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Rohatsu Virtual Retreat 2021

December 6 @ 6:00 pm - December 12 @ 1:00 pm

Meditators from all traditions are invited to our deep winter retreat!  The Rohatsu Sesshin is the most important retreat in the Zen calendar that brings together practitioners to commemorate Shakyamuni Buddha’s awakening.

“Rohatsu” is Japanese for “eighth day of the twelfth month.” December 8 is the day the historical Buddha is said to have awakened and become enlightened, bringing new light into the world at the darkest phase of the year. The “12/8 retreat” is a staple in the SanboZen curriculum.

During Rohatsu we create a space for sinking down into the deepest human experience of peace, energy and love. After the turbulence and uncertainty of the last few years, this is a ripe and welcome time to gather together in stillness and silence.

This year, we are offering an online Rohatsu Session, streamed live from Mountain Cloud Zen Center, where a small “skeleton crew” will be conducting the retreat. Led by Valerie Forstman and Henry Shukman – this is the first retreat in nearly two years to come directly from Mountain Cloud’s home zendo

What is retreat?

The Zen word for retreat is “sesshin.” Sesshin can be variously rendered as “encounter of the heart,” “governing the heart-mind,” “gathering the mind,” or “together in one mind.” Six days of quieting, deepening, ingathering, and encountering the core of who we truly are.

In the Zen tradition, commitment to extended periods of practice dates back to the time of Shakyamuni Buddha. The Buddha’s own sitting, devoted and immovable, under the bodhi tree is often cited as the inspiration for sesshin.

With longer sitting: 

  • the mind tends to settle
  • the heart becomes more tender, available
  • the body more readily anchored, balanced
  • the posture more upright and at ease: fully relaxed, fully alert.

The Rohatsu sesshin is a staple in the SanboZen curriculum. In the Zen tradition, Rohatsu marks the time of the Buddha’s great awakening. 


Rohatsu begins on Monday evening December 6 at 7:00pm MT. A full orientation will take place on Tuesday December 7 at 9:30am MT.  The sesshin will conclude on Sunday December 12 at lunch time.

Rohatsu Daily Schedule 
6:00-7:30am     Sitting
7:30-9:30           Breakfast, samu, rest
9:30am-noon    Sitting and dharma talk
Noon-1:30          Lunch and rest
1:30-5:00pm      Sitting and Q&A
5:00-7:00pm     Dinner, rest, personal time
7:00-8:30pm     Sitting (Monday-Saturday)

You can attend part or all of the retreat. We welcome those of you who are new to multi-day retreats. If you would like to sit with us for one, two or  more days, please give it a try.  If you are unable to commit to all days or all times during the day, come when you are able. Our zoom zendo without doors makes it easy for this to happen without disturbing those who are diligently sitting for the entire retreat. Teishos (dharma-talks) are open to all, at 10am each day. Please make a donation for the teisho, if you are able

$150 – Minimum or part-time fee
$250 – Full fee
$350 – Benefactor fee

Please pay as generously as you are able, but we understand that some of you will need financial assistance. If so, please contact Johanna to make arrangements. Thank you.

Rohatsu 2021 Virtual Retreat

  • e.g. friend, web-search, teacher, book, etc
    Please pay as generously as you are able, but we understand that some of you will need financial assistance. If so, please contact Johanna to make arrangements.
  • $0.00


December 6 @ 6:00 pm
December 12 @ 1:00 pm
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