Gak Su Retreat

Formal practice at Gak Su consists of sitting and walking meditation, bowing, chanting and kong-an interviews. These forms are used as techniques to perceive our before-thinking mind, our don’t know mind. With practice, we are able to use our Zen training to attain wisdom and compassion, bring it back to our everyday life situations and, moment to moment, attain correct situation, correct relationship and correct function.

Zen Master Dae Kwan and Myong Hae Sunim JDPS will be the guiding teachers for the retreat. From time to time other Kwan Um School of Zen teachers might join the retreat.

1. Basic Requirements

  • Our retreat is open to all who have some meditation experience at any Zen center of the Kwan Um School of Zen. Local students in Hong Kong must have sat a one-day retreat at Su Bong Zen Monastery.
  • All participants are required to stay for the full period that they applied for, unless there an exceptional reasons for leaving.

2. Entering and Exiting the Retreat

  • Participants (both monastics and lay students) must join the retreat for at least one week.
  • You may join the retreat any Saturday at 2:00pm and leave the retreat any Saturday at 5:00pm.
  • If you are coming from abroad, you may arrive at Gak Su up to one day earlier to adjust to the local situation.
  • International students who arrive early at Gak Su do not join the formal practice at the retreat until the scheduled retreat entry date. You’ll have time to rest and adjust to the time difference.
  • Please let us know your arrival date and time as soon as possible, so that we can prepare for your arrival.

3. Personal Health and Insurance

  • You are expected to take responsibility for your own health.
  • It is not possible to visit the doctor during the retreat except in cases of serious emergency.
  • You should not sign up for this retreat if you have any existing illness or physical injury that requires ongoing medical treatment.

4. How to Apply

Please complete and return the application form with a recent photography at least one week prior your entry date. All applications need to be approved by the guiding teachers of Su Bong Zen Monastery.

Download application form

5. No Outside Contact

  • Participants should stay in the temple area during the retreat.
  • Participants should not use phones, tablets, or laptops to make calls or send emails and messages. No outside contact is allowed.
  • In cases of emergency, participants can ask the guiding teachers’ permission to make a phone call or send a message.

6. Food

Put down the preference of and the attachment to the food.  During the retreat, participants should follow the group and accept the simple vegetarian food arranged by the temple with gratitude.

7. Personal Items

  • Bowing robes and KUSZ small kasa (if you have one)
  • Plain T-shirts with sleeves, long pants, and socks – all in grey or white
  • Tracking shoes
  • Towels, toiletries, torch/flashlight, personal prescription medicine and vitamins
  • Please pack enough clothing for one week because participants are allowed to do laundry only once a week.

(A) Winter Retreat

During the winter, temperature on Lantau Island, where Gak Su is located, can dip as low as 10℃ (50℉), and the temperature is usually a few degrees lower than the city area. Please pack enough warm clothes, scarves, gloves, thick socks, etc.

(B) Summer Retreat

Summer in Hong Kong is hot and humid, with temperature hitting 32℃ (90℉) or higher, so you may need to change your shirt more than once per day.

You can find more information about the weather forecast on this website: