In-Person and Hybrid

Sesshins in 2024

Sesshins are extended periods of intensive, silent zazen.

They are held in seclusion, follow a rigorous schedule, and last from three to seven days. Sesshins afford meditators the opportunity and challenge of total immersion in practice. Roshi Graef conducts sesshin in Vermont and Costa Rica.

Because of the demanding and intense nature of sesshin, only people who have been sitting regularly should apply. Attendance at a Workshop and at least one all-day sitting or a short sesshin (two to three days) are prerequisites for attendance at seven-day sesshins.

The sesshin day begins at 4:00 a.m. and ends at 9:30 p.m. There are ten hours of formal zazen each day; informal zazen is encouraged during breaks and rest periods. Other elements of sesshin are walking meditation, chanting, prostrations, work, exercise, and vegetarian meals. Dokusan (private instruction with Roshi Graef) is offered three times a day, and there are daily teisho (Zen talks by the Roshi or guest teacher).

Important Information for Zoom Participants

Before applying to sesshin, if you are attending via Zoom and do not live alone, it is imperative that you consult with members of your household about your sesshin expectations. Don't wait until the last minute to do so. The success of your virtual sesshin depends upon good communication with those with whom you share living space. In almost all cases, if you live within a nine-hour driving distance of the Zen Center, Zoom is no longer an option for sesshin attendance.

March 2-day Retreat Information

General Sesshin Information

Shortcuts 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 . . .

  • March 15-17—2-day retreat
  • April 20-27—7-day sesshin
  • July 27-August 3—7-day sesshin
  • October 11-16—5-day Jataka sesshin
  • December 7-14—7-day Rohatsu sesshin