Sesshin at Great Tree:  Cultivating the Lotus

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2020 Sesshin Dates:

Due to covid-19 restrictions the sesshin schedule may change.  Online options for sesshins and other events will be available.

April 3-5: Online Only October 2-7
May 1-6 Jukai (those taking the precepts are required to attend this sesshin)November 6-11
June 5-10December 4-9 Rohatsu/Buddha's Enlightenment
July 3-5December 28-31 New Year's Sesshin

Cultivating the flower of wisdom and compassion requires us to reach deep into muddy waters.  In order to see clearly to the root of all things we must also access the stillness that will allow the mud to settle and the those waters to clear.

A sesshin (Japanese for “collecting the heart-mind”) is an intensive meditation retreat.  A sesshin typically lasts from two to seven days. During sesshin,  most of the time is devoted to meditation, and distraction is reduced.   Participants are asked keep silence , as much as possible, throughout the sesshin and to maintain a meditative focus throughout.  We follow a semi-monastic schedule during sesshin based on Soto traditions dating back to the time of Dogen Zenji, the founder of this school of Zen.  

SCHEDULE FOR SESSHIN                      



The schedule includes:

  • Zazen (sitting meditation)
  • Kinhin (walking meditation)
  • Mindful work in the kitchen, building or grounds
  • Participants are asked to share kitchen duties, cooking or clean-up
  • Dokusan (private interview with the teacher).

Please arrive by 4pm. We ask that everyone begin together.  The schedule begins at 5pm with orientation and instruction, followed by a light meal and tea at around 6pm.   Subsequent days begin at 6am and end at 9:30pm.   The sesshin ends at noon  on the last day.  If you plan to arrive early or extend your stay beyond  the scheduled event,  contact us  to confirm that space available.  Those who are unable to attend the full retreat must speak with the abbess before registering.

Practice events at Great Tree are by donation. If you are unable to pay the full suggested fee please contact us at to make payment arrangements or request a scholarship.  No one will be turned away from a Great Tree practice event due to lack of funds. 

Great Tree’s ability to continue to offer these programs and keep them available to everyone depends upon the generosity of our community.  Please consider donating to our scholarship fund if you are able.  Thank you.

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