Sesshin and Ango

Ryumonji offers monthly weekend retreats (sesshin) throughout the year. Please refer to the Yearly Schedule for dates.
Sesshin (literally, “collecting the mind”) is a structured retreat of multiple periods of zazen, formal oryoki meals, work practice, and observation of silence. While sesshin is open to beginners, you may wish to have a little sitting experience before undertaking sesshin.

Ryumonji sesshins begin at 7:30 p.m. on Friday evening with an orientation. An informal dinner is offered at 5:30 p.m. on Friday. You are welcome to come anytime before sesshin begins. Sesshin concludes with informal lunch on Sunday.

If you are not familiar with Ryumonji, it is recommended that you plan to arrive during daylight hours. Because of its remote location, Ryumonji may be difficult to find after dark.

Bedding and towels are provided in the Kuin building for sesshin participants. Housing is dormitory style. There are 16 guest beds; overflow participants can be housed on mats in the Buddha Hall.

There is refrigeration space available if you have special dietary or medication items that require refrigeration. Please let Ryumonji know when you register if you have food allergies or medical conditions that require special dietary considerations.

ANGO (PRACTICE PERIOD)

Ryumonji offers a traditional Winter and Summer Ango. Dates for the ango can be found in the Yearly Schedule.

Ango (practice period) is an opportunity to experience residential monastic life and training. Literally, “Ango” means “Dwelling in One Place in Peace and Harmony.”

Registration for full time or part time participation can be arranged. The requirement for ango participation is previous attendance at a minimum of one weekend sesshin at Ryumonji.

GUIDELINES FOR SESSHIN AND ANGO

Registration
Please register online, call or e-mail Ryumonji to register (also to cancel). We would appreciate knowing your arrival and departure dates and times. Try to attend the entire sesshin or ango if at all possible.

Arrival
Those arriving Friday are welcome to join us for an informal meal around 5:30pm. On your arrival please read the schedule and assignment sheets posted in the kuin dining room or lower level kuin, bottom of stairs

Attire 
Monks/Priest: full robes for zazen, service and oryoki meals. Lay Ordained: lay sitting robe or clean, modest street clothing and rakusu. Other lay persons: clean, modest street clothing. (shorts, halter tops, sleeveless or see through tops are not appropriate for sesshin.) Please bring outer and indoor footwear (slippers are worn inside). Please wear indoor footwear in kuin, including kitchen. No footwear or socks are worn in the Buddha Hall.

Meals
Please notify the Tenzo (head of kitchen) if you have food allergies or medical/dietary needs (such as diabetes) that require special diet. Meals are taken with community and we eat what is offered at assigned meal times and tea. Nothing is made available after the evening meal. No food or beverages in the Buddha Hall.

Wake Up
The community gets up at the same time when the wake up bell is rung. No need to set your alarm clock. Please stay in bed until you hear the bell as to not disturb others who are sleeping.

Zazen
You will hear 3 hits on the Han five minutes before start of zazen . Please be on time. You should be settled in your seat when the Doshi enters. If you need to exempt yourself from part of the schedule or leave sesshin early, please let the Ino know. A bench or chair may be used during zazen.

Silence
Silence should be held throughout sesshin as much as possible. During work periods & kitchen duty please speak quietly. This silence also includes opening /closing doors, handling utensils etc. The Great Silence begins after evening zazen until morning service. Please observe this silence for the benefit of the entire community.

Computers/Cell Phones
Please leave computers and cell phones turned off during sesshin. The office director (kanin) will let anyone know of emergency calls.

Departure
On the day of your departure please strip your sheets/pillow case from your bed. Gather your towels you have used and put them in the laundry room. Also remove oryoki linens from your bowls at the end of the last oryoki meal.

There are no fees for sesshin or ango participation. Free-will dana offerings are customarily offered.

Please refer to the Yearly Schedule for dates of sesshins and angos and Sesshin Schedule and Ango Schedule for daily schedules of sesshins and angos.

If you have questions please contact Ryumonji office by phone at (563) 546-1309 or e-mail at office@ryumonji.org.