Sesshins are extended periods of intensive, silent zazen for experienced meditators. They are held in seclusion, follow a rigorous schedule, and last from three to seven days. Roshi Graef conducts sesshins in Vermont and Costa Rica.


Retreats are loosely-structured periods for silent meditation lasting two to three days. They are held once a year in Vermont and once a year in Costa Rica. Personal retreats can take place any time there is availablility in the Zen Center's schedule.

Retreats are open to anyone who has received prior instruction in meditation. The schedule is open and flexible with only a 90-minute work period required each day.

Types of Sesshins & Retreats

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Each type of sesshin has a different schedule. Retreats are very fluid; seven-day sesshins are tightly scheduled from 4 a.m. until 9:30 p.m.; work sesshins have less zazen and longer work periods than regular sesshins; jataka sesshins have weekdays open. 7-Day Sesshin Schedule | Jataka Sesshin Schedule | Retreat Schedule | Work Sesshin Schedule

Sortcuts to Having a Strong Sesshin,
by Sunyana Graef, Roshi

Going to sesshin is a bit like preparing oneself prior to taking a journey to a distant land. You need appropriate clothes, you need to know a few survival phrases, and you need to have passing familiarity with the culture. In the same way, when you come to sesshin, you need to dress correctly, you need to know a few terms, and you need to know what is expected of you. Read More . . .

The Jataka Tales Come to Vermont,
by Josh Kelman

This was not your ordinary sesshin. The schedule had three full time days and four more going to work each day. And in place of teisho, Rafe Martin told Jataka stories complete with background, commentary and discussion. The Jataka tales, stories of the Buddha’s past lives, opened up before us and we entered them. Read More . . .

Sesshins or retreats are held throughout the year in Vermont and Costa Rica.

April 18-257-day sesshin in Vermont
June 27-July 47-day sesshin in Costa Rica
October 23-285-day Jataka sesshin in Vermont
December 5-127-day Rohatsu sesshin in Vermont