Intensive Meditation Opportunities

Extended periods of meditation are the backbone of our practice, allowing us the opportunity to quiet our minds in shared silence. At MZMC, we offer: sesshins, which include the traditional elements including liturgy and formal meals with oryoki bowls; and retreats, which do not. All sesshins and retreats include periods of sitting meditation followed by walking meditation, and one-to-one meetings with the teacher. Please register for a retreat at least three days in advance, or by the date suggested beneath the "Register" option. Thank you.

Please remember that our daily meditation schedule is suspended during retreats with the exception of the Sunday morning schedule (meditation, talk, and Introduction to Zen Meditation), which takes place as usual.


Learn the Basic Zen Forms and Etiquette

Zen Forms and Etiquette 2017
Friday, January 20
Friday, April 7
Friday, June 16
Friday, August 11
Friday, October 13
Sunday, December 3
Time: 5:15 – 6:30 pm
Class size is limited to 12.
Suggested donation: $10
Please register five days in advance.
Register

This class is one-hour long. The same information is covered each time. The class will briefly cover the basics of traditional Zen forms: bows, entries and exits, walking meditation, etc. This offering is designed for the newcomer who'd like an overview of forms to help them be more familiar and comfortable joining us for morning zazen or one of our sesshins. It's a good opportunity to become familiar with the forms, stay in practice, or brush up after some time away.


Sesshins and Retreats 2017

  • January 21: Half-Day Sesshin
  • February 11: Beginner's Mind Retreat
  • February 17 (7 pm) – 19: Weekend Retreat
  • March 4: Sitting with Sutras
  • March 18: One-Day Retreat
  • April 7 (7 pm) – 9: Weekend Sesshin
  • April 15: Beginner's Mind Retreat
  • May 13: One-Day Retreat
  • June 16 (7 pm) – 18: Weekend Sesshin
  • June 24: Beginner's Mind Retreat
  • July 15: One-Day Retreat
  • July 22: Sitting with Sutras
  • August 12: Half-Day Sesshin
  • September 16: Beginner's Mind Retreat
  • September 19 (7 pm) – 24 (noon): Retreat at Hokyoji
  • October 14: Half-Day Sesshin
  • October 28: Sitting with Sutras
  • November 4: One-Day Retreat
  • December 3 (7 pm) – December 10 (4 pm): Rohatsu Sesshin

Descriptions of 2017 Retreats

Beginner's Mind Retreats
Saturday, February 11 with Bussho Lahn
Saturday, April 15 with Wanda Isle
Saturday, June 24 with Susan Nelson
Saturday, September 16 with Ted O'Toole
1 – 4 pm
$30 members; $35 nonmembers
Please register five days in advance.
Register

Enter the transformative stillness of Zen retreat practice in this afternoon immersion in meditation, silence, and teachings. This brief retreat includes both guided and silent meditation as well as an introduction to the basics of traditional zen forms, sitting and walking meditation, and a short dharma talk.

Sitting with Sutras: A Contemplative Afternoon
Saturday, March 4, 2017, 12 – 3 pm, with Susan Nelson
Saturday, July 22, 2017, 12 – 3 pm, with Susan Nelson
Saturday, October 28, 2017, 12 – 3 pm, with Bussho Lahn
Cost: $30 members; $35 non-members
Please register five days in advance.
Limited to 10 people.
Register

Spend a weekend afternoon in silent contemplation with some of the great words of Buddhism. We will read short passages from the sutras, listening deeply as we prepare to enter into silence with them. Short periods of shared reading will be followed by longer intervals of meditative silence as we quiet our ordinary minds in order to immerse ourselves in the experience underlying the words.

Half-Day Sesshins
January 21 with Guy Gibbon
August 12 with Bussho Lahn
October 14 with Ben Connelly
Hours: 5:45 am – noon
Cost: $30 members; $40 nonmembers
Register
Please register five days in advance.

This brief immersion in the traditional sesshin schedule is a good opportunity to become familiar with the forms, stay in practice, or brush up after some time away. This morning includes an orientation, zazen, kinhin (walking meditation), liturgy, a formal vegetarian breakfast using oryoki bowls, and one-to-one meetings with the teacher.

One-Day Retreats
March 18 with Ted O'Toole
May 13 with Wanda Isle
July 15 with Ted O'Toole
November 4 with Wanda Isle
Hours: 8 am – 5 pm
Cost: $50 members; $65 nonmembers
Register
Please register five days in advance.

One-Day Retreats are conducted in a contemporary context, without the formal elements involved in sesshin. They include walking and sitting meditation, a dharma talk, one-to-one meetings with the teacher, a vegetarian buffet lunch, and work practice. Meditators at all levels of experience are invited.

February Weekend Retreat
with Tim Burkett
Friday, February 17, at 7 pm through Sunday, February 19, at 4 pm
Cost for full retreat: $100 members; $130 nonmembers
Cost for one day option (Saturday): $50 members; $65 nonmembers
Hours for full day: 5:45 am – 9:00 pm
All participants should plan to attend the orientation on Friday, February 17, at 7 p.m.
Register
Please register five days in advance.

