Zen Meditation Retreat February 27 - March 2, 2020

We are gathering again in Tenerife for our annual meditation retreat.


Zen Master Hyon Gak Sunim will return to guide the meditation retreat. As in 2019, three days out of the five-day retreat will be conducted in silence. We will try to provide an experience as close to the authentic temple experience as possible yet gentle enough for beginners. 

Once the retreat starts, we ask the participants not to use their mobile phones, read books, keep a journal or email. Be in the moment and experience being together in silence. This is an opportunity to turn off the noise in your mind and be immersed in a direct experience. If your mind is quiet, the energy you bring to the room will also help others in their meditation.


Vegetarian meals will be served throughout the retreat. Before and after the retreat, we will reserve enough time to ask questions and share reflections. Once the retreat is over, we recommend that you do not plunge back into the noise of life right away but to ease out of the silence slowly. 

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.

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 3 intensive 100-day solo meditation retreats and some 40 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 Flower, The Compass of Zen, Only Don't Know, and Wanting Enlightenment is a Big Mistake.

He 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, among many others, in addition to colleges, divinity schools, and countless temples throughout Korea, and other temples in Hong Kong, Singapore, and Japan. He was invited by senior management to teach meditation at Facebook HQ in Silicon Valley.

Sunim has founded a small 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.