join the practice


The ultimate purpose of Zen practice is to realize the true nature of life and death, and to find the correct direction for human life. Through this practice, you can get mental clarity and wisdom that will benefit your everyday life, and help others and society with compassion.

What you SHOULDN’T expect from this practice

Some people have wrong expectations and/or fantasies when they participate in Zen programs, and retreats. Please quickly review the following to see if they match your expectations of correct Zen.

  • Zen is not a ceremony based on blind faith; nor should it be considered a means to gain some merit.
  • Zen is not intellectual and/or philosophical entertainment. Zen practice does not help you to improve on such skills.
  • Zen programs are not an opportunity to have some fun away from work, socializing with others.
  • Zen is not a means to run away from life.
  • Zen is not a cure-all for serious mental health issues. We have seen lots of people participating in Zen retreats, hoping for their conditions to improve. If you already have mental health issues that require treatment, we are sorry to say that we do not recommend Zen as a treatment. For those who have had psychiatric treatments before, practicing Zen may even complicate their previous treatments.

Kyol Che

 “Kyol Che” literally means “Tight Dharma” in East Asia (“結制”). It is a time when monastics have intensive Zen practice for three months, twice a year (in summer and winter). Every day during the Kyol Che, there’s sitting Zen that lasts nine to ten hours. Total silence is kept throughout retreats: no speaking. In traditional Korean temples, bikkhus, bikkhunis, laymen and laywomen each use separate Zen halls to sit. At Musangsa, however, we all practice together in the same Zen hall, as is the international tradition at Kwan Um School of Zen, established by Zen Master Seung Sahn. Only the living quarters are separated from each other.

What is Kyol Che?
-Zen Master Dae Bong-

First, Kyol Che 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 Retreat our consciousness is cleaner. So, Retreat is a big dry-cleaning machine.

Second, Kyol Che 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 retreat 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 retreat, 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 retreat with many karmas’ gasoline, then take out this karma gasoline so that Dharma gasoline comes in. So, we say retreat 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.

2024 Summer Kyol Che in person

2024 Summer Retreat 

    1. Date: May 22 to August 18, 2024
    • Entry Dates: Every Saturday, starting May 21st (excluding May 25th)
    • Last Entry Day: August 10th
    • Minimum participation period: 1 week
    • Check-in and out days on Saturdays


2.  Special Instructions:

    • May 21st: Entry date for May 22nd start
    • Foreign participants joining from May 22nd must arrive by 4 PM on May 20th.
    • Full practice schedule until August 14th
    • Deep cleaning days: August 15th to 17th


3. Admission Time:

    • Except for participants starting on May 22nd, please arrive at Musangsa’s office between 12:30 PM and 1:00 PM on Saturday of your chosen Summer Kyol Che date.


4. The 90 day Zen Retreat ‘Kyol Che’ at Musangsa

Kyol Che at Musangsa offers a structured schedule encompassing focused formal practice, work practice, hiking, and communal retreat activities within a traditional Zen temple environment. We warmly welcome individuals from all backgrounds to join us and partake in this unique opportunity to practice alongside an international community of monks, nuns, laymen, and laywomen practitioners. Participants will also receive regular teachings from our guiding teachers.

Engaging in Kyol Che at Musangsa can serve as a transformative experience, laying a strong foundation for Zen practice upon returning to your respective home country. Please note that teachings at Musangsa are conducted in English. Prior to applying, we kindly request that you carefully review the following information.

5. Basic Requirements 

    • Participants must have prior meditaion experience in a Kwan Um School of Zen center and commit to at least one week of attendence.
    • Monks and nuns are abligated to attend the entire 90-day period.
    • Applicants must be over 18 years old and stay for the full duration of their chosen period.
    • Accommodations consist of simple, shared rooms with floor sleeping arrangements(In winter, Operate Ondol:underfloor heating system) and mattresses.


6. To participate in the Kyol Che retreat:

    • Fill out and submit the Kyol Che Application form online at least 1 week before your intended entry date.
    • Seats are limited and allocated on a first-come, first-served basis, pending approval from the guiding teachers.
    • Ensure to provide accurate details of your desired sitting period, meditaion experience, attach a recent photograph(recommended), and disclose any medical conditions.
    • Your application must be fully completed with a signature (check the Declaration box in the online form).  *Incompleted applications will not be processed.
    • If you do not receive a response within one week, please resubmit your online application or email


Arrival & Registration Guidelines:


1. International Participants:

    • Arrival at Musangsa: Entry date between 12:30 noon to 13:00.
    • Designated entry dates: Saturdays ONLY, unless otherwise specified.
    • Arrival Time: Please arrive by 12 noon promptly on the designated Saturday entry date.

2. Local Participants (Traveling within Korea):

    • Arrival at Musangsa: Entry date between 12:30 noon to 13:00.
    • Designated entry dates: Saturdays ONLY, unless otherwise indicated.
    • Arrival Time: Please arrive by 12 noon promptly on the designated Saturda entry date.

3. Late Arrival Notice:

    • If you miss the specified arrival time, ensure you arrive no later than 4:00 PM on your entry date.
    • An essential orientation session will follow thereafter.

4. Exit from the Retreat:

    • Departure after lunch on your designated exit date.

These guidelines ensure smoothe registration and participation in the retreat. Please adhere to the specified times for a seamless experience.


Kyol Che Fees

Adults Students
1 week 300,000 KRW 150,000 KRW
1 month 1,000,000 KRW 600,000 KRW

Note: The student rate is a 50% discount for students under 25 years of age.


