"Sesshin" (literally, "touching the heart") are intensive periods of group practice with approximately ten hours of meditation each day. It is a practice designed to challenge and deepen one's practice, and there is no better way to explore and awaken to the heart of Zen, which is the heart of everything.
"Retreats" - less intense than sesshins - usually involve about six hours of meditation, and typically include a full schedule of zazen, group study sessions, and work practice.
In addition to the meditation hall, communal spaces, and the outdoor garden with a walking path, NZC accommodations include several second floor sleeping rooms that serve as shared dorm space for retreat and sesshin participants. Vegetarian meals are provided. Meal preparation, eating formal meals together, and kitchen clean-up are part of the daily practice.
Outside of dharma talks and dokusan (individual interviews with a teacher), sesshins and retreats take place within a container of silence. Participants are expected to follow the schedule, complete the portion of the retreat/sesshin they have committed to, and uphold the practice forms and guidelines that are designed to support group harmony.
Note:Our teachers, Dosho and Tetsugan, do not receive payment from Nebraska Zen Center for leading retreats but rely on "teacher dana" for compensation. $30 per day of retreat is the suggested dana per person, but if your financial circumstances allow for more or less than that amount, your gift will be received with gratitude.
~ Retreat: The Truth That Sustains Us Thursday, March 21, 7:00pm - Sunday, March 24, 12:00pm (3 days) Retreats at NZC offer a time to explore intensive practice with fewer periods of zazen per day than in a sesshin, and group study sessions morning and afternoon. In this retreat, we will explore the Zen way of receiving food as dharma, based on the eating ritual we use in sesshin called "oryoki" (the bowls that hold just enough). These formal meals include a series of verses that form a mini-course in essential Buddhism. During experiential learning and group study, we will unpack the meaning of these teachings.
New Process for Sesshin & Retreat Registration: 1. Complete and submit the March 2019 Retreat Application (click here). 2. Submit your payment via PayPal or check to reserve your spot. 3. Applications will be reviewed on a rolling basis, and you will be notified by email when your application has been reviewed and approved.
Registration and payment deadline: 5:00pm, Monday, March 11 Standard rate: $140; Sustaining members: $125; Supporting members: $105 ~ Partial scholarships are available (complete the application to indicate your need).
~ Zazenkai: A Day of Silent Meditation Sunday, April 14, 8:30am-4:30pm (includes a vegetarian lunch) These day-long meditation sessions include zazen, liturgy, and an individual meeting with a teacher. They are an important way for more experienced students to deepen their practice, and for newer students to lay the groundwork for the practice of sesshin.
Registration and payment deadline: 5:00pm, Monday, April 8 Standard rate: $50; Member rate: $25 To register, submit your payment via PayPal or by check by the registration deadline.
~ Summer Sesshin Saturday June 8, 7:00pm - Saturday, June 15, 12:00pm (7 days)
~ September Sesshin Thursday, September 26, 7:00pm - Sunday, September 29, 12:00pm (3 days)
~ Rohatsu Sesshin Saturday, December 7, 7:00pm - Saturday, December 14, 12:00pm (7 days)