Shim Gum Do Founding Master Great Zen Master Chang Sik Kim, was born in South Korea in 1944. When he was thirteen met his teacher Zen Master Seung Sahn Lee. He gave young Zen Master Kim a koan. “A great Zen Sword Master saw the reflection of the moon in a pool of water. He drew out his sword and cut the reflection in half and the two halves separated. How is this possible?” Zen Master Seung Sahn Lee told Zen Master Kim that he could find out the answer to the koan and attain martial art enlightenment if he came to live at his temple and follow his teachings. Following this meeting, Zen Master Kim entered the Hwa Gye Sa temple in Seoul, Korea. At the temple, Zen Master Kim’s days were filled with practice. The Dharma was taught through the experiences of the daily life of the temple. Zen Master Kim’s temple work of cleaning and cooking symbolized the importance of clearing the mind, taking care of the basic necessities of life and not wasting food or energy. Throughout practicing and working, Zen Master Chang Sik Kim always kept the seed that he would one day attain martial art enlightenment. When Zen Master Kim was 21, his teacher sent him on a 100 day meditation retreat. During this retreat the art of Shim Gum Do was revealed to Zen Master Kim through his meditation and he attained Mind Sword enlightenment.
In 1971, Shim Gum Do Founding Master Zen Master Chang Sik Kim officially introduced Shim Gum Do with the Proclamation of Shim Gum Do. This proclamation is the doctrinal explanation of Shim Gum Do, the Mind Sword Path as a Zen Buddhist practice and path. Zen Master Kim established the Korean Shim Gum Do Association and began teaching Shim Gum Do in Korea. In 1974, Zen Master Kim came to the United States and began teaching Shim Gum Do. In 1978 he established the American Buddhist Shim Gum Do Association and in 1991 he established the World Shim Gum Do Association unifying all of the worldwide Shim Gum Do Associations.
Currently Zen Master Chang Sik Kim lives and teaches at his temple Shim Gwang Sa, the Mind Light Temple in Brighton, Massachusetts. Zen Master Kim is also accomplished in other Zen arts – the art of calligraphy and of poetry – through which he continues to express the power of the moment. He is a published author of a number of books: 17 Poetry books that have been translated into six languages and “The Art of Zen Sword, A History of Shim Gum Do” and “The First Star Black Belt Forms of Shim Gum Do Zen Sword, The Manual of Course Material from White to First Star Black Belt.” Visit our Books Page for a full listing.