International Summer or Winter Retreat (Kyol Che)
Kyol Che means "Tight Dharma." The day begins at 3:00 a.m. when we rise to practice 108 prostrations, followed by chanting,
sitting meditation, formal meal and working. Silence is observed throughout the retreat. The intensive schedule
includes 10 hours of formal practice and activity every day.
Please read the following carefully as it forms the basis of your participation in the retreat.
Jae Dan Beop In Seung Sahn International Zen Center Musangsa
Musangsa is located on an energy point of Gye Ryeong Mountain which is renowned for its strong, mystical energy. The nearest city is Daejeon in
Chung-nam Province, 2 ½ hours south of Seoul by car.Zen Master Dae Bong Sunim (Joshil) and Hye Tong Sunim (Seonwon Jang) are
the Guiding Teachers for the Kyol Che and will give weekly Dharma talks and regular kong-an interviews. All participants are required to comply fully with the
guidance and instructions of the Guiding Teachers when at Musangsa.
Basic Requirements (minimum one week participation)
The retreat is open to all who have had some experience of meditation in a Kwan
Um School of Zen center and can sit for a minimum of one week. (Monks and
nuns are required to sit for the full 90 days.)
Applicants must be over 18 years old and are expected to stay for the complete
period for which they have applied. Retreat accommodation is in simple, shared
rooms, sleeping on the floor (heated in winter) with mattresses.
Entering and Exiting Kyol Che
Participants are required to enter and exit on the designated dates of their retreat agreement.
Exit from retreat is on Saturdays after lunch ONLY, unless by special circumstance, with permission from the Guiding Teachers.
Participants who join the retreat should agree to the following:
• Follow the Retreat and Temple Rules of the Kwan Um School of Zen
• Observe silence from the start to the end of your retreat
• Participate fully in daily practice
• Do not shave your head if you are a layperson – you should keep at least 1cm of hair
• Take care that your actions do not disturb others and conform to the behavior and etiquette required at a Korean temple - participants will be instructed on this as part of their practice.
• No outside communications during the retreat
• No use of mobile phones, personal computers, tablets, and any personal telecommunication or entertainment devices during the retreat.
If you are coming from overseas we can provide you with travel directions from
Incheon Airport to Musangsa. If you are joining the retreat after the start, plan
to arrive at least one day before your entry day to adjust to the local situation,
especially if you are coming from abroad. You can stay in hotel/motel
accommodation outside the temple until the entry day, in the town near
Musangsa called Eomsari, or in Seoul.
Arrival & Registration
• Those who will join the retreat from the beginning of Kyol Che should plan to arrive at Musangsa no later than 2 days before the start by 12:00 p.m. Please check specified Kyol Che entry dates for each season.
• Those who will join the retreat on any Saturday entry day should arrive no later than 12:00 p.m., in order to have time to register at the Musangsa office and then attend an important orientation at 1:30 p.m.
Accommodation Before Entering The Retreat
Kyol Che participants who sit the full three months can stay at Musangsa without charge for two nights prior to the commencement of the retreat. If you
are coming for a shorter retreat stay, you should organize your own accommodation before you get to Musangsa. You should plan to arrive at Musangsa before 12:00 pm. on the Saturday entry day. Let us know your travel
details early so that we can advise you of the travel arrangements. Please discuss your plans with the Musangsa Director prior to your arrival in Korea. If you need help with booking accommodations, let us know early.
1) Please make sure you have a valid passport. Also, please check with the
Korean embassy in your country whether the type of visa you will receive
is of sufficient length for your stay at Musangsa. For more information,
please check the following Korea Immigration website
2) It is very difficult to obtain a long-term visa for Korea and it is not
permissible for any participant to overstay the allotted time on their visa.
3) If you plan to sit the full 90-day retreat, it will actually be
necessary to stay longer than 90 days in Korea, including your
arrival date, departure date, orientation, etc. Since most tourist
visas are for 90 days or less, you should choose one of the
I. Visa extension trip to Japan
It is possible to make a visa extension trip to Japan during the retreat,
and receive another 90 days in Korea. The cost of the trip which is to be
made by ship, should be met by the participant. If your country also
requires a visa for Japan, you will need to obtain that before the retreat
begins. Please check for visa requirements to enter Japan.
II. Those who do not wish to make a visa extension trip to Japan
during the retreat may enter 2 weeks late (Saturday November 26),
which will allow them to finish on the last day of the retreat (February
11) along with the rest of the group. In this case, the actual period of
the retreat will be 78 days.
III. Musangsa DOES NOT service applications for visa extensions
as current Korean Immigration law is stringent on short term
extensions. Kyol Che participants are recommended to schedule their
retreat participation dates to within their visa limit dates to avoid
hassles or denial of future entry into Korea.
Korea Immigration website
* Citizens of countries which automatically receive 6 month tourist visas to
Korea (such as Canada) are able to sit the full 90 day retreat without a visa
No Outside Contacts
Participants must remain inside the temple area for the entire duration of their
retreat. Telephone calls, chats, e-mail, letters and contacts with visitors
are not allowed, except in case of an emergency. If this occurs, the
Director can be contacted by e-mail, fax, or telephone and you will be notified.
While participating in Kyol Che, all participants should wear the traditional
meditation clothes. This means gray meditation pants, working jacket and
bowing robe. Meditation clothes can also be borrowed from the temple upon your arrival,
but sizes are limited. Shirts with collars should not be worn. Round-neck shirts,
T-shirts and sweaters are best. These should be white, gray or a dull color.
Personal clothing brought to the retreat, including socks, etc. should be of
muted, dull colors such as gray, brown or white, to blend in well with the
gray-colored robes. If you have taken five precepts or more in our school, please
bring your small kasa or long robe (as appropriate) for chanting practice. KUSZ Dharma Teachers should bring their long robes.
Clothing for Winter
Bring warm socks, hat, gloves, scarf, sweater, undergarments as needed, outdoor shoes and winter jacket.
If necessary, you may borrow hats and gloves from the temple.
Clothing for Summer
The summer season in Korea can be hot and humid. Please bring enough t-shirts and personal raingear.
It is not possible to satisfy the special food requirements of all participants. All
participants are requested to accept the simple, vegetarian diet provided.
Supplementary foodstuffs are not permitted.
Personal Health and Insurance
You are expected to take responsibility for your own health. We cannot assume
responsibility for personal medicines, medical and dental expenses. It is not
possible to visit a doctor during the retreat except in cases of serious
emergency. If you have any existing illness or physical injury that requires
ongoing medical treatment, please do not apply for this retreat.
All participants need to bear their own transportation costs. This includes:
• Round-trip airfare from your home country to Seoul
• Round-trip fare by ship, between Busan and Japan if a visa renewal trip is needed (approx. US $300)
• Transportation costs to and from the airport
• Cost of overnight accommodation in a hotel or motel (yeo-gwan) if necessary, due to late flight arrival in Korea (approx. US $40 upwards)
How to Apply
If you wish to join the Kyol Che retreat please complete and return the Kyol Che
Application form by downloading or submitting the online form with a recent
photograph of yourself. All applications should be submitted minimum of 1
week before your entry date. Seats are limited for the retreat and applications
will be considered on a first come, first serve basis, so apply early to avoid
Please ensure that you:
• indicate the period that you wish to sit with exact dates
• provide full information about your meditation experience
• attach a recent photograph
• complete the application form fully with signature (check box for online form)
All applications need to be reviewed and approved by the Musangsa Guiding Teachers. This also applies to former retreat participants.
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For more information please contact the Musangsa Office.