What is Kyol Che?
"Kyol Che” is an intensive Zen retreat, traditionally held for 90 days in summer and winter in monasteries and temples in Korea. The name means “tight dharma” or “coming together.” We continue this tradition by offering Kyol Che retreats twice a year in Asia, Europe, and North America, but with the modern innovation of allowing participation for shorter periods of time. Many students travel to participate in Kyol Che on a different continent in order to practice with new teachers and experience practice with our international community.
What is the Heart Kyol Che?
The Heart Kyol Che is an opportunity for students who cannot sit the traditional Kyol Che, or who can sit only part of it, to participate by doing extra practice at home and practicing together with others as they are able. This will run concurrently with the traditional Kyol Che. By doing this Heart Kyol Che together, we will strengthen our own practice, and provide support to our fellow students who are able to sit the traditional Kyol Che. We in turn can draw inspiration and energy from their commitment.
Why participate in Heart Kyol Che?
Deepen Your Commitment
Heart Kyol Che is an opportunity to deepen our practice. Our commitment to Heart Kyol Che is not just for ourselves, but helps us realize our vow to help all beings. It helps make our center strong and our direction clear. The energy of our practice manifests throughout our life, helping our family, our friends, our coworkers and all beings. As the Buddha said, "If one mind is clear then the whole universe is clear."
Develop a Daily Meditation Habit
Participating in Heart Kyol Che can help us develop a regular daily practice. Many of us find it difficult to form the habit of daily Zen practice on our own. Making a shared commitment with others can help provide the support to turn Zen practice into an integrated part of our daily routine.
Grow Dharma Friendships
Being part of the Heart Kyol Che group allows us to support others and be supported. Participating in Heart Kyol Che can help us connect more deeply with other practitioners, forming dharma friendships that help sustain our practice and the practice of sangha members.
Receive Guidance & Support
Our participation in Heart Kyol Che can allow us to develop a closer relationship with experienced Zen teachers. Their support can help us navigate tricky areas of practice and find inspiration to continue.
Please note that this is a paid online community program. If you're looking for the registration form for a free offline private Heart Kyol Che practice, you can find that here: Heart Kyol Che 2022 Offline Practice Form
Heart Kyol Che
Opening, middle and closing livestream dharma talks
- Group Coffee Hour sessions with program teachers
Multiple group practice livestreams
1:1 consultations with teachers
- Weekly teaching videos
- Daily teaching inspiration
Daily practice tracking
An easy-to-use, private online forum to connect with other practitioners, mentors, and teachers
- Discounts on KUOS online retreats
Heart Kyol Che Teachers:
Zen Master Soeng Hyang
Zen Master Soeng Hyang (Barbara Rhodes) is the School Zen Master of the Kwan Um School of Zen. She received dharma transmission from Zen Master Seung Sahn on October 10, 1992. She was one of Zen Master Seung Sahn's first American students and studied with him beginning in 1972. She was given inka in 1977. A registered nurse since 1969, she currently works in hospice care. She helped found Providence Zen Center, and lived there for seventeen years, serving in a number of administrative capacities. Zen Master Soeng Hyang has a daughter and lives with her partner, Mary, in California.
Nancy Brown Hedgpeth JDPSN
Nancy Brown Hedgpeth JDPSN has practiced with the KUSZ since 1979 and received inka in 1994. She has lived at and worked for a number of zen centers and has sat long retreats in the US and South Korea. She is Co-Guiding Teacher for the Providence Zen Center. She is a retired nurse. These days she lives in Waterville, Maine from which she does most of her group practice online.
Andrzej Stec JDPSN
Andrzej Stec, Ji Do Poep Sa Nim received a Masters of Architecture at the Gdansk Polytechnic University in his native Poland. He met the late Zen Master Seung Sahn at a dharma talk at his university and began practicing Zen in 1981. Thereafter, he became a Zen monk in Korea where he trained for thirteen years. He received inka (permission to teach) from Zen Master Seung Sahn in 1998 and has been teaching in Europe, Asia and the United States ever since. He also served as abbot of the Kwan Um School of Poland and at several Zen centers worldwide. He lives in Korea and is the guiding teacher of the Kwan Um Seoul Zen Group and the Kwan Um Daejeon Zen Group.
