A Zen Buddhist Community in Shelburne, Vermont

How to Become a Member

Members of the Vermont Zen Center, Toronto Zen Centre, and the Casa Zen in Costa Rica comprise our Buddhist community, or Sangha. Membership in all our Centers is open to everyone regardless of age, race, national origin, creed, sex, or sexual orientation.

The Vermont Zen Center is a non-profit, religious, tax-exempt corporation maintained solely by contributions of members and friends. Membership not only gives people a place to begin Buddhist practice, but it also supports the practice of everyone else at the Center.

Sometimes people think their practice isn’t deep or committed or regular enough to become a member. But that’s rarely the case. After all, everyone has to start someplace. Whatever your level of involvement or commitment happens to be, that’s where you begin to walk the path.

Anyone may become a member of the Center through following these steps:

  • Attending an Introductory Workshop conducted by Roshi Graef or her Dharma Heir, Sensei Taigen Henderson;
  • Completing a trial membership period;
  • Requesting membership and submitting a membership application.

Trial Membership

Trial Membership gives people a chance to “try out” the Center. To become a Trial Member, fill out a Trial Membership Application and return it to the Center. Trial members may attend all regular functions of the Center.

Full Membership

Members may attend all Center events and become a student of Roshi Graef. Members are given preference for sesshins and receive discounts on retreats, books, incense, etc. Members support the Center by making a financial pledge, which is an expression of gratitude for the gift of the Buddha’s teachings. The suggested minimum donation is $45 per month. Download a Membership Application and Pledge Form. Or use the fillable PDF and submit on-line: Fillable Membership Application/Pledge Form.

Friends of the Center

This category is for those who do not wish to formally become a member of the Center, but would like to support the Center’s work and have occasional contact with the Sangha. Friends receive all mailings and may attend Sangha events after checking with the Center. Friends of the Center are asked to make a small yearly contribution to the Center. Download a Friend of the Center Application.

Finding Your Seat

Finding Your Seat is a program designed especially for new members and trial members of the Center. It meets at 7 p.m. on the first Monday of the month in the living room of the Zen Center (virtually during the pandemic). If you have become a trial member, you will automatically receive email notices of upcoming sessions. More information here.