Winter Kyol Che, 1999-2000
A photo from the sixth (and last) 90-day intensive Kyol Che ("ango") that Sunim attended at poor Shin Won Sah Temple, located in the Gye Ryeong Sahn mountains of Korea. (Sunim is second from right.)
This is also the temple where Sunim first attended ango, while still a graduate student at Harvard Divinity School, in 1990-91. He became a full monk the following year.
After this 1999-2000 retreat, Sunim was admitted to do the 90-day ango in the more traditional temples on Korea. In some of those cases, he was the first Westerner admitted into the monks' assembly, and his strong moment-to-moment practice there opened the door for other Westerners to be considered for admittance in later years.
In 2010, Sunim made himself formally independent of the teaching structure of the Kwan Um School of Zen, where he was raised. He began to assert independence from Chogye Order Buddhism in the summer of 2016, and more emphatically in November 2020.