Photo of a zafu by a windowWhy residential training?

Residential training at the Rochester Zen Center offers an opportunity to immerse oneself in the disciplined atmosphere of Zen training, free of the demands of family, job, and other normal responsibilities.  Under the guidance Sensei Pulleyn, Sensei Kowal, and their senior students, trainees participate in all the aspects of traditional Zen training, including:

  • A full daily schedule of zazen (sitting meditation)
  • Zen chanting
  • Work practice
  • Teishos (Zen commentaries by a Zen teacher) and talks by senior members
  • Private instruction in zazen
  • Instructional talks and other special guidance

Our aim is to enable people from every walk of life to strengthen their Zen practice, deepen their insight, and develop a zazen “temper of mind” – that is, the ability to “sit” with every problem – that will carry through their daily lives after the program, endowing them with greater energy, clarity, and responsiveness.

You can read more about the value and the challenges of training at a Zen Center in Bodhin-roshi’s Zen Bow article, The Freedom of No Choice. In addition, there is a recent article by Dhara-sensei on Zen and Work Practice.

Who may apply?

Residential Zen training is open to adults who are of sound mind and adequate physical health. We will do our best to accommodate those with disabilities. Because of the fairly strict sitting regimen of the program, it is beneficial for applicants to have established a daily sitting practice of their own before applying. Previous attendance at an introductory workshop conducted by either Roshi Kjolhede, Sensei Pulleyn, or Sensei Kowal is recommended, although those with zazen experience may be able to start training beforehand and attend the next workshop during their stay.

When can I come to train?

We don’t set fixed periods for training at the Center.  Let us know when you’d like to come, and we’ll work out a start date with you that takes the Center’s schedule into account.  If you’re new to the Center and to Zen practice, we’ll want to have you start with just a week of training, with the option of extending that at your request if your stay is going well.

What are the fees for training?

There is a fee of $100 that applies to the first time you come for training and a daily charge of $25 ($15 for Center members) that is phased out after the first 21 days.  If you wish to attend sesshin while you’re here in training, the cost is the same as the rate for members. (For member rates, please see the Sesshin Application Form.)

If you’re unable to afford the full cost of training, please consider applying to the Training Fund.

The main criterion for acceptance is sincerity, although personal skills may also be considered.

How do I apply?

You can submit a training application here:
Residential Training Application Form