Retreats at Furnace Mountain

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Retreats at Furnace Mountain provide participants with an opportunity to pursue spiritual inquiry in an environment of silence, stillness and collective effort.

Retreats are led by Zen Master Dae Gak. (Introduction to Zen retreats and Beginner Only days are led by the resident Zen teachers.) Each day is structured around periods of sitting meditation alternating with walking meditation.  There are regular breaks (for rest, yoga, trail walking etc).  We chant twice daily, and there is a work period each morning where we attend to necessary tasks around the Center. 

There is a daily dharma talk by Zen Master Dae Gak, who also offers individual interviews with retreatants.  Interviews are a time to consult about one’s particular practice, ask questions about zen meditation and take up koan inquiry.

Retreats are held monthly, and vary in length from 2 to 30 days.  Retreats are open to participants of all levels of experience, but several times a year we offer introductory retreats/days specifically for new people or those with no previous retreat experience.

For more details, including fees, a typical daily schedule, how to register, and what to bring, see our Information for Retreatants.

For retreat dates for the coming year, please see our Retreat Schedule.



We welcome practitioners who would like to undertake individual retreats at Furnace Mountain. 

Those interested are welcome to visit and stay at Furnace Mountain outside of retreat times, by prior arrangement, and participate in the daily practice and work life of the community. 

For those who wish to undertake a solitary retreat, the Hermitage provides complete seclusion.  It is situated in an isolated part of the property, perched on a large rock high above a steep-sided valley.  The accommodation is basic: one-room, with no running water or electricity, but with a wood-burning stove for winter heat.   Retreatants can spend their entire retreat in the Hermitage, or may choose to join the community for morning and evening practice in the Meditation Hall.

If you are interested in visiting Furnace Mountain or would like to discuss a solo retreat, please contact us for further details.



Furnace Mountain occupies 800 wooded acres in the foothills of the Appalachians.  There are a number of buildings on the property:
The Tea-House (providing the administrative center and some accommodation), a number of cabins providing accommodation, and a Meditation Hall modeled after the traditional Korean post-and-beam style.  All formal practice during retreats takes place in the Meditation Hall.  The buildings are linked by trails rather than paved roads.

Please contact us for directions.  If you are arriving by public transportation, please contact us ahead of time to arrange shuttle to the Mountain (Lexington Blue Grass airport is approximately one hour’s drive from Furnace Mountain).  There is a fee for this service.

Retreats at Furnace Mountain are residential – accommodation is provided in simple but comfortable single-sex shared rooms (1-3 persons per room).  Bedding is supplied.  Vegetarian meals are provided and included in the cost of the retreat.

Please bring:           
A towel, personal toiletries and any medicines, an alarm clock, a flashlight, comfortable clothing, a waterproof jacket and outdoor shoes or boots – the trails and paths around the property can be muddy in wet weather.  Sitting cushions and mats, as well as chairs, are provided in the temple, but please bring your own cushion or bench if you have particular needs.  Please wear dark colored clothing (black, brown or grey) in the temple and dress modestly – no shorts or tank tops.

During retreats, we follow a daily schedule of chanting, sitting and walking meditation.  Each day there is a morning Dharma Talk by Zen Master Dae Gak, who also offers individual interviews with students daily as time permits.


Daily Schedule:

5:30 Wake Up
6:00 - 8:00 Chanting, Sitting and Free Walking
8:00 Breakfast
8:30 - 9:30 Work Period
10:00 - 12:30 Sitting, Dharma Talk and Free Walking
12:30 - 1:00 Lunch
1:00 - 2:30 Lunch Clean-Up and Free Time
2:30 - 4:30 Sitting and Interviews
4:30 - 6:00 Personal Practice Time (Yoga, Walk...)
6:00 - 7:00 Dinner (optional light meal)
7:00 - 9:00 Chanting, Sitting and Free Walking
9:30 Retire
To register:           
Please request a registration form.  Your completed registration form, plus retreat fee, should be returned to Furnace Mountain by the due date stated on the form.  Cancellations made within 7 days of the retreat cannot be refunded.  
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