Retreats

In addition to the weekly meditation periods and the monthly fusatsu services and teisho, the Great Plains Zen Center offers zazenkai, short one-day meditation retreats; and sesshin, multi-day retreats (usually either 3- or 7-day). These retreats take place at Myoshinji (Subtle Mind Temple) in Monroe, Wisconsin.

Click here for the retreat schedule for 2016

Zazenkai

Zazenkai start on Friday evening with a full day on Saturday and end Sunday morning by about 8:30 AM. The zazenkai starts at 8 PM on Friday to allow out-of-town participants ample time to get to Myoshinji. The zazenkai provides a wonderful and affordable opportunity to focus deeply on practice for a weekend in an atmosphere of silence and supportive group practice. The schedule consists of multiple zazen periods through out the day with 3 services (chanting) and 3 meals using oryoki bowls. Oryoki sets (traditional monastic bowls and utensils) are required, and may be purchased or rented. There is a talk by Myoyu Roshi or senior student in the morning and a work practice period in the afternoon. Time is set aside for personal instruction (dokusan) with our teacher, Myoyu Roshi. There is a suggested donation of $75 for the weekend, and partday attendance is fine. Please see the calendar of events for times and locations of upcoming zazenkai as well as links to our registration pages. Please note that overnight accommodations (Friday and Saturday nights) are included.

Sesshin

Sesshin, are 3, 5 or 7 day retreats designed to allow participants to focus deeply on their practice over an extended period. Like zazenkai, sesshin are silent retreats consisting of multiple meditation periods throughout each day with 3 services (chanting) and 3 meals using oryoki bowls. Oryoki sets (traditional monastic eating bowls and utensils) are required for meals and may be purchased or rented. Part-time attendance is acceptable. Students typically have multiple opportunities for personal instruction (dokusan) with our teacher, Myoyu Roshi. There are work practice periods and talks by Myoyu Roshi or a senior student most days. Fees for sesshin are $50 per day for members and $60 per day for non-members. For dates and locations of sesshin and related registration pages, please check our calendar.

Beginner’s Mind Sesshin

Beginner’s Mind Sesshin run Friday evening through Sunday morning. They are similar to the longer sesshin, but with a later wake-up time and slightly less rigorous schedule. Beginner’s Mind sesshin are ideal for those doing their first retreat and feature instructions and training in procedures and practice throughout the weekend. There is a suggested donation of $75 which includes meals and accommodations. Oryoki sets (traditional monastic eating bowls and utensils) are required for meals and may be purchased or rented. Beginner’s Mind Sesshin occur twice per year. For dates and locations of Beginner’s Mind Sesshin and related registration pages, please check our calendar.

 

Peaceful Way Sesshin

The devastating effects of the atomic bombs dropped on Hiroshima (August 6, 1941) and Nagasaki (August 9, 1941), along with the enormous suffering caused by war, genocide and all aggression throughout human history were the inspiration for this “Peaceful Way” sesshin. Along with the practices of zazen, service, oryoki and work, which comprise our typical sesshin, we will also draw on some practices from Buddhism and other traditions, including metta bhavana (lovingkindness meditation), compassion meditation, the four sublime states of the Bodhisattva (lovingkindness, compassion, sympathetic joy and equanimity), the Eightfold Path, and the way of Council. We will dedicate our practice during sesshin to the peace of the world and the well being of all beings throughout space and time. Our 2016 Peaceful Way Sesshin will be held July 31-August 7.

Bodhidharma Sesshin

The 2016 Bodhidharma Sesshin will begin on Thursday evening, Oct. 13 at 8:00 PM, and run through Sunday morning, the 16th. This sesshin honors our 28th Ancestor Teacher, Bodhidharma, a legendary figure who is considered to have transmitted Buddhism from India to China in the early sixth century. Bodhidharma emphasized zazen as the direct realization of the way, as opposed to discourse, discussion or ceremonial observances.

In the spirit of Bodhidharma’s teaching, this sesshin will feature no talks, no dokusan and no kyosaku. Participants will have the opportunity to go deeply into their zazen practice with single-minded determination and profound unknowing. There will be services and oryoki as usual, with the annual Bodhidharma Memorial Service on Saturday, October 15. Everyone is encouraged to take advantage of this unique opportunity. For more information, or to register, please check the calendar.

2017 Retreat Schedule

All retreats are held at Myoshinji Temple in Monroe, Wisconsin (except for the Street Retreat--see below)

  • January 5-8 Three-Day Sesshin
  • February 10-12 Nirvana Day Sesshin (2-Day)
  • March 17-19 Beginner's Mind Sesshin (2-Day)
  • April 20-23 Street Retreat in Chicago (3-Day led by Roshi Genro Gauntt)*
  • May 18-21 Three-Day Sesshin
  • June 8-11 Three-Day Sesshin
  • July 16-23 Seven-Day Sesshin
  • August 25-27 Peaceful Way Zazenkai (2-Day)
  • September 22-24 Beginner’s Mind Sesshin (2-Day)
  • October 19-22 Honoring the Way of Zazen (3-Day)
  • November 10-12 Zazenkai (2-Day)
  • December 5-10 Rohatsu Sesshin (5-Day)

* indicates date has changed from original announcement