Important Information:

    • Please bring your current student ID upon registration to avail of the student discount.
    • Allow the temple to keep a copy of your ID for our records.


Participants who choose to join the retreat at Musangsa agree to adhere to the follo rules:


    1. Follow Rtreat and Temple Rules: Participants are required to abide by the rules set forth by Musangsa and the Kwan Um School of Zen.
    2. Observance of Silence: Silence must be maintained during the retreat as outlined in the progran schedule.
    3. Full Participation in Daily Practice: Participants are expected to fully engage in the daily scheduled practice activities.
    4. Hair Maintenance for Laypersons: Laypersons are not permitted to shave their heads and should maintain at least 1 cm of hair.
    5. Adherence to Temple Etiquette: Participants must ensure that their actions do not disturb others and comply with the behavior and etiquette expected at a Korean temple. Orientation will be provided to instruct participants on proper conduct.
    6. Restriction on Outside Communications: Participants are prohited from engaging in any form of outside communication during the retreat.
    7. No Use of Electronic Devices: Movile phones, personal computers, tablets, and any other personal telecommuncation or entertainment devices are not allwoed during the retreat. Upon arrival, such devices will be  collected and stored safely at the temple until the end of the retreat.
    8. No Outside Contacts: During the retreat, paticipants must stay within the temple grounds and refrain from making outside contects. This includes telephone calls, chats, emails, letters, and visits, except in emergencies. In such cases, participants can contact the temple Director via email, fax, or telephone, and will be informed accordingly.

By agreeing to these rules, participants commit to fostering an environment conducive to mindfulness, self-reflection, and spiritual growth during their at Musangsa.


Travel Information

For internatinal participants, please check with the South Korean embassy for travel regulation, visa eligibility, and quarantine rules before applying for the Kyol Che retreat at Musangsa. We can provide travel dirctions from Incheon Airport to Musangsa if you’re coming from overseas. If joing after the start date, arrive at lease a day before to adjust, especially if from abroad. Stay in Eomsari or Seoul until your entry date.


 Ensure you have a valid passport and check with the Korea embassy regarding your visa length for the Musangsa retreat. Overstaying visas is not permitted. For the full 90 day retreat, you may need to stay longer in Korea. Most tourist visas are for 90 days or less check the Korea Immigration website for details. Musangsa does Not handle visa extensions. Consider scheduling retreat dates within your visa limit. For temporary extensions(e.g., day trips to japan), contact Musangsa.



Required Clothing for Kyol Che


  1. Traditional Meditation Clothes:
  • Grey meditation pants
  • Working jacket
  • Bowing robe

2. Additional Notes:

  • Participants can borrow meditation clothes from the temple upon arrival, but sizes are limited.
  • Shirts with collars should be avoided. Round-neck shirts, T-shirts, and sweaters are preferred.
  • Colors for shirts and personal clothing should be muted and dull, such as white, grey, brown, etc., to blend with the robes.
  • Socks should be worn in any public area.
  • Regardless of the season, wear short or long-sleeved tops under the robe, jacket, or vest.
  • Bring personal outdoor clothing such as a coat, hiking shoes, hat, scarf, and gloves.
  • Participants who have taken five precepts or more in the Kwan Um School of Zen should bring your ojo kasa and long robe for chanting practics.

3. Additional Considerations:

  • Temperature Chart: Ensure personal clothing is suitable based on the temperature chart provided.
  • Etiquette: Maintain respectful behavior adn follow temple etiquette throughout the retreat.

Adhering to these clothing guidelines will contribute to a focused and respectful environment during the Kyol Che retreat.


Food Guidelines:


  • Vegetarian Diet: All participants are required to accept the simple, vegetarian diet provided.
  • Special Requirements: It is acknowledged that meeting the special food requirements of all participants is not feasible.
  • Supplementary Foodstuffs: Supplementary foodstuffs ard strictly prohibited.

We appreciate your understanding and cooperation in this matter.


Personal Health and Insurance Guidelines:


  • Attendees are required to take full responsibility for your own health during the retreat.
  • The temple does not accept responsibility for personal medicines, medical, or dental expenses.
  • Non-emergency visits to a doctor will not be feasible during the retreat; access to medical care will be limited to cases of serious emergency.
  • Individuals with pre-existing illnesses or physical injuries requiring ongoing medical treatment are advised not to apply for this retreat.


Transportation Costs Notice:


  1. Round-trip airfate from your home country to Seoul.
  2. Round-trip fare by ship between Busan and Japan if a visa renewal trip is required (approximately US $300).
  3. Transportation costs to and from the airport.
  4. The cost of overnight accommodation in a hotel or motel if necessary due to late flight arrival in Korea (approcimately US $40 upwards).
Kyol Che Retreat Fees (KRW)
Week Standard KUSZ members/5P/DTIT(90%) Dharma Teachers(85%)
1 300,000 270,000 255,000
2 600,000 540,000 510,000
3 900,000 810,000 765,000
4 1,000,000 900,000 850,000
5 1,300,000 1,170,000 1,105,000
6 1,600,000 1,440,000 1,360,000
7 1,900,000 1,710,000 1,615,000
8 2,000,000 1,800,000 1,700,000
9 2,200,000 1,980,000 1,870,000
10 2,400,000 2,160,000 2,040,000
11 2,600,000 2,340,000 2,210,000
12 2,800,000 2,520,000 2,380,000
13 2,800,000 2,520,000 2,380,000
Back to top of page