Having postponed an international Dharma talk tour planned for March–May, following the emergence of the COVID-19 pandemic early this year, the renowned Korean Seon (Zen) master Ven. Pomnyun Sunim* will instead conduct a live-streamed worldwide Dharma talk on 19 July under the theme “A Casual Conversation with Ven. Pomnyun Sunim: About Life, Love, Success, and Happiness.”
The postponed international tour, which was originally scheduled to run from 25 March–30 May, had a planned itinerary of 12 cities in seven countries, featuring London, Dublin, Frankfurt, Toronto, Minneapolis, New York, Washington, DC, Orange County, San Diego, Los Angeles, and Seoul,”**
“Ven. Pomnyun Sunim is one of the most recognized and influential Buddhist leaders in South Korea with an active following,” a representative of the talk’s organizer, Jungto Society, told Buddhistdoor Global. “He is well known for his unique way of engaging audiences in Dharma Q+A that is rooted in the Buddhist teachings. This talk will have a conversational format and has no rules: people from any walk of life may ask, speak, and discuss any topic they face in their lives—issues range from the personal to societal, religious to scientific, civilization to history.”
A bestselling author, widely respected Dharma teacher, and untiring social activist in his native South Korea, Ven. Pomnyun Sunim has founded numerous Dharma-based organizations, initiatives, and projects that are active across the world. Among them, Jungto Society, a volunteer-based community founded on the Buddhist teachings and expressing equality, simple living, and sustainability, is dedicated to addressing modern social issues that lead to suffering, including environmental degradation, poverty, and conflict.
Ven. Pomnyun Sunim is also the founder and chair of the international relief agency Join Together Society, which works to eradicate poverty and hunger through humanitarian aid and sustainable development; Good Friends, a center for peace, human rights, and refugees; the Peace Foundation think-tank; and EcoBuddha, an environmental movement focused on sustainable development. Ven. Pomnyun Sunim also works closely with the Thailand-based International Network of Engaged Buddhists (INEB).
“Anyone who seeks a deeper understanding about life—from personal problems to social and global issues, and the essential questions of existence—can ask Ven. Pomnyun Sunim for his insightful perspective, which can help them understand the truth about what matters to him or her and what doesn’t matter at all,” Jungto Society explained. “Ven. Pomnyun Sunim listens to people and guides them based on the Buddha’s teaching, presenting a path that can liberate them from suffering.
“A Casual Conversation with Ven. Pomnyun Sunim” requires online registration. This worldwide live event, which will be conducted in English, has been scheduled for the following times:
19 July, 8:00 am – 10:00 am (Sydney, AEST)
19 July, 7:00 am – 9:00 am (Seoul, KST, JST)
19 July, 6:00 am – 8:00 am (Hong Kong, HKT, CST, AWST)
19 July, 5:00 am – 7:00 am (Bangkok, ICT)
19 July, 3:30 am – 5:30 am (New Delhi, IST)
19 July, 12:00 am – 2:00 am (Berlin, CEST)
18 July, 10:00 pm – 12:00 am (London, BST)
18 July 6:00 pm – 8:00 pm (New York, EDT)
18 July, 3:00 pm – 5:00 pm (Los Angeles, PDT)
Ven. Pomnyun Sunim has earned considerable acclaim in South Korea and internationally for his unique style of Dharma instruction in an informal Q+A format, in which participants are invited to raise any issues that concern them. He frequently holds talks in secular public venues rather than restricting them to Buddhist temples, in order to make them more accessible to the general public. The talks are structured with the aim of helping people realize their own inner contradictions or ignorance, and providing them with the tools and understanding to alleviate their own suffering, in the tradition of the historical Buddha.
“The path of truth leads us to freedom and happiness,” said Ven. Pomnyun Sunim. “The path must be beneficial to us and others in the present and in the future. A path which benefits only us and not others or only others and not us is not sustainable. If we do something that only benefits us and is detrimental to others, we will have to deal with the consequences later in life. If we sacrifice ourselves to benefit others, we won’t be able to keep doing it for a long time. Consequently, in order to have sustainable happiness, we must choose a path that is beneficial to everyone.
“If you make a choice that is good for now but may be harmful later, you will regret it. On the other hand, if you decide to do something that is good for the future but bad for you now, you will have a hard time doing it and be miserable. Therefore, you must choose a path that is good for both the present and the future. I hope you fully enjoy a sustainable happiness on the path of truth that is beneficial to you and others in the present and the future.”
At the time of writing on 8 July, global confirmed COVID-19 infections were reported to have reached 11.8 million, with 543,558 deaths so far recorded and 6.4 million recovered.*** The World Health Organization in March estimated the mortality rate from the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus, believed to have originated in Wuhan, China, at 3–4 per cent, based on incomplete and preliminary data, with the elderly and people with underlying health conditions considered most at risk. More recent data suggests that the mortality rate may be significantly lower, however studies are inconclusive due to variations in COVID-19 testing procedures in different countries, and differing methodologies for classifying and reporting COVID-19 as a cause of death.
* Sunim is a Korean title of respect for senior Buddhist monks.
** Korean Zen Master Pomnyun Sunim to Embark on International Dharma Talk Tour (Buddhistdoor Global)
A Casual Conversation with Ven. Pomnyun Sunim: Event Details
A Casual Conversation with a Zen Master (YouTube Channel)
International Network of Engaged Buddhists