Arne Schaefer JDPSN
Arne Schaefer JDPSN began practicing in the Tibetan Kagyu Tradition — Diamond Way — in 1990. He started practicing Zen in the Kwan Um School of Zen in 1992 and since then has practiced with many teachers of the Kwan Um School of Zen in Europe, Korea and the USA. In April 2010, Arne Schaefer received Inka from Zen Master Wu Bong. He is guiding teacher of the Zen Centers in Dresdenand in Bad Bramstedt and of the Hamburg Zen Group. Together with his wife, Irmi Jeuther, he established Lotus Consult to integrate their shared Buddhist background with their work as coaches and consultants. In 2010 Arne also started mindsweets, a small enterprise creating and selling organic sweets for medita(s)ting.
Jason Quinn JDPSN
Jason Quinn JDPSN grew up in California and began practicing in 1997 with the Kwan Um School of Zen in Seattle. He resided at the Providence Zen Center for ten years where he held various staff positions, including Abbot. He trained as a monk for nine years, during which time he sat many long summer and winter Kyol Che retreats, and participated in retreats around the world. He now lives in Santa Clara, CA with his wife, son, and daughter. Jason received inka in 2015 and is a teacher and Vice Abbot at the Empty Gate Zen Center in Berkeley, CA and leads the Empty Gate Zen Center group in Santa Clara. He is also a teacher for Kwan Um School of Zen Online Sangha and travels leading retreats throughout the US. Jason is the author of the book, No-Nonsense Zen for Beginners.
Kathy Park Il Hwa JDPSN
Kathy Park JDPSN began practicing Zen in 1999 in Paris and has trained in a number of capacities at Zen centers including Cambridge Zen Center and Providence Zen Center in the U.S., Su Bong Zen Monastery in Hong Kong and at Musangsa in Korea, where she participated in several 90-day kyol che retreats. She received inka (permission to teach) from Zen master Dae Bong at Musangsa in Korea in 2016, and currently teaches at Musangsa, and Seoul and Daejeon Zen groups in Korea. Additionally, she is the coordinator for the International Initative for the Kwan Um School of Zen, bringing online Zen teaching and support to practitioners worldwide.
Why do this practice intensive?
Can I just practice on my own?
What am I actually committing to?
"What an experience! This program helped me to examine and expand my practice in so many ways. It helped me set practical additional practice challenges that gave me daily focal points to reflect on my formal practice. Having access to the platform that allowed me to try out different options to join live stream meditation groups, dharma talks and kong-an interviews was perfect for me as I don't have any Zen center near me. I was surprised how online sangha like this can create a sense of community and enjoyed being a part of such kind and loving sangha. This was very inspirational. The daily teachings that were bite sized yet filled with profound wisdom, the kong-an interviews... which I was afraid of ... they were all such a nourishing experience that is hard to describe with words. I'm very grateful for the together action!"
"It was a wonderful way to re-evaluate current practice and make changes to create best effort habits. Wonderful support from teachers and fellow online students. The daily teachings were just what I needed when I needed them!"
"It helped me to truly believe in myself. Having the group at my back like the wind carried me to the finish line. I can’t wait for the next one!"
"It was an amazingly rich and uplifting experience. It brought home the benefit of sangha that all the teachers have been talking about for so many years but I didn't truly get until now. Also the videos, dharma talks and teacher interviews were phenomenal, each had a message of hope, clarity and encouragement; each was 'the carrot' that helped me push through familiar, habitual obstacles and struggles I have encountered in my practice for years. I feel most grateful."
"As a newcomer to your community, I want to thank you all for your kindness and support. I often felt that all of us were doing this for the first time—as if we were all beginners—and I think that speaks to your generosity and modesty. This time has coincided with an emotional moment in my life, which feels like something inside me is being unlocked, and a part of my true self revealed. I hope that my new commitment to practice, with you, and the conversations it has triggered, have all helped to make this ‘unlocking’ happen. I’m already looking forward to tomorrow: it’s day one. Thanks and love to you all."
"What a refreshing experience this was! By bringing just a little more structure and variety to my practice, I feel entirely rejuvenated and committed to a much more dedicated practice."