Photo of cleaning windowsPhoto of Bodhin-roshi dusting an altar statuePhoto of kitchen workers cutting upPhoto of an arborist at the 2017 work retreat

For many years, we’ve held an annual work retreat in honor of Ralph Chapin, who donated his country estate to the Center back in 1996. The goal of the retreat is to work together on upkeep of the buildings and grounds – and at the same time intensify our meditation practice and enjoy the beauty of Chapin Mill.  There will be two work retreats in 2024, May 10-12 and July 5-7.

Accommodations and Registration

You’re welcome to come for all or part of the retreat, and there’s plenty of space for people to stay overnight if they wish.  Simply complete the Chapin Mill Work Retreat Form to let us know when you’d like to come, any physical limitations you have, and skills you’d like to contribute. There’s no fee for the work retreat although donations for food are welcome (suggested donation: $20/day).  

Work Retreat Schedule

During the Chapin Mill Work Retreat we sit a bit more than the regular Zen Center training schedule, and dokusan is offered daily.  Since the bulk of our work is completed in the morning most of the afternoon is free for unstructured activity – swimming, walking in the woods, visiting with friends, or more sitting in the zendo.  Pictures from previous work retreats are in the Photo Gallery. The schedule below was for last year’s work retreat. The schedule for 2024 will be slightly different.


7:00-9:00 pm Zazen with dokusan


5:40 am Wakeup
6:00-7:15 Zazen and chanting
7:30 Breakfast (informal)
8:00 Work meeting
10:30 Tea break
12:30 pm Lunch
1:10-1:45 Clean up (indoors)
4:30-6:00 Dinner
7:00-9:00 Zazen with dokusan


6:10 am Wakeup
6:30-7:30 Zazen
7:45 Breakfast
8:15 Work meeting
10:30 Tea break
1:00 pm Lunch
1:30-2:45 Clean up and pack up (staff)

Register for the Work Retreat