Awakening Here and Now

Learn to recognize that what you seek is already here.

What is enlightenment? How does it happen? In this six-week online course, South Korean Zen monk Haemin Sunim maps out a clear, direct path to awakening. Through traditional koan practice and insights from his personal experience, Haemin Sunim will guide you toward a glimpse of awakened nature.

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Awakening is the goal of the Buddhist path. And yet the exact nature of this awakening is unclear to most of us. Years can be spent seeking and practicing without a clear idea of what we are trying to achieve. But this needn't be the case. We can develop a clearer understanding of enlightenment and the practices that lead us there. We can learn to discern between the many pleasant, profound experiences we may encounter on this path and a genuine enlightenment experience. This knowledge is what the Buddha referred to as right view, and developing it is the most helpful factor in our own journey to awaken.

This practical online course will give you the benefit of the insights Haemin Sunim has realized through his own search for spiritual enlightenment. He will share his own experiences candidly and offer instruction in the koan practices that enabled him to break through doubt and confusion to see the world differently. In each unit, Haemin Sunim will guide you through a metaphor commonly used to describe awakening and point out the truth behind it. Having set the proper direction for practice, Haemin Sunim will guide you through practices, reflections, and inquiries that will deepen your experience of the path.

Meet Haemin, Your Teacher

Haemin Sunim was born in South Korea and studied at Berkeley, Harvard, and Princeton in the US. He trained in the Jogye Order of Korean Zen and taught Buddhism and Asian religions at Hampshire College in Massachusetts. He is the founder of the School for Broken Hearts in Seoul, a nonprofit that helps people in difficulty through group counseling and meditation.

Haemin Sunim has been nicknamed the "Twitter monk" because of his influence on social media. His book, The Things You Can See Only When You Slow Down has sold more than three million copies worldwide, and his latest book, Love for Imperfect Things: How to Accept Yourself in a World Striving for Perfection has received widespread acclaim. 

If you'd like to know more, read an interview with Haemin Sunim in the New York Times or view the free lesson preview of Awakening Here and Now.

Sample: The Sunglasses Metaphor

Course Curriculum

  Introduction: What Enlightenment Is Not
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  Unit 1: What Is Enlightenment?
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  Unit 2: Zen Breakthrough
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  Unit 3: Koan Practice
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  Unit 4: Empty Luminosity
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  Unit 5: The Heart Sutra
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  Unit 6: Emptiness in Action
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Expert instruction

Haemin Sunim is a Zen monk in the Jogye Order and bestselling author of The Things You Can See Only When You Slow Down.

6 hours of high-quality video

Immerse yourself in compelling and concise video teachings.

Koan practice

Become proficient in this powerful technique for breaking through to a direct understanding of reality.


In each unit, Haemin Sunim takes one of the central metaphors describing awakening and makes its meaning and practical importance clear.


Troubleshoot your practice and understanding of awakening with Haemin's down-to-earth answers to common questions.

Course Schedule

This is a 6-unit course, available now, and which you are invited to study at your own pace. You will retain access to the course for as long as you need. Each lesson will offer roughly 45-60 minutes of video teachings. There will also be prompts for reflection, optional quizzes, and a communal discussion board. As part of your training, Haemin will suggest take-home practices, including koan study, for you to explore throughout from unit to unit.

Unit 1 | What is Enlightenment?

One of the biggest supports for our own awakening is a clear understanding of what awakening is and what it is not. We learn how to distinguish between genuine enlightenment and the many spiritual experiences that we may encounter on the Buddhist path. 

Unit 2 | Zen Breakthrough

Haemin Sunim introduces the Zen landscape and shows how Zen practice precipitates a breakthrough to a different way of being in the world. We'll look deeper into our true nature and think about enlightenment from a new angle via the Sunglasses Metaphor.

Unit 3 | Koan Practice

Koan practice has always seemed mysterious or paradoxical in the West. Here, Haemin Sunim shows that it is actually a very practical method for freeing the mind. We'll also explore the Movie Screen Metaphor as an exceptionally clear and reassuring way of understanding enlightenment.

Unit 4 | Empty Luminosity

The heart of awakening is the empty, luminous nature of mind. This formless, unconditioned awareness is our refuge from suffering, and it is this to which we awaken. However, this awareness isn't a complicated philosophy... it's actually so simple that we overlook it all the time. Our enlightenment metaphor here is that of lucid dreaming: recognizing that one is dreaming from within the dream state.

Unit 5 | The Heart Sutra

What does it mean to say that "form is emptiness and emptiness is form?" If we can understand this one text, we will penetrate the real meaning of awakening. In this unit, Haemin Sunim offers an explanation of both the limits of language and the experience of non-duality with profound clarity. We'll find the the Sandcastle Metaphor incredibly useful for understanding how awareness takes shape as form, and yet is never anything but awareness.

Unit 6 | Emptiness in Action

Having understood, glimpsed, or realized the truth we return to the world. It is in the hustle and bustle of daily life where wisdom can be put to use. This means finding creative, compassionate ways to benefit others with our wisdom. We finish with a healing, heart-opening meditation on love before Haemin Sunim offers guidance for continuing our practice and exploration.


"It was very direct with very little intellectualizing. I learned quite a lot quickly and easily. Teacher was very clear with no meandering."

"Excellent. Accessible and profound in the same time."
"It was a great course, easy to follow and understandable explanations. It delivered what it promised. I highly recommend it."

"Made me feel and think about things with curiosity and without any pressure that I had to be clever, I could just be. One of your best courses Tricycle!"

"Fantastic course! I found Haemin to be a wonderful teacher. In listening to him speak, things started to make sense in a way that I had not previously understood from just reading about them."