with Roshi Enkyo O’Hara and Village Zendo Teachers
The Garrison Institute
Garrison, New York
Full Retreat: December 26 to January 1st
Half Retreat: December 26 to December 29
Part of our Winter Ango 2018-2019.
The Village Zendo’s year-end retreat is the perfect time for quiet meditation and deep silence. Our schedule is serious (with plenty of zazen) but also spacious (with unstructured time in the afternoon for rest, outdoor walks or body practice). There are dharma talks every day, and ample opportunity to meet with our teachers. Delicious vegetarian meals are offered buffet-style. If you have put off doing a residential retreat, or felt intimidated to try one, this is a wonderful retreat to attend. Come and join the Village Zendo sangha as we greet the new year with clear minds and open hearts.
All registration is handled directly by the Garrison Institute. Registration is open until December 24. There are two steps:
1. If you are a VZ member, email Lori at firstname.lastname@example.org, and ask for the discount code for the full retreat or the half retreat. Members receive a $50 discount.
2. Go to the Garrison Institute’s website to register and make your payment. There is a line on the registration form for you to enter your VZ discount code.
If you are not a VZ member please go directly to the Garrison Institute’s website to register.
The Garrison Institute offers single rooms, double rooms, and dorm-style rooms. Please note that dorm rooms are located on the 4th floor and there is only a limited-use service elevator. See the Garrison Institute registration page for prices.
• Check-in times are between 2 to 5:30 pm on Tuesday, December 26.
• The Garrison Institute will provide free shuttle transportation between the Garrison Metro-North train station and the retreat for those arriving between 2 and 5:30 pm.
• There will be an orientation session at 4:30 pm for those new to a VZ retreat or for anyone who would like a refresher on meditation and Zen form.
• Dinner will be at about 5:30 pm and the retreat will begin at 7 pm.
Metro North Train Schedule
|Depart Grand Central Station||Arrive Garrison|
|1:43 pm||2:55 pm|
|2:43 pm||3:55 pm|
|3:18 pm||4:27 pm|
|3:48 pm||4:57 pm|
|4:14 pm||5:24 pm|
|4:47 pm||5:57 pm|
The half retreat will conclude at 12:30 pm on December 29th. Everyone is welcome to stay for lunch, and also to stay for afternoon meditation. The full retreat will conclude after breakfast and packing on January 1st, at about 10 am.
Sample Daily Schedule
The beauty of our Zen retreat is dependent on all attendees carefully following the posted daily schedule. View a sample of our daily schedule.
Questions? Please contact our retreat manager.
GUIDELINES FOR YEAR-END SESSHIN
Sesshin means “gathering the mind.” The Year-End Sesshin is an intense, completely silent meditation retreat. We observe the basic sesshin precautions of silence and inward focus for the duration of the retreat.
Please read through this set of guidelines that will make your retreat experience smoother. A silent Zen retreat may seem daunting at first, depending on your previous experience. We’ll be getting up very early and spending lots of time in silence and meditation. We will have some breaks and downtime, but not a lot—this is about sticking to the schedule as a practice, and working together to provide a space for intense meditation and introspection. Everyone will be observing what we call “noble silence” for the week. This really, truly, actually means we will not be speaking unless absolutely necessary, and this applies to time spent in your rooms and in common areas.
For newcomers the rules and rituals we follow may seem strange, but the schedule is time-tested, and made to make the experience powerful and real. Our practice leaders and teachers may look stern in their black robes (a few shaved heads too), but they are truly kind and focused on making the retreat beautiful and profound for everyone. They will answer any questions and help you to get comfortable in meditation and with the whole retreat schedule.
Here are some more specifics on what to do, what to expect, and what to pack.
No unnecessary talking.
No social courtesies.
No unnecessary looking around (keep eyes down at a 45° angle).
No unassigned reading.
Walk mindfully with hands in shashu (folded with your right hand enveloping your left fist, held at waist level).
No mobile phones, tablets, email, music devices, headphones, or other distractions.
If you have specific needs or concerns, or if this is your first sesshin, please let the registrar or sesshin coordinators know before the beginning of the sesshin.
If you have not practiced with the Village Zendo before, or are new to Zen, beginning instruction will be available. Please let the registrar or sesshin coordinators know if you would like to have beginning instruction.
Be On Time For All Activities
Be very aware of time. There will be posted schedules, and they’re important to follow. You’ll need a watch because we hope you will leave your mobile phone in your room while in the meditation hall.
Speaking of time, you’ll be getting up very early, usually around 5 am. The good news is you’ll be going to bed early after a long day of practice. Bring your own alarm clock. Earplugs are also good to have, to guarantee a night’s sleep.
Be at your seat 10 minutes before dawn zazen, and 5 minutes before other sitting periods begin. Because zazen is a silent and orderly practice, you will be much happier if you’re settled in your seat early. It is disturbing to others to walk into the meditation hall late.
Be seated in the zendo by the end of the second round of the han (wooden gong used to signal the time for zazen). When work leader begins hitting the moktok (hollow wood block) it means you have 10 minutes before work period begins each morning; come to the work meeting at least 5 minutes before it starts.
Clothes should be in good condition; in dark, subdued tones; with minimal patterns, logos, etc.
Clothes should also be modest and non-distracting; no sleeveless shirts or shorts in the Zendo.
There will be a period of work practice each morning, so be prepared to do cleaning or crafts projects in the clothes you wear to the work meeting.
Sitting robes are encouraged but not required.
Clothing should be weather-appropriate – you’ll need a warm coat, hat, gloves, and boots for outside walking meditation.
Bring slip-on shoes for inside use.
Bring clothes for yoga.
Maintain personal hygiene.
Do not wear perfumes or strong scents.
Other Items To Bring
Own toiletries, including soap.
Own alarm clock and watch.