Dharma Rain holds at least one retreat every month. These range from half- or one-day retreats on Saturdays (e.g., Zazenkai, Beginners Day Retreat), to weekend retreats, to week-long intensive sesshin, a term that means “examine the heart.” Many retreats are open to the public to drop in for zazen (meditation) and services while requiring people to sign up ahead of time for meals and overnights. Others are “cloistered” (open to drop-ins only during early morning or evening zazen) or “closed” (not open to drop-ins). Retreats are held at our NE Portland campus unless specified otherwise.
For the schedule of retreats and registration information, see the Liturgical Year summary or the Calendar.
More information about Attending Sesshin (Retreats)…
More information about Sesshin (Retreat) Forms…
Zazenkai is an all-day intensive practice of sitting — typically eight hours of sitting in three blocks during a twelve-hour period (from 5am to 5pm) on a Saturday. This sesshin includes two oryoki meals (breakfast and lunch), a brief work practice, and breaks. Zazenkai are typically scheduled about every 6 weeks.
The four-hour Half Day Zazenkai provides a welcoming space especially designed for elders and others who feel the need for less rigorous form and yet want to do serious Zen practice.
Beginners Day Retreat
The Beginners Day introductory retreat is designed to provide familiarity with internal and external retreat 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 retreats are typically scheduled three times a year: January, June, and September.
The Sejiki retreat (formerly called ‘Segaki’) is held every fall and is focused on cleansing karma and releasing attachments to the past, including releasing those who have died. The retreat is vigil-style so that people can come in and leave as they need to. It begins at 7pm on Wednesday and continues through Sunday evening and is held near the end of October.
Rohatsu commemorates the Buddha’s enlightenment, traditionally on December 8th. This is a deep and profoundly quiet retreat. It is our longest and most intense retreat of the year and is the culmination of a year of training. Six full days of stillness, silence, moving in harmony, and clarifying our dharma eye through sanzen, talks, and reflection is a potent mix. It is a supportive environment, allowing you to stretch your practice to new depth, and to reap the fruit of all the mindfulness and meditation you may have done recently. Rohatsu is held in early December.
The Jukai sesshin is a week-long retreat at the end of which individuals who chose to do so receive the Bodhisattva precepts and formally become Buddhists. The Jukai sesshin is typically held in mid-February.
Every second or third year, at the time of Jukai, we do the major ceremonies of Daijukai. These ceremonies are rarely performed in the United States. The last Daijukai was February 2022.
Denkoe is a week-long sesshin devoted to the ancestors, during which we study a chapter of the Denkoroku. Denkoe is typically held in April.
During the five-day Genzo-e retreat, we examine a fascicle of Dogen’s Shobogenzo. Genzo-e is now held in late summer.
Three Robes Retreat
The four-day Three Robes retreat focuses on Right Effort, or just enough. It is now held in June.
Mountains and Waters Backpacking Retreat
A sesshin with different forms to suit wilderness practice. Usually held in early September for three-four days. Locations and leaders vary.
Weekend Closed Retreat
A closed weekend retreat is held one or two times a year, usually called The Space Between. “Closed” means that people attend for the entire retreat from Friday evening until Sunday morning with no partial attendance or drop-ins for zazen. Oryoki meals are served in the zendo, and attendees may sleep overnight Friday and Saturday nights in the zendo or elsewhere on the property as well.