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Kyol Che



Kyol Che means 'Tight Dharma' and refers to the three months during the summer or winter when Zen monks traditionally spend their time on meditation retreat, concentrating on formal sitting practice for at least nine or ten hours a day in the Zen room. The retreat is held in silence and the intensive schedule allows one to completely devote oneself to formal practice.

Sitting meditation, chanting and bowing are the core of our formal practice during kyol che at Musangsa. Weekly Dharma talks and kong-an interviews are given to all retreat participants by the guiding teachers.

In traditional Korean Zen temples, monks, nuns and laypeople all sit retreat in different meditation rooms. At Musangsa, all four groups (monk, nuns, laymen and laywomen) do formal meditation practice together following the teaching of Zen Master Seung Sahn. If you are interested in participating in kyol che at Musangsa, please go to Kyol Che Information & Application below.

2021 Winter Heart Kyol Che Information

Heart Kyol Che


November 29, 2020 to February 26, 2021


Since it is not possible for the external applicants to join in person the 2020/2021 Winter Kyol Che at Musangsa due to the COVID-19 situation, we would like to offer a program, ‘Heart Kyol Che’.

What is Heart Kyol Che?

Heart Kyol Che runs concurrently with the traditional in-person Kyol Che and is an opportunity for practitioners to participate by doing practice at home and online via Zoom. By participating in Heart Kyol Che, we strengthen our practice and provide support to our fellow practitioners sitting the in-person and online Zoom Kyol Che.

Teachers: Zen Master Dae Bong Sunim & HyeTong Sunim JDPS


How do I Apply for Heart Kyol Che?

Fill out the application form and practice commitment form and please submit it online. Upon receipt of your acceptance letter from Musangsa, you will receive Zoom links to the Online Practices.

Heart Kyol Che Fee

There is no fixed fee for Heart Kyol Che but we will appreciate it if the participants make a donation*. Below is the recommendation.
Per week: $30 – $50 dollars
Per month: $200 – $300
Three months: $600-$800

*We will let you know the information in detail about how you can send your donation when we settle the method. Please don't worry about it for now and just join the Heart Kyol Che with us if you have received the acceptance letter.

Heart Kyol Che Program

1. Every day practice at home

-Please refer to the instructions on the application and fill out the appropriate daily practice schedule for yourself and faithfully follow the requested period at home or where you are staying. (Guiding Teachers sometimes check the progress of your practice, and it is possible to adjust the schedule on the way.)

2. Kong-An Interview with Teachers.

- Each participant will have a Kong-An interview once a week.

- Kong-an Interview will be available only for those who are experienced in Kwan Um School of Zen (KUSZ) style. Those who have no experience will have consulting interviews instead with the retreat teachers for an arranged length of time per person. The retreat teachers will decide if one can move on to have Kong-an interviews online as the student is ready.

- Participants who are accepted for Heart Kyol Che and for Kong-an interviews must pick a period time below and participate in the online sitting meditation during those hours. (e.g., if you choose 09: 00 ~ 11:00 on Tuesday, sit in front of your computer for that time (2 hours) and wait for your turn for an interview. More instruction in detail and time table will be announced later. If you are unable to participate for all sitting time, you should communicate with the person in charge in advance to set the interview time.) The time granted to one participant is basically about 15 minutes, but it is not fixed, depending on the individual.

Every Tuesday: 09:00-11:00 (GMT +9), South Korea.
Every Friday: 19:00-21:00 (GMT +9), South Korea.

3. Online Coffee Hour

-Participants are invited to the 'Online Coffee Hour' once a week. During the online Coffee Hour, one of the Teacher and Heart KyolChel participants will have a conversation about the practice and Q&A section with the Teacher through Zoom.

-Please let us know your preferred meeting time for the Coffee Hour from the hours below. The session will be run in two groups. Each will be run for about 1 hour. (The format can be changed)

Every Saturday between 09:00-11:30 a.m. / 07:00-09:00 in the evening (GMT +9), South Korea.

What is a Retreat?

What is a Retreat?



Zen Master Dae Bong

First, retreat is a dry cleaning machine. Our brain and body is a No.1. best computer but it has lots of dust. Desire, anger and ignorance dust, also many opinions dust. So we use this don’t know soap, put down our opinion, desire, anger and ignorance, only follow situation together and keep a big question, just don’t know mind, and that’s cleaning, cleaning, cleaning our consciousness. After kyol che our consciousness is cleaner. So kyol che is a big dry cleaning machine.

Second, retreat is a Dharma gasoline station. Our life has energy. That’s karma energy, karma gasoline. But karma means ‘I, my, me.’ Put down ‘I, my, me,’ then you and the universe become one. Then Dharma energy, universal energy comes into you. So when we do kyol che together, we put down all our opinions; my opinion, my situation, my condition. Then the correct opinion, correct situation and correct condition appears, so we and the universe are one, and then Dharma gasoline comes in. Then after kyol che, you have Dharma energy. Having Dharma energy means being in harmony with the universe and being able to follow the correct way. You come to kyol che with many karma gasoline, then take out this karma gasoline so that Dharma gasoline comes in. So we say kyol che is also a Dharma gasoline station.

