Venerable Pomnyun Sunim, a respected Buddhist monk and activist, began humanitarian assistance to North Korea immediately after the 1995 flood when the famine situation arose in 1995 and had published reports on the ‘North Korean Food Crisis’, ‘North Korean Refugees Situation’ and the ‘Comprehensive Reports on the Human Rights Issues in North Korea’. He is the chairman of The Peace Foundation in Seoul, which supports policy research and analysis aimed at Korean unification and humanitarian issues in North Korea. He concurrently serves as the chairman of Good Friends for Peace, Human Rights, and Refugee Issues, whose weekly publication "North Korea Today" provides detailed, up-to-date information about conditions on the ground in North Korea. Venerable Pomnyun is also chairman of the Join Together Society, an international relief agency with offices worldwide, including in North Korea. He has worked extensively to supply humanitarian aid to famine victims in North Korea and defend the human rights of North Korean refugees in China. He is also a Zen master with the Seoul-based JungTo Society, which he originally established in 1988 to facilitate self-improvement through volunteerism.
Jungto Society’s motto is ‘Open Mind, Good Friends, and Clean Earth.’ Ven. Pomnyun Sunim has been advocating a new paradigm of civilization movement in which everyone is happy through practice, creates a happy society through active participation in social movements, and protects our environment and the Earth, the mother of all living things, through a simple life style. As part of the new paradigm movement, he founded Join Together Society in 1994 to eradicate famine in developing countries; Eco Buddha in 1994 to protect the environment; and Good Friends in 1999 to advocate human rights, help refugees, and promote world peace. He also established The Peace Foundation, a private research institute, in 2004, to bring permanent peace, stability, and unification to the Korean Peninsula. Through these organizations, he has devoted himself to advocating human rights, eradicating famine, disease, and illiteracy in many countries (Afghanistan, India, Mongolia, Myanmar, Philippines, Sri Lanka, and North Korea) and promoting peace on the Korean Peninsula. In recognition of his efforts to promote peace and human rights, the Ramon Magsaysay Award for Peace and International Understanding was granted to Ven. Pomnyun Sunim in September 2002.
Ven. Pomnyun Sunim’s easy, clear, and insightful advice based on Buddha’s teachings shows us how to be happy and free in our daily life. His books and Dharma talks available in audio cassettes, CDs, video files on the website, and DVDs have had great appeal to many people.
The Way to the Unification of the Korean Peninsula / The Harmony of Work and Buddhist Practice/ Looking for Happiness in the World - In Search of a Hopeful Paradigm for Society / New Leadership for Future Generation / Buddhism and Peace / Buddhism and Environment / Commentaries I and II on the Diamond Sutra / Commentary on the Heart Sutra / The Frog Jumped Out of a Well / A Treatise for Young Buddhist Practitioners / Buddha--The Life and Philosophy / Engaged Buddhism / Eastern Philosophy and Environmental Issues
1998 Kyobo Environmental Education Award, Korea
2000 Manhae Propagation Award, Korea
2002 Ramon Magsaysay Peace and International Understanding Award, Philippines
2006 DMZ (Demilitarized Zone) Peace Prize, Gangwon Province, Korea.
2007 National Reconciliation and Cooperation Award, Korean Council for Reconciliation and Cooperation, Korea