Sesshin at Great Tree:  Cultivating the Lotus

Most sesshins begin the first Friday of each month and last from 2 to 5 days (see our events callendar).  They will be held online until further notice due to the covid19 restrictions.

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.

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.

About Us

The primary purpose of Great Tree Temple is to provide opportunities to enter more deeply into the practice of self-reflection in order to learn to live in peace and harmony with all beings.


679 Lower Flat Creek

Alexander, NC 28701

United States


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Great Tree Zen Women's Temple is a 501(C)3 religious organization/Copyright 2020