Please join us for the Village Zendo’s first in-person summer retreat since the start of the pandemic: July 25th through August 4th at Wisdom House in Litchfield, Connecticut.
This will begin our 2022 summer ango with a silent and spacious container in which we can reflect deeply in community, heal, and restore ourselves. In addition to sitting and walking meditation, the days will follow a schedule of body practice, work practice, dharma talks, liturgy and rest. Private interview with Roshi Pat Enkyo O’Hara and the Village Zendo teachers will be available daily throughout the retreat.
For those unable to attend in person, our regular online sitting schedule will continue and the Dharma talks will be streamed online via our Online Zendo.
You may join us for some part of or all of the time. Please note that to receive a service position you must attend all from the 25th on.
We’ll be adhering to the latest CDC guidelines and the recommendations of our Village Zendo medical team. Vaccination plus a booster is required for in-person attendance.
Questions? Please contact email@example.com.
Additional Retreat Details:
Arrivals and Departure Times
As Wisdom House requires attendee numbers ahead for their planning purposes, registration will close on 7/10. But please do let us know if that is an issue for you.
Arrival time for those coming to help set-up 7/24 is 3pm. For those arriving on 7/25, check-in time is between 2:00 – 4:00pm.
Departure on 8/04 will be around 11-12pm.
Again, please let us know if you need to make different arrangements.
Directions to Wisdom House
Take Metro North to Waterbury CT and then take a car to Wisdom House.
It’s the NEW HAVEN line, with a transfer at Bridgeport.
Here is the schedule https://new.mta.info/schedules
Note best to select stations from the dropdown menu- From Grand Central to Waterbury
PDF of the paper schedule: https://new.mta.info/document/90491
What are the environmental and behavioral practices in response to the pandemic?
The CDC describes a multi-tiered approach to preventing illness:
Vaccinations. Participants must have completed two Covid vaccinations and one booster at least two weeks before arrival at Wisdom House.
Testing. You are required to self-administer a home Covid test the morning that you leave for Wisdom House, and it must be negative in order for you to come. In addition, please bring two tests with you to the retreat. On the fourth day following your arrival, you will test yourself again and, with a negative test, the mask will be optional for sitting zazen and listening to dharma talks.
Masking. Masks must be KN95, KN94 or N95. Surgical masks are not acceptable. Masks must be worn for all indoor communal activities, except eating, during the first three days. Once you have your second negative test on Day 4, you may choose not to wear a mask while sitting or listening to a Dharma talk. Masks must continue to be worn during kinhin, indoor chanting services and when moving throughout the building. Remember to bring enough masks for your entire time at the retreat.
Physical Distancing. The CDC defines “close contact” as 6 feet or less for greater than 15 minutes. Zabutons (sitting mats) will be placed so as to maintain a physical distance of at least 6 feet between people while sitting so that no one will be in “close contact.” When new people arrive, they will be seated towards the back at a slightly greater distance than six feet from those who are already present and may already be unmasked.
Ventilation. The CDC has concluded that ventilation is a critical tool for preventing the spread of COVID-19. We will be sitting upstairs in the chapel. There are windows that open and, unless prevented by a driving rain, we will be sitting with ventilation from the outside. This also means we may feel heat or cold. Please bring appropriate clothing. We will perform services outside whenever it is not raining. We will frequently do kinhin (walking meditation) outside.
Hygiene. We must all continue the good hygiene practices we have been doing for the past 2 ½ years such as frequent hand washing, use of sanitizer, covering our mouth with the inside of our arm while coughing or sneezing (even while masked), etc. Work practice will include frequent disinfecting of common areas.
What are we doing about some of our other unique practices?
Oryoki (meal service). We will not be having oryoki during this sesshin. Food portions will be pre-packaged and we will self-serve from the offered menu. We have the use of two rooms for eating, and anyone who wishes to take their meal outside may do so. Please remember that, if you eat outside, you will need to return your dishes promptly so that they can be washed and sanitized along with the others.
Teacher Interview. Teachers and students will wear masks for interviews for the duration of the retreat.
What happens if I/someone else gets sick/tests positive/has symptoms?
This is an unfortunate possibility. If you are not already, please become familiar with the symptoms of COVID. If you develop any of these, you must administer a self-test and let the monitors, shuso or pandemic coordinator (Soshin) know the results. Here are some of the possible scenarios:
Symptoms with Negative Test Result. If you have symptoms and your test is negative, please inform one of the monitors, the shuso, or the retreat’s pandemic coordinator (Soshin). We will discuss your situation and determine the appropriate action. Some possibilities include no action, requiring that you mask at all times, or asking you to isolate under the assumption that you have COVID. If there are doubts, we may ask you to isolate and get a PCR test to confirm the negative test results.
