Von Myon Synim

Von Myon Synim — a disciple of patriarch Seongchol Sunim . The founder of International Buddhist center «Lotus Lantern» in Seoul and the temple «Dalmasa.»
Won Myong Sunim (the Perfect light) was born in 1950 in Daegu. At school he wasn’t showing any special interest in Buddhism. At the age of 19 he was getting ready for the enrollment. Since the nearest Buddhist temple was very cozy and quiet, he used to do his lessons there. Hence, the decision to become a monk was matured here. He fled to the famous Korean monastery — Haeinsa and became hendjanim (a disciple) there. Parents managed to find him only in six months, they tried to persuade him to come back home, but in vain, it was too late.

Soon, he took ordination and became a disciple of Seongchol Sunim (the Patriarch of Korean Buddhist Order Chogye). Won Myong Sunim spent 12 years in Haeinsa. Participated in the 3-months summer and winter kelche (reclusions) and retreats «Tiger Leap», the monks meditation practice — 20 hours daily, without sleeping, for 3 weeks. We can say, that in total he has spent about three years in the Haeinsa monastery meditation hall.

Once, during a retreat, English words and phrases started to cross his mind (he has been studying it at school). From this came a decision to learn English. Soon, he went to Sri Lanka where he took one more Buddhist name — Asanga. Asanga means detachment, impartiality, not connected to anything. This word describes free, not staying in anything, mind.

Having lived several years abroad, Won Myong Sunim realized that there’s nothing but some basics of Korean Buddhist history known in the world. Then there came a wish to organize Korea’s first international Buddhism center.

In 1987 Won Myong Sunim, together with several Europeans, founded the International Buddhist center «Lotus Lantern». The meditation center was built near Seoul. The building of Taiwan Buddhist Temple is in process.

His first visit to Russia was in 1989 during the Summer Olympics in Seoul, he used to work in the Olympic village Buddhist center. There he met an interpreter from St. Petersburg and received an invitation. Before heading to Russia, it was necessary to get the Master’s permission. Seongchol Sunim usually rejected such invitations, saying that it was not necessary. Won Myong Sunim was afraid to hear this response. But, surprisingly, the Master said it was important and approved the trip.

In Russia he held several retreats, gave refuge to many, few of his disciples received ordination and became monks. Donetsk, Bishkek, Tashkent, Tula — the cities where he is a teacher. The Buddhist community «Dalmasa» was founded in Moscow in 2000.

Won Myong Sunim died on Sept. 23, 2003.