Photo of a gardener at the 2017 work retreatPhoto 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. With the pandemic unfolding last year, we had to make do with a couple of work days only, but this year we’re back!

Our objective is to work together with Sangha friends on upkeep of the buildings and grounds – and at the same time intensify our meditation practice and enjoy the beauty of Chapin Mill. We sit a bit more than the regular Zen Center training schedule, and either dokusan or private instruction are offered daily. 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. Just let us know if and when you’d like to attend and let us know about any work skills or limitations you think may be important.

Our schedule is set with the bulk of our work completed in the morning and with most of the afternoon free for unstructured activity – swimming, walking in the woods, visiting with friends, or more sitting in the zendo.

The 2021 work retreat will run from the evening of Tuesday, June 29 through Saturday afternoon, July 3.  (See schedule below.)

Pictures from previous years are in the Photo Gallery.


Ralph Chapin Memorial Work Retreat Schedule

Call or email to sign up for all or any part.

Tuesday Evening

7:00-9:00 Zazen (Roshi will give dokusan)


5:25 a.m. Wakeup
5:45-7:00 Zazen and chanting
7:15 Breakfast
8:00 Work meeting
10:30 Tea break
12:45 Lunch
1:20-2:00 Clean up
4:30-6:00 Dinner available
7:00-9:00 Zazen (with dokusan: Roshi on Tues & Thurs, Sensei on Wed & Fri)


5:55 a.m. Wakeup
6:15-7:15 Zazen and chanting
7:15 Breakfast
8:00 Work meeting
10:45 Tea break
1:00 Lunch
1:30-2:45 Clean up and pack up (staff)