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 2024 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
- Tri-weekly teaching videos
- Daily teaching inspiration
Daily practice tracking
An easy-to-use, private online forum to connect with other practitioners, mentors, and teachers
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.
Zen Master Ji Kwang (Roland Wöhrle-Chon) was born in Germany and studied Philosophy and Psychology in Bonn, Berlin and Madurai, India, where he had his first contact with yoga and meditation. He has a Ph.D. in Psychology and works as a social scientist for the German Government. He is married and has two children. Together with his wife, Zen Master Gu Ja, he established the Zen Center in Berlin and the Kwan Um School of Zen of Germany in 1990. He received Inka in February 2000 and Dharma Transmission in April 2012 from Zen Master Wu Bong. Zen Master Ji Kwang is currently the Head Teacher of the Kwan Um School of Zen in Europe.
Zen Master Bon Hae
Judy Roitman began practicing Zen with Zen Master Seung Sahn in 1976. One of the founders of the Kansas Zen Center in 1978, she received inka (full authorization to teach) from Zen Master Seung Sahn in 1998 and transmission from Zen Master Dae Kwang in April 2013. She is currently the guiding teacher of the Kansas Zen Center.
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 JDPSN began practicing Zen in 1981 in his native Poland. 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 lives in Korea and is the guiding teacher of the Kwan Um Seoul Zen Group and the Kwan Um Daejeon Zen Group.
Igor Piniński JDPSN
Igor Piniński JDPSN graduated in acting from a prestigious Łódź film school. Right now he is working in his own film studio in Łódź, focusing on educational films. He lives with his wife in the countryside near Łódź. He started practicing in Łódź Zen Center in 1995 and has participated in over 120 YMJJs in Łódź, and also every year in the Kyol Che at Wu Bong Sah. On March 9, 2013, Igor Piniński received Inka from Zen Master Bon Shim in Wu Bong Sah Temple in Poland.
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.
Myong An Sunim JDPS
Myong An Sunim is a second generation Chinese Malaysian, and received his education in the UK. He worked in finance before he met Zen Master Seung Sahn in 1992, and ordained as a monk in 1997 in Korea. He returned to Malaysia in 2013 to found Zen Space Penang and received inka in 2015. Sunim’s interests include blending the spiritual wisdom of the ancients with present day science to arrive at a practical contemporary approach to Zen practice.
Kathy Park JDPSN
Kathy Park JDPSN began practicing Zen in 1999 in Paris and has trained in a number of capacities at Zen centers around the world, where she participated in several 90-day kyol che retreats. She received inka in 2016, and is the co-guiding teacher for Zenseoul and Daejeon Zen groups in Korea. She is also a co-guiding teacher and coordinator of Kwan Um Zen Online, bringing online Zen teaching and support to practitioners worldwide.
Lizzie Coombs JDPSN
Lizzie Coombs JDPSN started practicing with the Kwan Um School of Zen in 1987 in the U.S.A. She trained with Zen Master Soeng Hyang and Zen Master Dae Kwang Sunim, mostly at Providence Zen Center. In 2010 she moved back to the United Kingdom, her country of origin, and lives in York. She has sat long retreats in the U.K., Poland, Hungary and the U.S.A. In 2018 she received inka, permission to teach, from Zen Master Soeng Hyang. She is Guiding Teacher of York Zen and a Buddhist prison chaplain.
Tim Colohan JDPSN
Tim Colohan JDPSN practices at Dharma Zen Center in Los Angeles, CA. He started training with Zen Master Seung Sahn at Dharma Zen Center in 1985 and sat a number of long retreats. In April of 2022 he received inka from Zen Master Soeng Hyang at the Providence Zen Center. He is involved with various multifaith groups in the greater Los Angeles area. Tim currently lives in Los Angeles with his husband Bernie, enjoying his kids, their grandchildren and retirement.
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!"—Yumi H
"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!"—Liz
"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!"—Mike
"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."—Ruth
"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."—Jonathan H.
"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."—Joe