Weekend Silent Retreat (Sesshin)

fromporchOur twice-annual Weekend Silent Retreat at the Garrison Institute in the Hudson Valley is open to the public, both to those currently engaged in Zen practice and those who would like to renew their commitment. We also welcome people who have no prior experience but who wish to be introduced to the disciplines of Zen.

The weekend, which begins on Friday evening with dinner at 6 pm and ends after lunch on Sunday, consists of zazen (sitting meditation), kin-hin (walking meditation), two dharma talks, a chanting service, meals, and rest periods that offer opportunities to walk the beautiful grounds of the Garrison Institute. Daisan, or dokusan - a private meeting with one of our teachers - is available for all those who attend the sesshin.

Participants who have Zen experience but are new to our sangha receive a brief introduction to our forms on Friday evening. Participants with no Zen experience take part in the Introduction to Zen component, receiving instruction and ongoing support during the weekend from one of our teachers. Zen is a rigorous practice, and so the schedule for those participating in the Introduction component is a lighter one.

Below please find an abbreviated version of the schedule, giving a general idea of what the weekend offers.

The retreat is held at the Garrison Institute, located on the banks of the Hudson River in Garrison, N.Y., one hour north of the George Washington Bridge. Metro North trains from Grand Central Station in NYC afford public transport to Garrison Landing, with complimentary van service to and from the retreat house.

The rooms are singles, doubles, or triples/quads with varying rates. The gracious atmosphere and lovely grounds, along with 6 excellent vegetarian meals that are often made with local ingredients, make the Garrison Institute an ideal location for our retreats. The Institute website has further information along with a photo guide to the facility.

If you have any questions about the retreat, please don't hesitate to call or email us and someone will get back to you as soon as possible.

General schedule

  • A sitting period consists of three 25-minute blocks of zazen (silent, seated meditation) with 10 minutes of walking meditation in between each block. The Introduction to Zen schedule is lighter, with fewer periods of zazen
  • Meeting one-on-one with a teacher (daisan) takes place during zazen periods in a separate room.

(Please note, this is a sample schedule; exact times may vary)
Friday evening
6 pm Dinner
7 pm Welcome, followed by a sitting period; Intro to Zen teaching held separately
9 pm Retire
6 am Sitting period, followed by breakfast and a break
10 am Dharma talk, followed by a sitting period, chanting service, lunch, and rest
Afternoon: dharma talk, sitting period, break, sitting period, dinner, optional Qi Gong, rest
7 pm Sitting period
9 pm Retire
6 am Sitting period, followed by breakfast and a break
9 am Sitting period
10:30 Close of retreat, lunch, depart

General Information

Next dates:
November 8-10, 2019 & February 7-9, 2020

Cost: (payable with registration)
Single room: $350 (members); $400 (non-members)
~If paying by PayPal, $360 members / $410 non-members)
Double room: $300 (members); $350 (non-members)
~If paying by PayPal, $310 members / $360 non-members)
Triple/quad room: $260 (members); $300 (non-members)
~ If paying by PayPal, $265 members / $310 non-members
Financial assistance is available to SMZ members.

Please print and fill out this Weekend Retreat form 2019-2020. Mail it with your payment, or deliver it to the zendo. You can also pay with PayPal -- see registration form for instructions.

If you wish to add a donation to help cover costs incurred by Still Mind Zendo, or donate to our financial assistance fund for those who need it, we would be most grateful. Just add the amount you wish to donate to your registration check.

Registration Deadline: The deadlines to register are October 29 or January 28. After that, there will be an additional late registration fee of $20. If registering the day before sesshin (Thursday), the late fee rises to $50.

Arrival time:
Friday, anytime after 3 pm. Dinner is usually at 6 pm.

Departure time:
Sunday between 12 and 1 pm. Van to train at 12:45 pm.

Travel directions and train schedule will be e-mailed upon receipt of registration form and check.