A Monk’s Reply to Everyday Problems

Front Cover

A Monk's Reply to Everyday Problems

- Selection of Fifty Dharma Talks from Across the World -


A Monk's Reply to Everyday Problems, an English Translation of Yadaneopseok Has Been Published



Now, it’s possible to read Ven. Pomnyun Sunim’s Dharma talks in English. His Dharma Q&As, which consist of him holding conversations with the people in the audience, are widely known as testified by the 300 million YouTube views of his Dharma talk videos. Ven.Pomnyun Sunim has been conducting Dharma Q&A’s as a way of helping people who ask him questions about their problems. He has been holding his Dharma talks in any venue and for any type of audience that seeks him out for his wisdom.



In 2014, he visited and held Dharma talks in 115 cities around the world. Most of the talks were given to Koreans living overseas, and several were given to English-speaking audiences through an interpreter. Parts of these Dharma talks were compiled into the book, Yadan Beopseok, published in South Korea in 2015.



During his overseas Dharma talk tour, it was confirmed that people all over the world were interested in Buddhism and Ven. Pomnyun Sunim, as well as in the way of solving life problems with a Buddhist approach. Therefore, demand for Ven. Pomnyun Sunim’s Dharma talks by international audiences has grown tremendously. A Monk’s Reply to Everyday Problems is a compilation of 50 Dharma Q&As, which were selected from Yadan Beopseok for their general appeal to both Korean and international readers.



There seems to be a preconception that Buddhism is hard to approach, that it is only about Zen and practice, and that it is religion only for the select few. However, when you read A Monk's Reply to Everyday Problems, you will be able to see right away how Buddhism is very closely related to your everyday lives and how it enables people to solve everyday problems and help them to be happy.



The Buddha showed everyone the path towards happiness in response to the suffering and anguish of the ordinary people of his time and was respected by all. Anyone could come to the Buddha and ask him questions. This was the scene of early Buddhism. The road to enlightenment is neither distant nor difficult. Any of you who has a question can come and ask. In Ven. Pomnyun Sunim’s books, you will be able to read the words of wisdom that awakens the mind, now in English as well.





I miss my deceased son / Tokyo

I am lonely / Oslo

My friends have betrayed me / Oakland

I have deeply hurt my mother / Istanbul

I cannot accept the deaths of my family members / Dallas

I want to have a baby / Kyoto



I suffer from depression / Singapore

I am worthless as a mother / Nagoya

I am soon to become a mother but I feel too insecure / Phoenix

What can I do to attain peace of mind? / UCLA(University of California, Los Angeles)

I get scared when Mommy and Daddy fight / Tenafly

How can I become confident? / Pittsburgh

I want to have a boyfriend but I have no confidence / Sacramento



I have to be with someone I hate / Ottawa

I hate my father / Amsterdam

I cannot forgive my mother for leaving me /

UTS(Union Theological Seminary in the City of New York)

I regret getting mad / Budapest

I am kind to strangers, but I easily get mad at my husband and children

/ Moscow

What do I do when anger arises? / Athens

My mother and aunt were very close before but are now enemies / Montreal

My mother keeps criticizing my father / Munich



How do I renounce greed? / Google

I cannot approve some qualities of my children / Portland

How can I meet good people? / Guatemala City

How can I be loved as a wife and as a daughter-in-law? / Madison

I want to live to serve others / Raleigh

I want to live a giving life / Melbourne



Why am I so unattractive? / Prague

I love my family, but they don’t love me back / Lisbon

I am extremely restless at home after my retirement / Ellicott City

My husband competes with his children / Fairfax

I want to have a purpose, a dream / Kansas City

How can I love myself? / Philadelphia

My husband is addicted to gambling / Las Vegas

People discriminate against me for not eating meat / Mexico City



I have no purpose in life / Manhattan

I changed my sex / Tacoma

I have lied and deeply hurt my husband / Taipei

How can I become a good father, a good husband? / Hanoi

Why do I need to get married? / Stockholm

I do not want to get married / Auckland

I find it hard to express myself / New Haven



I want to know more about the Diamond Sutra / Indianapolis

What is practice? / Ann Arbor

Why do I have to do 108 prostrations? / Newport News

Does it help advance world peace if I meditate? / Princeton University

How to bring about political change / Washington DC

How should I understand religion? / Dublin

How can I be a good consultant? / Tampa

How can I gain merits as a doctor? / Houston


법륜 스님의 <야단법석> 영어판 출간


법륜 스님의 즉문즉설을 담은 책 <야단법석>을 영어로도 읽을 수 있게 됐다. 법륜스님이 대중과 만나 나누는 대화, 즉문즉설은 유튜브 1억 뷰가 증거하듯 이미 잘 알려져 있다. 스님은 오래 전부터 대중과 묻고 답하며 고민거리를 해결해가는 즉문즉설을 진행해왔으며 고뇌가 있고 질문이 있는 곳이라면 그 장소와 대상역시 가리지 않았다.


2014년에는 세계 115개 도시를 돌며 강연을 진행했는데 주로 외국에 살고 있는 한국인을 대상으로 했지만 현지의 외국인들도 다수 참가하였고 때로는 통역을 동반하여 외국인과 즉문즉설을 하기도 하였다. 그 기록이 한국에서 2015년 출간된 <야단법석>이다.


불교와 법륜 스님, 그리고 삶의 문제를 해결하는 불교적 방식에 관심을 보이는 외국인이 많다는 것이 확인되면서, 외국인도 스님의 말씀을 직접 접하게 해달라는 요청이 쇄도하였다. 이번에 나온 <A Monk's Reply to Everyday Problems>은 <야단법석>에 실린 글들 중 외국인도 공감하기 쉬운 이야기 50편을 뽑아 만들었다.


