Sesshins—Extended Sittings

Mountain Gate Zendo

Coming together and supporting each other in the great work of delving into the deepest stratum of our mind to experience the inherent stability and joyfulness of our true base; this is what is most needed, most necessary in the world today. . . Please understand, you have inherent in your very Mind a huge potential, an incalculable brilliance, an ability to see the reality of this moment clearly. But without taking the time and putting forth the effort to penetrate to this deepest clarity of mind, without that deepest realization of this true Master, we will never be able to actually perceive who we really are, who it is that is actually alive, what are the characteristics of our true self, this boundless brilliance, this constant freedom and joy.

—Shodo Harada Roshi


Sesshins are extended periods of intensive, silent zazen for experienced meditators. They are held in seclusion, follow a rigorous schedule, and last from three to seven days. Mitra-roshi conducts sesshins in New Mexico, California, and New Jersey.

Mountain Gate is a place of deep Zen Buddhist practice. If you are interested in joining us for sesshin or a longer or shorter period of intensive residential practice, please write and tell us why, what your practice history is, and who you are. Because of the demanding and intense nature of sesshin, only people who have been sitting regularly should apply.

There are many hours of formal zazen each day; informal zazen is encouraged during breaks and rest periods. Other elements of sesshin are walking meditation, chanting, prostrations, work, exercise, and vegetarian meals. Sanzen (private instruction with Mitra-roshi) is offered twice a day, and there are daily teisho (Zen talks by the Roshi).

Sesshin Fees

The sesshin fee is $300 for a 7-day sesshin and $225 for the Elder Sesshin, or $45 per day for attendance at any shorter sesshin. Dana for the teacher is optional but deeply appreciated (she receives no income from Mountain Gate), and additional donations to Mountain Gate are gratefully received. Mountain Gate subsists entirely on such gifts.

In order for applications to be considered, a depost of $75 must be enclosed; the balance (cash or check only) is due before the beginning of sesshin. Dana is normally offered at the end of sesshin or at the end of one’s participation in the sesshin if one is coming part time.

sesshin schedules

5:00 am Zazen, chanting, and sanzen
7:30 Breakfast
8 - 1:00 pm Work, with Tea Break at 11 am
1:00 Lunch
4:00 Informal supper
5:00 - 6:00 Golden Hour
6:00 - 9:00 Zazen/Sanzen, with Evening Tea
5:00 am Chanting, zazen and sanzen
7:30 Breakfast
8 - 10:00 am Work practice
10:00 - noon Zazen, beginning with guided Metta Meditation
12:00 pm Lunch, followed by rest period
2:30 - 4:30 Zazen, teisho
4:30 - 5:00 Exercise
5:00 - 5:45 Optional, informal supper
6:00 - 7:00 Golden Hour
7:00 - 9:00 Zazen, sanzen

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