No Symptoms and Positive Test: If you have no symptoms but your test results are positive, we will assume the test is correct, and you will need to leave the retreat as described below. However, if you believe it is a false positive, you can choose to schedule a PCR test at a local pharmacy or clinic. You will isolate in your room until you get the results. Depending upon your room location and whether or not you are in a double, you may need to move into a different room. If the PCR test shows negative, then you may continue the retreat. If the PCR confirms the positive, then you will need to leave the retreat as described below.
Symptoms and Positive Test. If you develop symptoms and have a positive test, then it will no longer be possible for you to participate in the retreat. In that case, we will help you make arrangements to return home as we are not well-equipped to assist someone who is isolating or very sick. If you live relatively nearby (within a 2-hour drive) we can take you home if you came via public transportation or if you are too ill to drive. If you came from a distance, please think now about how you will get home. Perhaps you can connect with a sangha member or friend or family and we can drive you to their home; or perhaps they can pick you up. It would be good to have a plan if possible. If you must leave the retreat early, VZ will refund 50% of the cost for the days you are missing.
Isolation. If someone is sick or tests positive, we will ensure that they can effectively isolate during any remaining time at Wisdom House so that others are not exposed. As explained above, in most cases there will be no “direct contacts” and because everyone is vaccinated, even a close contact would not need to quarantine. Depending upon the particulars of the sick person’s movements/relationships during the retreat, we may ask some or all of the other participants to change their sitting location and/or service position, or to wear a mask for the next 10 days and test themselves after Day 5 as described by the CDC.
IF someone tests positive, what kind of communication can I expect?
We want you to remain informed. If there is a case of COVID-19 and/or a positive test, we will make a general announcement maintaining the sick person’s privacy to the extent possible. We will personally let you know if you had increased exposure or need to take some action. If we haven’t contacted you, then you are part of the general sangha population and will receive any general instructions along with everyone else. You may make a choice at that time to increase your preventative measures if you wish.
Communication is a two-way street. Please communicate with the monitors, shuso, and/or the pandemic coordinator about your health and testing status. This is a critical piece of the strategy to keep us all healthy so we can have a deep and rewarding retreat. Thank you!
Letter from Executive Committee Regarding Guidelines
Dear Retreat Participants,
We are so pleased that you have decided to participate in the Village Zendo’s first in-person retreat since December, 2019. We are looking forward to practicing with you!
As you know, we continue to live with the Covid-19 pandemic and so we are modifying many of our longstanding retreat practices to adjust to this feature of our life right now. You will find a listing of our Covid-related retreat practices attached to this letter.
For the most part, the Village Zendo is following CDC and State guidelines. These, however, were written for general circumstances that don’t account for many of the unique features of sesshin. Because of this, we are making some modifications to CDC guidelines based on what we have learned from other sanghas offering similar retreats and from the insights provided by our medical team.
In addition, we have created a “pandemic coordinator” service position. This is being filled by Soshin Hoshi. Soshin has been the pandemic coordinator for her workplace for the past 2 ½ years and has implemented practices in a variety of settings (office, retail, and field work) for an organization of 80 people. If you have questions or concerns after reviewing the attached retreat practices, you are invited to contact her directly at firstname.lastname@example.org. You may also connect with her during sesshin.
Thank you in advance for reading carefully through the attached retreat precautions. We will be asking you, upon your arrival at Wisdom House, to sign an affirmation that you have read, understood and agree to follow them.
The pandemic offers us a unique opportunity to realize the fundamental truth that we are not separate from others. Let’s plunge wholeheartedly into sesshin and follow the guidelines that will protect our health and the health of those around us.
We look forward to seeing you soon!
The Village Zendo Executive Committee
Registration for Summer Ango is closed.
July 24 Set Up: Early arrival to set up the retreat
July 25 – August 4: Dai Sesshin – Ten days devoted to zazen, talks, and silent contemplation.
Fees Entire Retreat:
Shared room: $1400
Single Room: $1700
Shared room: $1700
Single Room: $2000
Fees Per Night:
Shared room: $140 / night
Single room: $170 / night
Shared room: $170 / night
Single room: $200 / night