This two-day retreat is contemporary in style while maintaining a deep immersion in meditation and silence. The retreat includes sitting and walking meditation, daily dharma talks, work practice, one-to-one meetings with the teachers, and buffet-style vegetarian meals.

April Weekend Sesshin
with Bussho Lahn
Friday, April 7, at 7 pm through Sunday, April 9, at 4 pm
Cost for the weekend: $100 members; $130 nonmembers
Cost for one day (Saturday): $50 members; $65 nonmembers
Hours for full day: 5:45 am – 9:00 pm
All participants should plan to attend the orientation on Friday, April 7, at 7 p.m.
Register
Please register five days in advance.

At this formal meditation retreat, we follow the forms and rituals used in the Soto Zen tradition for centuries. The sesshin includes zazen, kinhin (walking meditation), liturgy, dharma talks, formal vegetarian meals using oryoki, dokusan (one-to-one meetings with the teacher), and work practice.

June Weekend Sesshin
with Ben Connelly
Friday, June 16, at 7 pm through Sunday, June 18, at 4 pm
Cost for two day option: $100 members; $130 nonmembers
Cost for one day option (Saturday): $50 members; $65 nonmembers
Hours for full day: 5:45 am – 9:00 pm
All participants should plan to attend the orientation on Friday, June 16, at 7 p.m.
Register
Please register five days in advance.

At this traditional meditation retreat, we follow the forms and rituals used in the Soto Zen tradition for centuries. The sesshin includes zazen, kinhin (walking meditation), liturgy, dharma talks, formal vegetarian meals using oryoki, dokusan (one-to-one meetings with the teacher), and work practice.

Retreat at Hokyoji Zen Practice Community, Eitzen MN
with Susan Nelson and Tim Burkett
Tuesday, September 19, at 7 pm through Sunday, September 24, at noon
Cost for full retreat: $255 members; $330 nonmembers
Cost for two days (Friday at 7 pm – Sunday at noon): $105 members; $135 nonmembers
Hours for full days: 5:45 am – 9:00 pm
Register
Please register five days in advance.

The fall retreat at Hokyoji, in the bluff country of southeastern Minnesota, is an opportunity to practice surrounded by nature, far from the distractions of city life. We alternate sitting and walking meditation throughout the day, along with daily dharma talks, one-to-one meetings with the teachers, vegetarian meals, a work period, and outdoor group meditation walks. Bring camping gear or sleep in dorm-like accommodations. We will need at least 7 full-retreat participants to hold the retreat at Hokyoji.

Rohatsu Sesshin
with Tim Burkett and Ted O'Toole
Seven day option: Sun., December 3, 7 pm – Sun., Dec. 10, 4 pm
Five day option: Wed., December 6, 5:45 am – Sun., Dec. 10, 4 pm
Two day option: Sat., December 9, 5:45 am – Sun. Dec. 10, 4 pm
One day option: Sat., December 9, 5:45 am – 9 pm
Hours for full days: 5:45 am – 9:00 pm

Cost for seven days: member $335; nonmember $435
Cost for five days: member $250; nonmember $325
Cost for two days: member $100; nonmember $130
Cost for one day: member $50; nonmember $65
Register
Please register five days in advance.

Rohatsu (Buddha's Enlightenment) sesshin is arguably the year's most important event for Zen Buddhists. All over the world we sit in meditation, celebrating Buddha's awakening to an intimacy with all life as our own awakening. This formal retreat includes zazen, kinhin (walking meditation), liturgy, dharma talks, formal vegetarian meals using oryoki, dokusan (one-to-one meetings with the teachers), and work practice. All participants should attend the orientation on Sunday, December 3, at 7 p.m.


Information about Retreats at MZMC

Please plan to arrive about 15 minutes before the start time to find a spot in the zendo, be aware of any job assignments that might affect you, and settle in before we start. There will be a brief orientation after the first period of zazen to cover the retreat logistics.

  • If you plan to spend the nights at MZMC, bring a sleeping bag.
  • If you have any severe dietary restrictions, notify us if you haven't already.

Dress for traditional sesshin is formal for priests, and casual for laypeople. For contemporary retreats, casual is fine for everyone. Comfortable. Looser clothing is usually best.

As always at MZMC, clothing with darker, muted tones is preferred. Avoid clothing with lettering or images, and avoid shorts or short skirts. Please also avoid perfume, aftershave, cologne, or heavily scented products to be mindful of those who are chemically sensitive.


Host a Retreat in Your Area

Host a retreat in your area led by a MZMC teacher. Extended periods of meditation are the backbone of Zen Buddhist practice, allowing us to quiet our minds in shared silence. Retreats can be traditional or contemporary, and last one day or more. You would provide the location, and we would provide the retreat leader. Please contact the office for details or to set up a retreat in your location. The availability and possible travel distance of each of our teachers varies.

For advice on planning and hosting a retreat, see Christine Kane's blog on the Web, How to Plan and Host a Retreat. A mindfulness retreat like this may be the beginnings of the formation of a local sitting/meditation group.

Our mission is to help people experience a deep and quiet joy – a joy that arises whenever we are fully engaged in the work or play of this moment.