Yong Maeng Jong Jin Orientation Guide

What to Bring

Information for Yong Maeng Jong Jin Retreatants

If you need a special kneeling bench, special cushions, or a special chair, please bring your own. We supply toilet paper and soap, but you must bring all other toiletry and personal care articles.

Also please bring:

  • a towel and a small flashlight
  • if you snore, it’s possible that you’ll be staying in a separate building and will need to wake yourselfup, so bring an alarm clock (and please always let us know in advance if you snore)
  • your bowing robe if you have one, and if you are a dharma teacher your long robes and bowls
  • seasonally appropriate clothing
  • loose clothing that is comfortable for sitting (preferably long pants)
  • outdoor clothes, including rain gear, for both walking meditation and work
  • for winter, please also bring a coat, hat, gloves, insulated waterproof boots,long underwear (tops and bottoms) and extra socks

    Please do not bring:

  • cameras, tape recorders, MP3 players, CD players. cellular phones, PDAs, laptops, or diaries
  • personal food or beverages; hot pots, thermoses, etc.
  • jewelry, perfumes, or any personal care products which are strongly scentedTransportation


• Most sleeping space is in the Guest Suite (the blue rug area on the second floor). Semi-private rooms are limited to people with special needs, and are arranged through the office before you arrive. If you have special needs and have not made arrangements through the office, please see the head dharma teacher.

Practice Information


Everyone participates fully in the schedule. If you are ill or have another emergency that makes you miss any part of the practice schedule, please leave a note in the mailbox marked “Head Dharma Teacher” in the robe room. The head dharma teacher is in charge of the dharma room and formal practice. Interviews are given during chanting and sitting periods as determined by the retreat leader. The dharma room is open during breaks for those wishing to do extra practice.


4:30 a.m. Wake-up bell

4:45 a.m. Bow to teacher

4:45 – 5:00 a.m. 108 prostrations

5:15 – 6:00 a.m. Chanting

6:00 – 7:30 a.m. Sitting

7:30 a.m. Breakfast

8:15 – 9:15 a.m. Work period

10:00 a.m. – Noon Sitting

12:00 p.m. Lunch

1:30 – 4:00 p.m. Sitting and a Walk

5:00 p.m. Dinner

6:30 – 6:55 p.m. Special Chanting

7:00 – 7:30 p.m. Chanting

7:30 – 8:05 p.m. Sitting

8:10 – 9:50 p.m. Body Movement

9:00 – 9:30 p.m. Sitting

9:30 – 9:40 p.m. Chanting

Sleep  (or optional extra practice)


• During Yong Maeng Jong Jin we keep silence in all areas of the house. If you need to communicate with the head dharma teacher about formal practice or work, write a note; note paper and pencils are on tables around the house.

The dharma room

Everyone helps maintain an atmosphere of quiet in the dharma room. Please don’t move during sitting periods. If you are sleepy or in a great deal of pain, you may do a sitting bow and then stand quietly behind your cushion, with your hands in hapchang. (Before you get up to stand, please make sure your legs are not asleep.) Before sitting back down again, do a standing bow, then settle quietly.
During chanting, please hold the chanting book in the hapchang position.

Entering and leaving

  • When entering or leaving the dharma room, stop just inside the door, face the Buddha, and bow. During sitting periods, please enter or leave the dharma room only during walking meditation, except for an emergency. If you are late, sit on a cushion outside the dharma room until the chugpi is hit, then enter during walking meditation. You may enter the dharma room during bows and between chants.
  • During walking meditation, you may leave to use the bathroom; walk in line until you come to the door, then bow and leave. When you re-enter, either return to your place in line, or wait until everyone is standing in back of their seats and enter quickly.



  • Everyone participating in the retreat usually has at least one interview per day with the retreat leader. The teacher helps participants with their individual practice and questions.
  • When it is your turn for an interview, bow, get up, and leave immediately, bowing again at the dharma room door. Go to the interview room, open the door, and do a standing bow facing the teacher. Close the door, then stand behind the cushion and do a standing bow, a prostration, and a standing bow. Then sit. Follow this form in reverse when leaving. Do not turn your back to the teacher while leaving.
  • When your interview is over, re-enter the dharma room immediately so that the next person will know to go. (In this case, it is not necessary to wait until the end of a sitting or chant to re-enter the room.)Head dharma teacher
  • If you have questions or problems at times when interviews are not scheduled, please speak to the head dharma teacher who will help you (or possibly set up a meeting with the teacher leading the retreat.)
  • The head dharma teacher will walk with the stick during sitting periods, to help everyone stay awake and alert, and also to relieve muscle tension. Someone who is sleeping (or nodding) may be tapped lightly on the shoulder with the stick, then hit with a slapping sound on the back twice on each side (not near the spine). You may also ask to be hit by holding your hands in hapchang. The procedure for this will be demonstrated at orientation. The person carrying the stick also corrects posture and mudra (hand) position. The retreat leader will walk with the stick at the end of each day and at the end of the retreat. Everyone will receive a hit at these times.Reading
  • There is no reading during Yong Maeng Jong Jin, except Zen Master Seung Sahn’s books. Copies will be available in the lounges. Please do not keep journals or diaries.Meals
  • Attend all meals, even if you are fasting. The meals are part of the formal practice and are eaten silently in traditional temple style, with four bowls. The silence of the meal includes handling the bowls and utensils quietly. You will be assigned a set of eating bowls. A meal bell is rung signalling the beginning of each meal; when you hear the bell, please go to the dining room.
  • You will be assigned cooking and clean-up jobs during the retreat; everyone helps with food preparation and clean-up. If you are uncertain about what your kitchen jobs are, check the assignment sheet posted on the wall beside the dining room.Dharma talk

• A dharma talk may be held at about the mid-point of retreats of three days or longer. A student will talk for ten to twenty minutes, then the teacher will answer questions. Sitting resumes after a short break.


House Information

Please do not wear fragrances during Yong Maeng Jong Jin.


• After the wake-up bell is rung, please use the bathrooms quickly and wait until after bows to brush your teeth, shave, etc. When a bathroom door is closed, please knock before entering. If someone knocks while you are in the bathroom, knock back to let them know that it is occupied.

Work period

• You will be given a work period assignment each day. The beginning and end of work period is signalled by a work bell. Work period is part of formal practice… please do the job thoroughly and meticulously. If you finish your assignment before the hour is through, please see the housemaster or workmaster for a new job so that the full hour is used. Please ask the workmaster any questions about your work period job.

End of retreat

• Retreats end on the last day with a circle talk at 3:00 p.m., followed by refreshments. Plan on leaving around 4:30 p.m.

Have a good retreat!