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Zen Meditation Retreat January 7-11, 2019


Start the new year in silent meditation.

The retreat will be guided by Zen Master Hyon Gak Sunim who will introduce Zen meditation to the participants, guide them through sitting, chanting and walking meditation and eventually lead them into silence. The retreat is designed in a way to provide an experience as close to the authentic temple experience as possible, yet gentle enough for beginners so that they will be encouraged to go on into longer silent meditations on their own. 

Once the retreat starts, we ask the participants not to read books or use their phones. Be in the moment and experience being together in silence. This is an opportunity to turn off the noise in the mind and be immersed in a direct experience. Vegetarian meals will be served throughout the retreat. After the meditation, there will be time to ask questions and share reflections. 

Participants are asked to arrive and leave with everyone else in order not to disturb the flow of the retreat and the meditation of others.



January 7             Introduction

17:30                    Introduction to Zen Meditation

18:00                    Q & A

18:30                    Move to Dinner Venue

19:00                    Welcome Dinner

January 8 - 10      Silent Meditation

04:30                    Wake up

04:50                    108 Bows

05:30                    Zen Chanting & Sitting

07:00                    Breakfast

07:30                    Break

10:00                    Sitting Zen

12:00                    Lunch

13:00                    Break

14:30                    Sitting Zen

16:30                    Break

17:30                    Dinner

18:30                    Break

19:30                    Zen Chanting & Sitting

21:00                    End of Day

March 2                Breaking Silence

04:30                    Wake up

04:50                    108 Bows

05:30                    Zen Chanting & Sitting

07:00                    Breakfast

07:30                    Break

10:00                    Sitting Zen, Reflections, Q&A

12:00                    Lunch

14:00                    End of Retreat

About Hyon Gak Sunim

Hyon Gak Sunim (“Sunim”) was born Paul J. Muenzen in 1964 to a family of devout Roman Catholics in New Jersey, U.S.A.  Educated in literature and literary theory at Yale University (BA, 1987) and comparative religions at Harvard Divinity School (Master of Theological Studies, ’92), Sunim was ordained in 1992 in China. He was the first Westerner to be ordained in the People’s Republic of China since the Communist Revolution. He has been doing Zen training in various remote mountain places, including three intensive 100-day solo meditation retreats and some forty three-month intensive meditation retreats (ango) in the ancient Zen temples of South Korea. 

Sunim received formal public certification of his enlightenment and authorization to teach (inka) from Zen Master Seung Sahn, at a public ceremony in Hwa Gye Sah Temple, Seoul, Korea, in August 2001. He was later appointed by Zen Master Seung Sahn to be the Guiding Teacher of the Seoul International Zen Center at Hwa Gye Sah—his Teacher's 500 year-old home temple in Korea. He served as the Zen Master's personal secretary from 2003 until his death in 2004.

At his Teacher’s direction, Sunim has compiled and edited several of Zen Master Seung Sahn's books, including The Whole World is a Single FlowerThe Compass of ZenOnly Don't Know, and Wanting Enlightenment is a Big MistakeHe also translated into English the 500 year-old classic of Zen Master So Sahn, The Mirror of Zen

Hyon Gak Sunim is the author of the Korean-language bestseller, From Harvard to Hwa Gye Sah Temple, an autobiography which became a number-one bestseller in Korea. The book is widely credited with leading a revival in interest in Korean Buddhism, especially among the young generation in Korea, where Buddhism had been perceived to be in decline.  Sunim is also the editor or translator of several best-selling translations into Korean of Zen Master Seung Sahn's English-language books.

The former Buddhist co-Chaplain at Harvard University (1996-97), Sunim has given public talks at Harvard, Yale, Stanford, UC-Berkeley, Oxford, Columbia, New York University, Brown, SUNY, Université de Paris, University of London, and University of Oslo, as well as divinity schools, and temples throughout Korea, Hong Kong, Singapore, and Japan. He has also taught meditation at Facebook HQ in Silicon Valley.

Sunim has founded the temple-community Zen Center Regensburg e.V in the Bavarian UNESCO-listed city of Regensburg, Germany, where he leads the traditional 90-day intensive Winter Kyol Che, as well as monthly 3-day intensive retreats. He sits on the Advisory Board for OCCURSO, the Institute for Interreligious and Intercultural Dialogue, based at the Ludwig-Maximilian University in Munich, supported by the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Munich. 

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