Retreats are an opportunity to strengthen our practice, in order to perceive more clearly and act from our natural compassion and wisdom. 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 dharma 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 or “Zen Days”: This is a shortened version of Yong Maeng Jong Jin. Although the specific schedule varies among Zen centers, the retreat usually includes 6-8 hours of sitting and walking meditation. This is a great first retreat for beginners.
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 an intensive Korean Zen retreat, traditionally held for 90 days in summer and winter in monasteries and temples. The name means “tight dharma” or “coming together.” We continue this tradition by offering Kyol Che retreats twice a year in Asia, Europe, and North America, but with the modern innovation of allowing participation for shorter periods of time.
To learn more, and to find retreats being offered near you, please contact your local Zen center.