Periods of focused practice are an ancient and vital part of Buddhist, and especially Zen, tradition. See the wheel of the year. At retreat we have an opportunity to focus on deep meditation and inner reflection. The longer retreats include the opportunity for private interviews with teachers, lectures and special ceremonies, as well as formal meals (oryoki) and longer periods of meditation. Retreats are held at our NE Portland campus unless specified otherwise. Meals are vegetarian, with a dairy-free option, and other dietary restrictions can generally be accommodated with advance notice. Efforts are made to accommodate various physical needs. Contact the shuso [shuso at] for information about this. Financial assistance is also available if needed.

Approximately every month, the Center holds a retreat. These range from one-day retreats on Saturdays (Zazenkai, Beginners Day Retreat), to weekend retreats, to week-long intensive sesshin, a term which means “examine the heart.” Many are open to the public to drop in for meditation and services, but require people to sign up ahead of time for meals and overnights. Further information about retreats is available by contacting the Center.

Watch the Retreats Schedule for information about upcoming retreats.


An all-day intensive practice of sitting, typically 8 hours of sitting in three blocks during a 12-hour period (from 5am to 5pm). Also includes two oryoki meals (breakfast and lunch), brief work practice, and breaks. Zazenkai are currently scheduled about every 6 weeks.

Beginners Day Retreat

This introductory retreat is designed to provide familiarity with internal and external practices of Soto Zen Buddhism. Instruction is provided for newcomers, and practitioners of all levels are welcome to deepen their practice and hold the container. These are currently scheduled three times a year: in January, June, and September. In 2017 these are June 3 and August 26. Another is scheduled January 20, 2018.

Segaki Retreat — Fall

Every fall, we hold a weekend Segaki retreat, focused on cleansing karma and releasing attachments to the past, including those who have died. 2017 dates are October 27-29.

Rohatsu Sesshin — Early December

In early December, we hold a week-long Rohatsu sesshin, in honor of the Buddha’s enlightenment; this is a deep and profoundly quiet retreat. 2017 dates are December 3-10.


In mid-February we have Jukai, the week devoted to giving and receiving the Buddhist Precepts. In 2018 this is scheduled for February 12-18.


Every third year, we do the major ceremonies of Daijukai, which are rarely performed in the United States. The next Daijukai is scheduled for 2020.


In April, we do Denkoe, a week-long sesshin devoted to the ancestors, during which we study a chapter of the Denkoroku. In 2018, the dates scheduled are April 17-21.

Summer Sesshin — Genzo-e

This 5-day retreat examines a fascicle of Dogen’s Shobogenzo. The next Genzo-e sesshin is scheduled for June 19-23, 2018.