About Us

The Kwan Um School of Zen is an international organization of Zen centers and groups founded under the direction of Zen Master Seung Sahn. The School began with the establishment of its international head temple, the Providence Zen Center, in 1972. Over the years, Zen Master Seung Sahn and his successors have established over 100 Zen centers and groups in more than 20 countries.

The Kwan Um School of Zen was organized in 1983 to provide cohesion and administrative support to Zen centers around the world. Kwan Um means “perceive world sound,” to compassionately hear the cries of the universe.

A Kwan Um School of Zen of Europe was founded in 1984 and the Berlin Zen Center serves as its head temple.

The School’s headquarters temple in Asia, Mu Sang Sa, was founded as a traditional Korean mountain temple in 2000.

The heart of the Kwan Um School of Zen is the practice. Zen Master Seung Sahn very simply taught “Don’t Know”. This means, in each moment to open unconditionally to all that presents itself to us. By doing this, our innate wisdom and compassion will naturally breathe and flow into our lives.

The Zen centers of the Kwan Um School of Zen around the world offer training in Zen meditation through instruction, daily morning and evening meditation practice, public talks, teaching interviews, retreats, workshops, and community living. Our programs are open to anyone regardless of previous experience.

The School’s purpose is to make this practice of Zen as accessible as possible. It is our wish to help human beings find their true direction and vow and to save all beings from suffering.