|London Zen Centre||
Monday to Friday: 5:45—7:20
Sunday Midday: 11:00—12:50
Wednesday Evening: 19:00—21:00
Retreats & Programs
What is Zen.
Retreats. Type of retreats.
Types of Retreats
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.
Retreats are a special time to strengthen our practice, to break through our delusions and attain our true self.
These are the most common retreats offered in the Kwan Um School of Zen:
Yong Maeng Jong Jin (YMJJ): “To leap like a tiger while sitting.” Yong Maeng Jong Jin retreats are two, three or seven days long and are held in silence. The schedule each day consists of ten hours of Zen practice (bowing, chanting, sitting and walking), work and rest periods, and vegetarian meals eaten in traditional temple style. The retreat includes talks and kong-an teaching interviews with a Zen teacher. Prior meditation experience or attendance at a meditation instruction class is recommended.
One day retreats: An abbreviated version of Yong Maeng Jong Jin. Although the specific schedule varies among Zen centers, one schedule consist of sitting and walking meditation from 9:30 am to 3:30 pm followed by an informal meal.
Kido chanting retreats: Kidos consist primarily of chanting from 9:00am to 3:00pm with a break at noon for an informal lunch. We chant “Kwan Seum Bosal”, the Korean name for the bodhisattva of compassion, while sitting, standing and walking (similar to the special chanting that we do every evening at 6:30pm). Multi-day kidos follow the same schedule as a Yong Maeng Jong Jin, with chanting in place of sitting meditation. These retreats are suitable for beginners as well as experienced students.
Kyol Che intensive retreats: Kyol Che is a traditional Korean Zen retreat. The name means “tight dharma” or “coming together.” In Korea, it is the three-month 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 the winter and the summer, in Asia, Europe, and North America. These retreats usually run 90 days, although most Kyol Che retreats held within the Kwan Um School of Zen allow retreatants to enter for shorter periods of one week. 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.
Solo Retreat: 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.
The London Zen Centre Ja An Sa
Practice at London Zen Centre
The London Zen Centre is the home of the Kwan Um School of Zen in London and the head temple of the school in Great Britain. Members and visitors are welcome to attend any of the meditation practice sessions at the centre. Please contact the guiding teacher, Ja An JDPSN, in advance if you are attending practice or a retreat for the first time. Kong-an (Jap. koan) interviews take place most Sundays at the midday practice.
Our guiding teacher is Dharma Master Ja An, who lives at the London Zen Centre. She received inka, the seal of teaching authority in Zen, from Zen Master Wu Bong at the Warsaw Zen Centre on 19th September 2009.
Please always contact the guiding teacher before your visit to the London Zen Centre on 0207 502 6786 (evenings, till 21:00) or 07742 979 050 (daytime, mobile phone). International: +44 207 502 6786.
Email: Please contact her through email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org