불교는 접근이 어렵다거나, 선(禪)과 수행이 전부라거나, 특정한 소수에게만 어울린다거나 하는 등의 선입견이 일부 있다. 그러나 <A Monk's Reply to Everyday Problems>를 읽어보면, 불교가 얼마나 생활에 밀착해 있으며 일상의 번뇌를 해결하고 행복에 도움을 주는지를 대번에 알게 된다.


붓다는 당대에 필부들의 고통과 고뇌에 응답하여 행복의 길을 제시했기에 위대해졌고 뭇사람의 존경을 받았다. 누구든 그에게 와서 물을 수 있었다. 그것이 불교 초기의 풍경이다. 멀고 어려운 길이 아니다. 누구든 궁금하다면 와서 물으시길. 정신을 깨우는 지혜의 말씀을 얻어 들을 수 있을 터이다. 이제는 영어로도 말이다.



Selected pages

Common terms and phrases

About the author (2018)

 About the Author

Ven. Pomnyun Sunim is the founder and the Head Monk of the Jungto Society. Guided by his teacher Ven. Bulshim Domoon Sunim, he entered the Buddhist Sangha at Boonwhangsa Temple, South Korea, in 1969, and was ordained a bihikku in 1991. He is not only a Buddhist monk but also a social activist who leads various movements such as an ecological awareness campaign, promotion of human rights and world peace, and eradication of famine, disease, and illiteracy.

Ven. Pomnyun Sunim has been advocating a new paradigm of civilization movement in which everyone becomes happy through practice, creates a happy society through active participation in social movements, and protects our environment and the Earth by leading a simple lifestyle. This vision is expressed in the Jungto Society’s motto, “Open Mind, Good Friends, and Clean Earth.”

Ven. Pomnyun Sunim has an exceptional ability for explaining the Buddha’s teachings in simple layman’s terms. Instead of giving lectures about Buddhist principles, he invites individuals in his audience to ask him questions about their concerns and doubts. Then he engages them in a dialogue to help them gain insight into the true nature of their problems, based on Buddhist principles. He challenges them to question their personal biases and helps them become more aware of their own perception of the world.

His talks have become very popular and familiar among South Korean audiences over the years. His “Hope” speaking tour from 2011 until 2014 was attended by more than 600,000 participants across 436 locations in South Korea. In 2014, he visited 106 cities around the world in 114 days and delivered 115 talks to more than 20,000 Koreans living overseas. Of these 115 talks, 8 were conducted in English for English-speaking audiences. Currently, in 2017, he is holding “Happiness” and “Reunification of the two Koreas” speaking engagements all over South Korea.

Pomnyun Sunim’s words of wisdom can be accessed through his books, social media, YouTube, TV, and radio. He has published more than 50 books since 1994, and many of his books were #1 bestsellers in South Korea. He has over 1 million followers in South Korea’s most popular messaging platform KaKao Talk, 100,000 daily downloads of his podcasts, and over 3 million views of his YouTube videos.

His extensive humanitarian work includes efforts to alleviate the suffering of ordinary North Koreans through the development of food aid programs and by working with marginalized people in Asian countries to build schools and promote community development. In recognition of his humanitarian work, he received the Ramon Magsaysay Award for Peace and International Understanding in 2002 and the POSCO TJ Park Community Development and Philanthropy Prize in 2011. Finally, in 2015, Pomnyun Sunim received Kripasaran Award from the Bengal Association at the 150th  Birth Anniversary Celebration of Ven. Mahasthavir Kripasaran, for his efforts in reviving Buddhism in India. 

For more information and resources, please visit https://pomnyun.com/

법륜法輪 스님은 평화와 화해의 메시지를 전하는 평화운동가이자 제3세계를 지원하는 활동가이며 인류의 문명전환을 실현해 가는 사상가, 깨어있는수행자이다. 1988년, 괴로움이 없고 자유로운 사람, 이웃과 세상에 보탬이 되는 보살의 삶을 서원으로 한 수행공동체(정토회)를 설립해수행자들과 함께 생활하고 있다. 법륜 스님의 법문은 쉽고 명쾌하다. 언제나 현대인의 눈높이에 맞추어 깨달음과 수행을 이야기 한다.

법륜 스님의 말과 글은 빙돌려 말하지 않고 군더더기 없이 근본을 직시한다. 밖을 향해 있는 우리의 시선을 안으로 돌이킨다. 어렵고 난해한 경전 역시 법륜스님을 만나면 스님의 지혜와 직관, 통찰의 힘으로 살아 숨쉬는 가르침이 된다.

지은 책으로는 직장인을 위한 <행복한 출근길>, 즐거운가정을 위한 법문집 <날마다 웃는집>, 부처님의 교화사례 <붓다, 나를 흔들다>, <붓다에게 물들다>, 불교입문서 <실천적 불교사상>, 대승불교의 대표 경전인 <금강경 강의>, 부처님의 일생을 다룬 <인간 붓다>, 즉문즉설 시리즈 <답답하면 물어라>, <스님 마음이 불편해요>, <행복하기 행복전하기>, 수행지침서 <기도_내려놓기>, <깨달음_내 눈 뜨기>, 젊은이들에게 꾸준히 사랑받고 있는 <스님의 주례사>, 자녀 교육의 마음 지침서 <엄마수업>, 청춘들을 위로하는 <방황해도 괜찮아>, 한반도의 평화와 통일의 비전을 제시하는 <새로운 100년> 등이 있다.

2000년 만해상 포교상(좋은벗들), 2002년 라몬 막사이사이상, 2007년 민족화해상, 2011년 포스코 청암봉사상, 통일문화대상, 2015 인도 벵골 불자연합 크리파사란 상 등을 수상했다.

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