. Pomnyun Sunim, the guiding Dharma teacher of Jungto Society, first opened Jungto Dharma School in Korea 32 years ago as way to share the original teachings of Shakyamuni Buddha with lay practitioners. In response to social restrictions from the COVID-19 pandemic, Jungto Society formulated an online English-language syllabus—Jungto Dharma School: Introduction to Buddhism I—which is now open to students of Buddhism all over the world.
“In Jungto Dharma School, you will learn the original teachings of the Buddha under the guidance of Ven. Pomnyun Sunim,” Jungto Society explained. “You will learn how the mind works and experience changes in your perspective on life. As the students of Jungto Dharma School, you will not only study Buddhist doctrines (the Buddha’s core teachings) but also gain practical wisdom that helps you resolve various problems in your lives. Additionally, you will practice applying the teachings to your daily lives.” (Jungto Society)
Jungto Dharma School’s 20-week program comes with all course materials and online tools, and includes weekly online meetings with group members and facilitators, and live-streamed Dharma talks with Ven. Pomnyun Sunim. The course content encompasses foundation modules on understanding the Buddha’s core teachings, from original (pre-sectarian) Buddhism to modern Buddhism, as well as practical steps to bring the practice of the Buddhadharma into one’s own daily life.
“Throughout its 32-year history, Jungto Dharma School has helped countless people transform their lives,” Jungto Society said. “This 20-week program will help participants learn how to live freer and happier lives in accordance with Buddhist teachings.”
Past students of Jungto Dharma School shared their impressions of their learning experience and how their lives and practice have benefited:
Jungto Dharma School had a huge influence on me. Not only did the course help me to recognize the root of my suffering and ignorance, but also made me see how I was creating my own suffering when my life is already in a perfect condition to be happy. I learned about non-self, impermanence, interdependent origination, the middle way, and the fact that I could lift my suffering and change my karma through consistent and continuous practice. It provided me with deep insight into life and how to live it. It was the most valuable lesson in my life.(Thomas)
Through the Jungto Buddhism Dharma course, I learned about concepts like the middle way, interdependence, karma, and enlightenment. I’ve heard these words used before and I may have used them without fully understanding what they mean. Being in this class helped me have an understanding of what they mean because Sunim explains complex terms in a simple, straightforward style for everyone to understand. The volunteers were inspirational in their dedication and devotion to being available to us and helping along the way. My classmates and their sharing influenced me to understand other perspectives.(Ruha)
“The Buddhist teachings must be practiced, not just learned,” said Ven. Pomnyun Sunim “The main purpose of Jungto Dharma School is to understand how negative feelings and states of mind are manifested in our daily life, and then to experience how these negative psychological states can be transformed into positive ones. The most important thing is that you should experience and practice this path for yourself.”
Ven. Pomnyun Sunim is a widely revered Dharma teacher, author, and social activist. He has founded numerous organizations, initiatives, and projects across the world. Among them, Jungto Society, a volunteer-based community founded on the Buddha’s teachings and dedicated to addressing modern social issues that lead to suffering, and JTS Korea, an international humanitarian organization working to eradicate poverty and hunger. Ven. Pomnyun Sunim is also the patron of the International Network of Engaged Buddhists (INEB).
In October 2020, the Niwano Peace Foundation in Japan presented the 37th Niwano Peace Prize to Ven. Pomnyun Sunim in recognition of his international humanitarian work, intensive environmental and social activism, and his tireless efforts to build trust and goodwill between communities of different faiths and cultures, toward the goal of world peace.**
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