Types of Retreats

Retreats are a special time to strengthen our practice, to break through our delusions and attain our true self. These are the most common retreats offered in the Kwan Um School of Zen:

Yong Maeng Jong Jins (YMJJ): “To leap like a tiger while sitting.” Yong Maeng Jong Jin retreats are two, three or seven days long and are held in silence. The schedule each day consists of ten hours of Zen practice (bowing, chanting, sitting and walking), work and rest periods, and vegetarian meals eaten in traditional temple style. The retreat includes talks and kong-an teaching interviews with a Zen teacher. Prior meditation experience or attendance at a meditation instruction class is recommended.

One day retreats: An abbreviated version of Yong Maeng Jong Jin. Although the specific schedule varies among Zen centers, one schedule consist of sitting and walking meditation from 9:30 am to 3:30 pm followed by an informal meal.

Kido chanting retreats: Kidos consist primarily of chanting from 9:00am to 3:00pm with a break at noon for an informal lunch. We chant “Kwan Seum Bosal”, the Korean name for the bodhisattva of compassion, while sitting, standing and walking (similar to the special chanting that we do every evening at 6:30pm). Multi-day kidos follow the same schedule as a Yong Maeng Jong Jin, with chanting in place of sitting meditation. These retreats are suitable for beginners as well as experienced students.

Kyol Che intensive retreats: Kyol Che is a traditional Korean Zen retreat. The name means “tight dharma” or “coming together.” In Korea, it is the three-month winter and summer periods when monks and nuns do intensive sitting practice in the mountain temples. There are two Kyol Che retreats held every year, in the winter and the summer, in Asia, Europe, and North America. These retreats usually run 90 days, although most Kyol Che retreats held within the Kwan Um School of Zen allow retreatants to enter for shorter periods of one week.

To find retreats being offered near you, contact your local Zen center.