The New International

Kwan Um Zen Center

at Musangsa Temple

Human beings don’t know themselves and so we have many problems and much suffering. Through Zen meditation we can realize our true nature.

Then all problems can be solved and we can live a satisfying life that is beneficial to all beings.


Twenty-four years ago. Zen Master Seung Sahn created Musangsa where people from all over the world gather together to practice Zen and realize our true human nature. Now we wish to expand our facilities so even more people can come to Musangsa to practice in the spiritual energy of Gye Ryong Mountain, settle our minds, become clear, return home and help their family, society and all beings.


2023 Summer Kyol Che in person

2023 Summer Retreat

June 3, 2023 to August 30, 2023

  • 2023 Summer RetreatJune 3, 2023, to August 30, 2023 Minimum participation period: 1 week (entrance and exit days are always on Saturday)


  • Entry Dates for in-person Summer Kyol Che 2023:

-June 1st (International participants who are joining the first week of the retreat [from June 3rd] must arrive at Musangsa on this date.)

-June 10th, 24th

-July 1st, 15th, 29th

-August 5th, 19th

-Those who have sat at least one week of Kyol Che at Musangsa in the past may enter on any Saturday.

Kyol Che (90 day Zen retreat) at Musangsa

Kyol Che at Musangsa is on a schedule that is comprised of focused formal practice, work practice, hiking and other activities as a community retreat experience in a traditional Zen temple setting. All are welcome to join and benefit from this unique opportunity of practicing together with an international community of monks, nuns, laymen and laywomen practitioners, and receiving regular teaching from the guiding teachers.

Kyol Che at Musangsa can be a valuable experience in making a foundation for Zen practice when returning to your respective home countries. Teaching at Musangsa in conducted in English. Please read carefully the following information before submitting your application.

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.

How to Apply

If you wish to join the Kyol Che retreat please complete and return the Kyol Che Application form by submitting the online application directly. All applications should be submitted a 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 with approval from the guiding teachers, so apply early to avoid disappointment. All applications need to be reviewed and approved by the Musangsa Guiding Teachers. This also applies to former retreat participants. 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 (recommended)
– any medical conditions

– complete the application form fully with signature (check the Declaration box in the online form, and make sure all the required fields are filled out completely, or your application will not be processed. If you do not receive a reply within one week, please re-submit your online application or email

Arrival & Registration

– International participants entering MUST arrive at Musangsa on entry date between at 12 noon to 13:00.
– Participants traveling locally from Korea MUST arrive at Musangsa on entry date between at 12 noon to 13:00.
– Designated entry dates are on Saturdays ONLY except where indicated.
– For each designated Saturday entry date, please arrive at Musangsa by 12 noon promptly.
– If you miss the arrival time above, ***PLEASE MAKE SURE TO ARRIVE NO LATER THAN 4PM ON YOUR ENTRY DATE.*** An important orientation will take place thereafter.
– Exit from the retreat is after lunch on your designated exit date.

Kyol Che Fees

Adult: 1 week 300,000 won, 1 month 1 million won
Student: 1 week 150,000 won, 1 month 600,000 won
*The above student rate is a 50% discount for students under 25 years of age. Rates are based on the best options for participants; please bring your current student ID upon registration. Please allow the temple to keep a copy of your ID for our records.

Basic Rules

Participants who join the retreat should agree to the following:
– Follow the Retreat and Temple Rules of Musangsa and the Kwan Um School of Zen
– Observe silence during the retreat according to program
– Participate fully in daily scheduled practice
– Not shave your head if you are a layperson – you should keep at least 1 cm 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 during orientation on this as part of their practice.
– Not to have any outside communications during the retreat
– Not to use mobile phones, personal computers, tablets, and any personal telecommunication or entertainment devices during the retreat. Upon arrival, your devices will be taken for safekeeping at the temple until you exit from the retreat.


Due to the fluctuating Covid19 pandemic conditions, for international participants, please check with the South Korean embassy in your home country for travel regulations, visa eligibility and quarantine rules prior to submitting your Kyol Che application to Musangsa. If you are coming from overseas, we can provide you with travel directions from Incheon Airport to Musangsa. If you are joining the retreat on an entry date after the start, plan your arrival at least one day or more before your entry date to adjust to the local situation, especially if you are coming from abroad. You can stay in a hotel/motel accommodation outside the temple until the entry date, in the town near Musangsa called Eomsari, or in Seoul.

Documents Required

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. 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. 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, please make sure to refer to the Korea Immigration website for details on your visa arrangements and your retreat entry/exit dates prior to making your travel plans.


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. For those who qualify for temporary extension of stay (such as day trip to Japan) Musangsa can provide information and help you to arrange such short trips during the Kyol Che schedule. This may not be possible due to COVID-19 fluctuating changes.


* 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 extension.

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 temple 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 grey 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, grey or a dull color. Personal clothing brought to the retreat, including socks, etc. should be of muted, dull colors such as grey, brown or white, to blend in well with the grey-colored robes. Please check the temperature chart below and prepare your personal clothes accordingly. General retreat attire etiquette in a temple: wear socks in any public area; wear short or long-sleeved top under the bowing robe, jacket or vest at all times regardless of season. Bring your own outdoor coat, hiking shoes, hat, scarf and gloves. If you have taken five precepts or more in the Kwan Um School of Zen, please bring your ojo kasa and long robe (as appropriate) for chanting practice.


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. The temple does not 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.

Transportation Costs

All participants need to bear their own personal transportation costs. This may include:
– 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).
– Please take into consideration COVID-19 travel restrictions and quarantine requirements when planning your trip.

Back to top of page