Photo of Sensei Donna Kowal adjusting a student's postureDonna-sensei helping a student with their postureSensei John Pulleyn

Workshops at the Center: A Practical Introduction to Zen

Throughout the year the Rochester Zen Center offers both in-person and online introductory meditation workshops taught either by Sensei John Pulleyn (pronounced “puh-leen“) or Sensei Dhara Kowal, along with senior students.

Because getting started in Zen practice isn’t as simple as attending a new church on Sunday, the workshops are aimed at providing a useful introduction to Zen Buddhism – demystifying the religion, and giving basic instruction on how to practice zazen (Zen meditation). It’s a unique opportunity to learn first-hand from seasoned practitioners at one of the country’s largest and oldest Zen centers.

The Center offers workshops on the occasional Saturday, sometimes full-day and in-person and sometimes half-day and online via Zoom. In-person and Zoom workshop participants are invited to attend the next morning’s (Sunday) sitting, which includes a chanting service as well as a teisho (Dharma talk) given by one of our teachers.

In-person Workshop: June 22 & Oct. 12, in Rochester

  • Run from 9:30 a.m. to around 4:00 p.m. A vegetarian lunch is served.
  • Most take place at the Zen Center’s city center near downtown Rochester; * indicates workshops at Chapin Mill, our country retreat facility.
  • For a detailed description, see In-Person Workshops at the Center.
  • To register for an in-person workshop,  fill out the in-person application form and send payment through PayPal.

Register for In-person Workshop

In-person Workshop: August 10, at Chapin Mill Retreat Center

  • Taking place take place in a serene country setting, the Chapin Mill Retreat Center near Batavia, New York (roughly halfway between Buffalo and Rochester), includes a  vegetarian lunch, and you are invited to stay overnight if you wish to make it a weekend getaway.

Learn More & Register for the Chapin Mill Workshop

Online Workshop: July 27 & Nov. 16 on Zoom

  • Begin at 10 a.m. and finish around 2:30 p.m. Eastern.
  • For these online workshops, we suggest a donation of $10 – $30. However, if any amount would be a hardship, you can omit the donation and still attend.
  • To register for an online workshop, fill out the online application form.

Register for Online Workshop


If you have questions, please give us a call at (585) 473-9180 or email