Buddha’s Enlightenment Vigil
with MRO Teachers and Senior Staff
December 8 - 10, 2023
After he left his family’s home to seek liberation from suffering, Shakyamuni Buddha spent some years studying with spiritual teachers and engaging in extreme ascetic practices. Through it all, he remained unsatisfied that he had resolved his search. Inspired by a memory of an experience of deep, easeful meditation he’d experienced in his youth, he sat down at the base of a bo tree, took the zazen posture, and resolved not to rise until he had settled his questions. That morning, upon seeing the morning star, he realized annuttarasamyak-sambodhi, supreme perfect enlightenment.
At Zen Mountain Monastery, we celebrate the Buddha’s enlightenment with a vigil dedicated to the simple yet profound practice of zazen, which Dogen Zenji called the “dharma gate of ease and joy.” We’ll begin after supper Friday evening with introductory remarks and a renewal of our bodhisattva vows. Then, we’ll mark the Buddha’s enlightenment by sitting together through the night and day.
In the spirit of hermitage practice, participants will be invited to sit at their own pace, do walking meditation, rest when needed, and maintain a wholehearted mind of meditation throughout the vigil. A buffet table will be available in the dining hall for meals. Green tea will be offered during the night sitting. The vigil will extend through Saturday evening. The silence will be lifted on Sunday morning at breakfast.
Please note: Those wishing to attend the Vigil should have completed at least one other retreat at Zen Mountain Monastery, and if you plan on staying overnight you are asked to preserve the harmony of the program by staying until the conclusion of the retreat on Sunday at noon.
As with all in-person retreats at the Monastery, participants are required to follow the current protocol for keeping everyone safe (this link is updated frequently so check back). Review the current protocol requirements before registering, and if you have further questions, please contact the registrar.
Financial concerns should not prevent you from attending a program at the Monastery. If you can’t afford the program fee, you can see these options.
Many of our retreats are co-led and facilitated by both lay and monastic teachers as well as senior monastics in the order. To learn more about our teachers and staff, visit this page.
Learn more about MRO Teachers and Senior Staff