Weekend Silent Retreat (Sesshin)

Weekend Silent Retreat (Sesshin)

Our twice-annual Weekend Silent Retreat at the Mariandale Retreat Center in the Hudson Valley of New York is open to the public, both to those currently engaged in Zen practice and those who would like to renew their commitment.

Advanced registration is required to participate. Proof of vaccination against COVID-19 is no longer required. Masks are optional during the retreat. The Center has a new HVAC system, and both the zendo and daisan rooms have air purifiers. Still Mind Zendo is the only group using the retreat center during these weekends.

The weekend, which begins on Friday evening with dinner at 6 pm and ends after lunch on Sunday, consists primarily of zazen (sitting meditation) and kin-hin (walking meditation) along with a dharma talk, a chanting service, meals, and rest periods. Daisan, an optional private meeting with one of our teachers, is available for all those who attend the retreat.

Participants who are new to our sangha but who have Zen experience receive a brief overview of our meditation forms on Friday evening.

The Mariandale Retreat Center is located on the banks of the Hudson River in Ossining, NY, and is about 1 hour north of the George Washington Bridge. Metro-North trains from Grand Central Station (GCS) in NYC afford public transport to Ossining Station, with a 5-minute taxi ride to and from the Center.

In addition to all rooms being single rooms, each has its own sink; bathroom facilities are shared. The Retreat Center also has an elevator. The welcoming atmosphere and lovely grounds, along with 6 excellent meals (with a vegetarian option) make Mariandale an ideal location for our retreats.

If you have any questions about the retreat, please don't hesitate to call (212-414-3128) or email us and someone will get back to you as soon as possible.

General Information

Next dates:
  • Friday, November 3–Sunday, November 5, 2023
  • Friday, February 9–Sunday, February 11, 2024

Strict registration deadline: Two weeks before; we regret there can be no reimbursement of fee after these dates

Cost: (payable with registration)
  • $300 for members of SMZ
  • $350 for non-members of SMZ
  • All rooms are single rooms
  • Payment can be made through PayPal
  • Financial assistance is available to SMZ members; please email for details

Arrival time: Friday anytime after 3 pm; dinner is at 6 pm

Departure time: Sunday between 12 and 1 pm

To register: Please click here for the registration form

Registration deadlines: October 20 or January 26; we regret there can be no reimbursement of fees after these dates

If you wish to add a donation to help cover costs incurred by SMZ, or donate to our financial assistance fund for those who need it, we would be most grateful.


Retreat schedule

A sitting period consists of three 25-minute blocks of sitting meditation (zazen) with walking meditation (kin-hin) in between.

Friday
6 pm: Group dinner
7 pm: Welcome, followed by a sitting period
9 pm: Retire

Saturday
6 am: Sitting period, followed by breakfast and a morning break
10 am: Dharma talk, then a sitting period, chanting service, lunch, rest
2 pm: Three sitting periods, afternoon break, rest periods, dinner
7 pm: Sitting period
9 pm: Retire

Sunday
6 am: Sitting period, followed by breakfast and a morning break
9 am: Sitting period
11 am - 1 pm: Close of retreat, lunch, depart