About Us

About Us

The Kwan Um School of Zen is an international organization existing throughout the world, with over a hundred temples, monasteries, centers and groups in Asia, America and Europe, with linked branches in Australia and Africa. Its roots go back to Korea, where its founding teacher, Zen Master Seung Sahn, was born, became a monk, attained enlightenment and received Dharma Transmission. His line of transmission goes back through famous Korean Zen Masters and the great Chinese masters of the Lin-chi line to Bodhidharma, and so back to the Buddha.

Find out more about our roots and history

“Twelve years ago Korean Buddhism came to the United States and our new school appeared, a type of Zen school that does not exist in China or Korea or Thailand… This is the American style, but it has the original roots.”

— Zen Master Seung Sahn, 1984

Our Korean Roots

The Kwan Um School of Zen was founded by Korean Zen Master Seung Sahn. He took the powerful teaching and practice traditions of his great Dharma ancestors and predecessors in Korea and turned them “upside down”, creating a clear and simple teaching style that could break open the minds of American and European students.
Zen Master Seung Sahn
Zen Master Seung Sahn
Zen Master Seung Sahn (Dae Soen Sa Nim) was the founding teacher of the Kwan Um School of Zen, and the seventy-eighth Patriarch in his line of Transmission in the Chogye order of Korean Buddhism.
Zen Master Wu Bong
Wu Bong Dae Soen Sa Nim (Zen Master Jacob Perl) was the Head Teacher of the European Kwan Um School of Zen from 1995 to 2013.

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