Twice a year at Dai Bosatsu Zendo, a traditional three-month training period affords Zen students a rare opportunity to explore and deepen their practice. This year, Spring Kessei starts March 21 and runs through July 9, and Fall Kessei runs from September 19 through December 9.
Kessei includes a schedule of daily meditation, chanting, study, and working together in a stunningly beautiful remote setting. Kessei participants learn traditional Rinzai Zen forms and engage in daily monastic practice under the guidance of Abbot Chigan Roshi and senior residents.
Nestled deep in the mountains, a beautiful Japanese-inspired monastery perches above the highest natural lake in the Catskills, surrounded by 1,400 acres of pristine wilderness. During Spring Kessei, the ice across the lake begins to crack and melt, gradually the snow covering fades away, the deer and birds return, tadpoles appear in the water, and tender shoots emerge from the forest floor manifesting the miracle of new life, day by day, until summer blossoms. The environment and program allow participants to immerse themselves completely in the present moment, a rarity in our typically hectic, multitasking life.
Students will be assigned samu (work practice), which includes tasks such as cooking, cleaning, and caring for our buildings and grounds. Yoga, breath work, and other body practices are a part of the daily schedule, as are personal and group study periods. Sesshin, a silent week of intensive practice and deep introspection, is held once a month during kessei.
Learn more about the kessei experience as described by Abbess Emerita Shinge Roshi in this short video.
We welcome applications from those whose aspirations, sincerity, and dedication are strong. Although the traditional length of kessei training is three months, shorter stays are possible.
The fees for kessei are $2,000 for the full three months; $1,500 for two months; $1,000 for one month; and $500 for two weeks. Experienced practitioners are welcome for shorter stays. No one will be turned away for lack of funds. To learn more or to apply for Spring Kessei, email the DBZ office at firstname.lastname@example.org.