One thing is all, all things are one;

Know this, and all's whole and complete.

- Sosan

Zendo, meditation room

Sesshin, a Zen Retreat For Intensive Meditative Practice

A sesshin is a period of intense traditional Zen training. A typical sesshin at the Clear Water Zen Center begins on a Thursday evening and continues until the following Sunday afternoon. Dokusan (private interview with the teacher) is typically offered several times per day.

A sesshin can be a challenge. There are roughly 8 hours of formal sitting per day, with breaks for a meal, a work period for cleaning the zendo and surrounding grounds, a formal exercise period, and several rest periods. All these activities are as valuable as sitting meditation; Zen practice teaches us how to be always mindful. We don’t “take a break” from our practice when we leave the zendo for the lunch table or for any other reason.

Noble silence is maintained throughout the sesshin.

Any participant would call sesshin a remarkable experience. Many have said a sesshin changed their lives. After their first sesshin, many people start attending as many sesshins as possible. Long-time students have developed more resonant voices, fluid movements, experienced increased responsiveness to people, animals and nature, and everything around them. They become more decisive, worry less, and laugh more. Sesshin is hard but worth it.

To find out more about upcoming sesshins and special events, don't hesitate to get in touch with us or sign up for our weekly email updates.

All scheduled sesshins can also be found on our Calendar and Updates pages.

Seven day sesshin

Although our zen center cannot accommodate practitioners overnight, and we do not host full seven-day sesshin, we hope to offer these opportunities in the future. 

In the meantime, the Windhorse Zen Community, our sister sangha, hosts four sesshins a year. 

Roshi Lawson Sachter is co-founder of Windhorse Zen Community and the Dharma teacher of Clear Water Zen Center's priest, Jeff George

Therefore, participating in sesshins there presents an extraordinary opportunity for deepening one's practice in the same zen lineage.