Next, many people in this world are hungry. There are two kinds of hungry people; body hungry and mind hungry. Body hungry people cannot get enough food, then starve and die. They have suffering but not so much make suffering for others. Mind hungry people have enough but want more, ‘I want more, I want more.’ So mind hungry people have suffering but also make much suffering for others. So when we come to retreat we attain Dharma, then when we go home we make Dharma food. Make Dharma candy, Dharma cookies, Dharma cake, Dharma rice and Dharma bread, and all kinds of great Dharma food. Then share Dharma food to take away people’s mind hunger and make world peace. So, retreat is a Dharma food factory.

Come to retreat, clean your consciousness in our dry cleaning machine, get Dharma gasoline, Dharma energy, then in your life make Dharma food, give to others to take away their mind hunger, and take away this world’s suffering. That’s our practice and our job.
Kyol Che Rules

Musangsa Kyol Che Rules



1. Kyol Che is held in silence. Zen Master Seung Sahn says, "Silence is better than holiness". Bodhidharma sat silently in Sorim for 9 years. Silence deepens your practice and benefits you and others. If your job does not require talking, keeping silence will help you. You should also keep silence in your room.

2. Be on time for all practice periods, Dharma talks and meals. Always go to the Buddha Hall, Zen room, or Dining room punctually when the moktak is hit.

3. Do not enter or leave the Zen room after the chukpi (bamboo clapper) is hit for sitting meditation unless you are going to or returning from an interview.

4. Walking meditation is a continuation of sitting meditation. You may leave the Zen room during walking meditation when necessary. When re-entering the Zen room, do so quietly at your proper place in the line. Always walk softly in the Zen room, especially when walking on the stairs.

5. Everyone must come to all practice periods. If you are sick and cannot attend, please write a note to the Head Monk before the practice period that you will miss.

6. Everyone must come to all formal meals.​ They are a part of our practice. If you do not wish to eat a meal, you should still attend.

7. Do not enter the kitchen unless you have been given work to do there.

8. Do not use the small kitchen under the staircase in the Zen building during chanting or sitting meditation.

9. Mobile phones, personal computers or any communication equipment may not be used during the retreat.​ Please deposit your mobile phone with the temple office during registration. All outside communications are suspended for the duration of the retreat. In the case of an emergency, contact the Head Monk.

10. Do not walk up the mountain alone if you do not know the way.

11. Men and women should not go for walks outside alone with each other. ​That is, one man with one woman. You should go in groups of three people or more.

12. Men and women should not go into each other’s rooms.​
The exception to this rule is when teachers need to give private interviews or consultations to students.

13. Do not come to the temple office unless you have been asked by one of the Directors.

14. Do not talk to visitors to the temple.​ If they approach you, please direct them to the temple office or the Director.

15. The head monk will control the opening and closing of windows in the Zen room.​ If you have a problem or request, let the head monk know.

16. Do not feed or play with any animals.

17. Do not shave your head if you are a layperson.​ If you wish to keep your hair short, it should be at least 2 cm long (about 1 inch).

18. Bowing robes or working jackets and socks are to be worn whenever you are outside of your room.

19. Do not wear brightly colored clothing during the retreat.​ Do not wear hats in the Zen room.

20. The use of tobacco and alcohol are detrimental to our practice. ​Retreat participants should not consume alcohol or smoke tobacco while on retreat.

21. Personal books should not be read during the retreat.​ Only the books provided by the Zen Center may be used. Read them in the tea room during breaks and return them to the bookshelf.

22. Everyone will have a job during the work period each day, mostly cleaning the temple and working in the kitchen.​Work period is part of formal practice. Please attend to your work period assignment with mindfulness.

23. Do your laundry during the scheduled times. ​Don't work on your laundry during walking meditation. If you hang your laundry on the lines outside, take it down before evening practice.

24. Do not bring your watch into the Zen room if it makes a beeping sound.

25. Bedroom lights should be switched off by 9.20 p.m.

26. If you have a health problem, inform the Health Master.


27. If you need something, write a note to the Head Monk, House Master, or appropriate director.

28. If these rules are consistently broken by any participant, they will be given two formal warnings by the Head Monk and a third warning by the Guiding Teacher.​ If the rule concerned is still broken, the person may be asked to leave.

29. All exceptions to these rules or any temple guidelines can only be made at the sole discretion of the Guiding Teacher, Joshil Zen Master Dae Bong Sunim and Seon Won Jang Vice-abbot Hye Tong Sunim JDPS.

Guidelines for basic Korean temple etiquette * Always allow teachers, monks and nuns to go ahead of you when leaving the Buddha Hall or Zen Room.
* Always walk behind people seated in meditation.
* Learn the correct bowing form and be mindful of bowing correctly.
* Always use both hands while serving food or giving or receiving something to anyone.
* Do not sit at any place with your legs and feet sticking out, pointing at a Buddha or any person.
* Do not blow your nose in the Zen room or during meals. Please wipe your nose quietly with a tissue or handkerchief instead.



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Musangsa • Chungcheongnam-do Gyeryong-shi, Eomsa-myeon Hyangjeoksan-gil 129, 32816 South Korea • +82-42-841-6084/1293 • office@musangsa.orgDirections
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