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When we begin a Buddhist practice, we often set our sights on lofty spiritual goals. Yet the day-to-day problems we face can be stepping stones to deeper understanding. For Zen monk Haemin Sunim, helping regular people with low self-esteem, feelings of loss, or career failure is an integral part of his monastic duties, and a way to spread the dharma in his home country of South Korea, where Buddhism has been on the decline.
Dubbed the “Twitter monk” after his account garnered more than 1 million followers, Haemin Sunim in 2015 founded the School of Broken Hearts in Seoul, where he offers both traditional Buddhist instruction and classes designed to help people with the painful parts of life—such as bullying, bereavement, anger management, and dating violence. His latest book, Love for Imperfect Things: How to Accept Yourself in a World Striving for Perfection, is an international bestseller.
Here, Haemin Sunim sits down with Tricycle’s Editor and Publisher James Shaheen to discuss his journey from US college professor to Korean household name, and how he teaches people to let go of their ideas about perfection.
Awakening Here and Now, our new online course with Haemin Sunim, begins January 13. Enroll today at learn.tricycle.org.
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