Mirror of Zen Blog

The Final Winter Retreat in Korea (2015/16)

The Winter Kyol Che 2015/’16 was my last long retreat at a Korean temple. This is not meant to establish some finality or promise. But I did notice, several times during the retreat, the realization inside, “There is nothing more to be learned from these retreats in such tradition-bound settings as this.” It really became clearest of all that I need not travel to Asia anymore in order to get the full experience of doing seriously strong practice together with a group. When this retreat started, I had already signed a rental contract for the space on Weißbräuhausgasse 2 that would become our Zen Center Regensburg. By mid-March, we were hosting the Opening Ceremony, with guests arriving from the US, Korea, various parts of Europe, and several cities in Germany.

One day, near the end of the retreat, some guests came. During the daily procession of the entire temple community out of the Main Buddha Hall after the midday Rice-Offering Ceremony, going in for the formal lunch, one of the visitors filmed this video for our family back home in Regensburg. They mailed it to me later, and I was happy to have this last glimpse of the life we lived there for the 6 or 7 Kyol Che’s I was fortunate enough to participate in.

One day, when there is more free time, I will write about some of the experiences there. There were many profound breakthroughs, there was much suffering and bliss, there was great experimentation with Zen and Ashtanga which literally transformed my life. Until then, it will just be episodes from here and there in the experience (spanning some 10 years) practicing in one of Korea’s most ancient and respected temples.


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