I’ve been living in South Korea for almost ten years and have visited many Korean Buddhist temples and monasteries. In this time, I’ve met many Buddhist monks who’ve dedicated their lives to Buddhist practices. But Wonil Sunim and his autobiographies were the first glimpse I had of the inner workings of a Zen monk, at what happens when someone honestly embraces his or her inner demons and gods.
From his writing it’s clearly evident that this everyday life of ours, our own body and with it all of our emotions, our passions, fears, cravings, desires—are the very ground of inner peace, happiness, clarity of mind…. But to realize this, we have to be honest, both to ourselves and others, so that we can know ourselves, and courageous, so that we can endure the onslaught.
After reading Wonil Sunim, I felt compelled to document his liberating message of honesty. That’s what’s driving this project. I want others to see him and to hear what he has to say, especially those interested in learning how to live peacefully with themselves and with others.
I’m fortunate enough that Wonil Sunim lives near me in Seoul, so I’ve had a chance to practice together with him and get to know his dharma. The more time I spend with him, the more eager I’ve become to offer a glimpse into the inner world of a Western Zen monk who meditates and creates videos and music, and writes amazing books from the fabric of his own life.