How One Buddhist Monk Devoted His Life to North Koreans
Pomnyum Sunim is a South Korean Buddhist monk who has devoted his life to rescuing the North Korean people and promoting peace between the two nations.
North Korea and South Korea have officially been at war for over fifty years, and there are many who believe that the two nations will never be friends. However, that has not stopped some people from challenging their government’s beliefs, and one man in particular has made it his life mission to end the suffering in North Korea. It may be surprising that he is South Korea, but what is even more surprising is that he is a Buddhist monk.
Pomnyun Sunim entered into Buddhism as a novice way back in 1969, but even then North and South Korea were firmly divided. Throughout his advancement to become a Buddhist monk, Pomnyun Sunim has always been very concerned about the people that are forgotten by the world; the poor, the diseased, those who are starving, and those who are illiterate. When the tragic flood of 1995 occurred in North Korea, Pomnyun Sunim was quick in extending a helping hand to those across the border. Since then, he has constantly and consistently campaigned for the rights and struggles of the North Korean people.
He recently spread awareness for his causes in North Korea with an interview with the Huffington Post. He admitted his being a Buddhist monk and his meditations have helped him push through the sadness he experienced when facing those he hoped to serve. “At that time, meditation really helped me to control my emotions, because I was angry at times,” Pomnyun Sunim told the Huffington Post. “At times, I was really sad. But I realized that my sadness does not help that person. It’s important to remember that action only will help that person.”
Currently, Pomnyun Sunim is the chairman of The Peace Foundation in Seoul, which seeks to bring peace, accord, and eventually unity between the two Koreas. It does this by researching how it can best deal with humanitarian issues within the country of North Korea. Pomnyun Sunim is also the chairman of the Good Friends for Peace, Human Rights, and Refugee Issues, an organization which has been instrumental in his quest for peace in North Korea. Through his work, thousands of people in North Korea have received aid during times of famine.