Date & Time Details: Friday-Sunday, November 24-26, 2023

Location: Zen Mountain Monastery

Contact: ZMM Registrar
(845) 688-2228


Introduction to Zen Training Weekend

with Geoffrey Shugen Arnold, Roshi, Mn. Shoan Ankele and Mn. Gokan Bonebakker

November 24 - 26, 2023

Whether you’re completely new to Zen Buddhism or looking to deepen your connection, our popular introductory retreat offers an immersive experience in an ideal setting, nestled in the heart of the Catskill Mountains.

During the weekend, you’ll receive instruction in zazen (seated meditation) and have a chance to experience and ask questions about liturgy, work as sacred activity, art and body practice, the teachings of wisdom and compassion, and how to approach Buddhist study. We’ll discuss how to establish a consistent home practice and you’ll receive guidance on bringing mindfulness and clear intention into your work, family, and relationships. You’ll  also have the opportunity for private interview with a teacher to explore the importance of the teacher-student relationship for the spiritual path.

The retreat takes place within the Monastery cloister—a dynamic spiritual community whose everyday activities and concerns are simplified. By entering the cloister for a weekend, you’ll experience a place uniquely conducive to spiritual practice and to connecting to your own innate silence and stillness. While periods of the day are held within that silence, there will also be a number of opportunities to converse with fellow retreat participants, Monastery residents and monastics.

Note: This retreat is a prerequisite for attending a sesshin or becoming a formal MRO student.

As with all in-person retreats at the Monastery, participants are required to follow the current COVID 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.


Geoffrey Shugen Arnold, Roshi
Geoffrey Shugen Arnold, Roshi is the Head of the Mountains and Rivers Order and Abbot of Zen Mountain Monastery. Shugen entered full-time residential training in 1986 after studying mathematics and receiving a degree in classical music. He received dharma transmission from John Daido Loori, Roshi in 1997. His teachings on Zen, social justice and environmental stewardship have appeared in various Buddhist journals, and The Best Buddhist Writing 2009 (Shambhala Publications). His book of poetry, O, Beautiful End, a collection of Zen memorial poems, was published in 2012.
Learn more about Geoffrey Shugen Arnold, Roshi
Mn. Shoan Ankele
Danica Shoan Ankele is a Dharma Holder and Senior Monastic in the Mountains and Rivers Order. A native of New York City, she first came to the Monastery as a sophomore in college and has been in full time residential training since 2007. She became a senior student in 2009 and took full monastic ordination with Shugen Roshi in 2015. Shoan is the Monastery’s Creative Director and Training Coordinator. She also oversees our Tenkozan line of statues and naturally dyed fabrics, designed and produced on the Monastery grounds.
Learn more about Mn. Shoan Ankele
Mn. Gokan Bonebakker
Bear Gokan Bonebakker is a senior monastic and a Dharma Holder. He first came to the Monastery in 1994, and has been in residence since 2007. Gokan is the Operations Director, helps coordinate the National Buddhist Prison Sangha, and works in the orchard.
Learn more about Mn. Gokan Bonebakker