Monk to test his endurance to discover "Emptiness"

by Dave Pope, The Buddhist Channel, May 31, 2012

Help Sunim cross The Americas by bicycle

Winnipeg, Canada -- Sunim Daeung is a 42 year old Korean Monk on an epic adventure of self discovery. His goal is to circumnavigate all of North America then travel down the west coast of Mexico and continue all the way to the southern tip of South America....on a bicycle!

<< Sunim Daeng in Vernon, British Columbia, April 26th 2012

He says he will camp whenever possible and stay in hostels when he can't. The members of his temple have been saving and donating to send him on this trip for a very long time.

I asked what motivated him to embark on such a trip. He humbly replied, in just four soft spoken words, while gently placing his open palm to his chest, "To test my spirit".

The immensity of the task facing Sunim as he treks across the American continent are as follows:

  • He has limited language skills for the countries that he will be travelling through.
  • He is on this side of the world for the first time of his life
  • He restricts himself to only what he can carry on a bicycle and sets out to peddle around two continents
  • He's unsure about how long it will take
  • He has no idea how far he will make each day, with no reservations and no itinerary
  • He has no contacts, no chase van and no support network.
  • He has willfully removed himself from family, friendship, a home, comfort, security and the ability to communicate easily, forsaking all that and replacin it with hardship, isolation, physical exhaustion, hunger, homelessness, uncertainty and danger.
  • In other words, he is completely and utterly alone in a strange world.

Sunim entered the monastic life at 19 years old and has spent the last 23 years of his life helping and teaching others. Sunim started his Journey Of Spirit in Vancouver and is presently heading through southern Saskatchewan and heading for Toronto, Ottawa, Montreal, Quebec City and then on to the east coast and St. Johns NB.

From there its down to New York City then west to California. Then it's south to Mexico, Guatemala, Honduras, San Salvador, Nicaragua, Costa Rica, Panama, Columbia, Ecuador, Peru, Bolivia, Chile and finally to the southern tip of Argentina. 
Through this endurance, Sunim is demonstrating the very essence of "emptiness" by offering to test the limits of his body and mind. Along the way, he believes he will discover some parts of this truth or Dharma as taught by Buddha.

This article is an appeal to readers who happen to stay along Sunim's path to make offerings to this monk, by allowing him to have a warm bed and a hot meal at every stop he makes.

In the east, making offerings to monks, where it is known as "dana" is a virtuous and meritorious deed. What more if the offering ends with some words of wisdom from the monk, and the synergy of this symbiotic relationship is thus complete.

Sunim is a kind and gracious monk, who will positively influence the lives of those he encounters, even if just for a day.

Sunim's route update page (on Facebook):



  • First, goto the Facebook page here: ( Click on Photos and see what he, and his bike/gear looks like so you know what to look for. 
  • If you can offer Sunim a place to sleep for a night, or a meal, or even a cold drink, join this group and post it, or email Your kind offer to Dave at
  • If you live along his route, and he is in your area at the time, put out a sign that says SUNIM PLACE TO STAY or SUNIM PLACE TO EAT, or SUNIM COLD DRINK. Accessing email is sporadic for Sunim so sometimes a sign is the only way to contact him if he is in your vicinity. You can keep track of his progress by clicking on docs and opening the ROUTE UPDATE page.
  • If you live off of his route but want to help, put your address on the sign, place it along his route and he'll find you with his little GPS unit. I'll update his whereabouts and his route whenever I hear from him. You can also post your kind offer or email it if he hasnt reached your vicinity yet.
  • If you know someone who lives along his route, forward this Facebook page to them and ask for their kind support.
  • If Sunim stays with you please join the group, take pictures and  post the experience/pics on this page.
  • If you see Sunim on the road, offer him a place for the night, or a meal, then post the experience.
  • Even if you just see him, post the sighting to help us keep track of his progress.