Types of Retreat

Tight Dharma

Kyol Che

Kyol Che is a traditional Korean Zen retreat held in temples and monasteries for ninety days in summer and winter. The name means “tight dharma” or “coming together.” In Korea, it is the 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 Europe, currently at Wu Bong Sa in Poland for ninety days in the winter and for three or four weeks in the summer. The short summer Kyol Che is part of the European Summer Retreat Program (SRP) which lasts about ninety days and is held at various locations in different countries. The retreats within the SRP run for one, two or three weeks, without overlapping. All SRP and Kyol Che retreats held within the Kwan Um School of Zen Europe allow you to enter for shorter periods.

Sitting like a Tiger about to Leap

Yong Maeng Jong Jin

The traditional form of Korean intensive meditation is known as Yong Maeng Jong Jin (YMJJ), often translated as Sitting like a Tiger about to Leap (Korean, lit. strong intense sitting practice). YMJJ can be from two days up to a week or more in length.

YMJJs are held in silence. Each day consists of about ten hours of Zen practice (bowing, chanting, sitting and walking), with work and rest periods, and vegetarian meals eaten in traditional temple style. The retreat includes Dharma talks and kong-an interviews with a teacher (Zen Master or Dharma Master). Prior meditation experience or attendance at an instruction class is recommended.

Our Kwan Um Zen centers and groups regularly practice Yong Maeng Jong Jin at weekends and other times.  All the formal Zen practice forms are used, including kong-an interviews with visiting Zen teachers of the Kwan Um School of Zen

Energy Path


Kido is a special form of chanting retreat, often lasting one day, or occasionally overnight.  We usually chant Kwan Seum Bosal, the Korean name for the bodhisattva of compassion, while sitting, standing and walking.

one-day retreats

Zen Days

Some groups and centers within the Kwan Um School of Zen Europe run one-day retreats, or Zen Days, which vary in form but often run from about 9:00 am to 5:00 pm and include the same practices as other retreats.


Kyolche can vary depending on a person and throughout years of my practice it has been all. In the beginning it used to be a challenge for body and mind showing that I am capable of going beyond my own limitations and not moving (not leaving!) regardless of the mind weather – no matter if my leg hurt, my roommates were snoring or being hurtful, the schedule was harsh, my own feelings leaned towards worthlessness, envy nor even bliss. Then it changed into deeply transformative experiences of finding energy in stillness and presence of something eternal in simple things. And lately it’s been mostly a peaceful, bright, space-like, somehow transparent experience of easing into every day life filled with sitting, eating, sleeping, drinking tea, working in the kitchen, looking at friends. Who knows what comes next?
meditation retreats
Senior Dharma Teacher
Warsaw Zen Center
It is hard to describe what happens when you sit a week long retreat. I can see my mind at work and I see good things and bad things appear, which may not always be pleasant. At the end of the week something has shifted and my mind has become a bit clearer. It is a subtle change, but it has a positive impact on how I respond to everyone around me and to daily life. This is the reason why I will be back to sit another week of Kyolche when I have a chance and I wish that more people will share this experience with me.
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Upcoming Retreats

Summer Retreat Program 2024




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