Monday, September 29, 2008
The Diamond Sutras - Zen Master Hyon Gak Sunim
Venerable Hyon Gak Sunim was born Paul Muenzen in 1964 to a family of devout Catholics in New Jersey, U.S.A. His mother is a PhD in biochemistry, and his father was an executive at a prominent American computer company, and later founded his own company. He has eight brothers and sisters. He is currently the Head Teacher of the Zen hall at 500 year-old Hwa Gye Sah Temple in the Sam Gak Sahn Mountain range, outside Seoul, South Korea. In August 2001, he received inka, certifying his enlightenment, by Zen Master Seung Sahn the 78th Patriarch in a lineage stretching back to Shakyamuni Buddha.
Educated in philosophy and literature at Yale University (Class of 1987) and comparative religions at Harvard Divinity School ('92), Ven. Hyon Gak Sunim was ordained in 1992 in the temple of the Sixth Patriarch, Nam Hwa Sah Temple on Chogye Mountain in Guangzhou , People's Republic of China: he was the first Westerner to be ordained in China since the Communist Revolution. (The name he received from Zen Master Seung Sahn, "Hyon Gak," means "endlessly profound enlightenment.") He received Bikkhu precepts at the Diamond Altar of Tong Do Sah Temple in Korea, one of the most sacred sites in the nation, and has been doing training in various remote mountain places, including 3 intensive 100-day solo retreats and some 15 group 3-month intensive meditation retreats .
Presently, as the Head Teacher of the Seoul International Zen Center at Hwa Gye Sah Temple , he is Zen Master Seung Sahn's official representative at the Head Temple. He leads three-month intensive retreats twice annually, and is much in demand as a public speaker throughout Korea, Asia, and many parts of the West.
Also Google Video has a enlightening Interview with Hyon Gak Sunim.