Besides everyday practice, there are many opportunities when we can take our time and leave our homes, habits, situations and relationships and simply sit down, look inside and investigate our life closely. Especially when we have some big question in our life, we need to make a decision, or find out what is our life’s direction and purpose.
A retreat is such an opportunity to clear our mind of habitual thinking and access our wisdom, intuition and compassion; and thus let the answers to our questions naturally appear.
Yong Maeng Jong Jin
Yong Maeng Jong Jin means “to sit like a tiger prepared to jump”, a Korean term traditionally used to describe intensive Zen meditation. It points to the state of clarity and wisdom we experience during longer retreat, that is both relaxed and wide like space, clear and meticulous at the same time, so that we can use our experience to help ourselves and this world, moment to moment.
Yong Maeng Jong Jin can take from 1 day to several weeks. Usually during shorter retreat, the kong-an interviews take place each day.
Kyol Che is a 90-day intensive meditation retreat. The minimum participation is 1 week, maximum 90 days. The schedule is the same for all weeks, except for the intensive week, when there is additional night practice. During the whole time participants stay in the retreat place, have no contact with outside world, keep silence and follow the practice schedule. There are kong-an interviews usually twice a week and a Dharma Talk once a week. All this creates a perfect opportunity to pay full attention to practice.
Kyol Che usually takes place in Winter and Summer. In Europe, Winter Kyol Che takes place at Won Kwang Sa Temple, Hungary. Summer Kyol Che takes place in Warsaw Zen Center, Poland.
While during the usual retreat we practice together with the Sangha, solo retreat is based on intensive individual practice. It can take from several days up to 100 days. The schedule is quite intense, with sections of bowing, chanting and sitting repeating through the day.
Someone who does a solo-retreat can stay either near a temple and receive food from the temple besides his/her basic needs taken care of, or stays completely on his/her own and does his own cooking and laundry.
No contact with outside world is possible for the entire time of the solo retreat.
This type of a retreat is only recommended after some time of together practice and always after consulting an experienced Zen teacher.