Retreat Teachers

At ZMM and ZCNYC

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. He is married to Shoan Ankele, Osho.

Events with Mn. Gokan Bonebakker

Introduction to Zen Training Weekend
May 31 - June 2, 2024

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…

Further Steps Along the Path of Zen: Exploring Wisdom and Compassion
June 14 - 16, 2024

Within the dharma, wisdom and compassion are sometimes spoken of as the two wings of a bird—we need both of them to fly. We can nurture these qualities in how we engage our life as a field of practice. For the most part, the barriers we encounter and the sources of our suffering are created by our misunderstanding of the nature of things. As we begin to develop some insight into the nature of mind, our experience of our life begins to shift. This is what all of Zen practice is pointing towards. During the morning, we will focus on zazen, looking at developing concentration, working with thoughts and emotions, and what it means to cultivate compassion as part of a meditative practice. In the afternoon, our focus will shift to how we can develop our practice off of the cushion. What does concentration look like in the midst of full-on activity? How can awareness transform our experience of difficult feelings on the spot? How does softening and opening to our own experience nurture our compassionate heart?  This weekend retreat is meant to be a follow up to our popular Introduction to Zen Training Weekend. For those interested in doing…

Introduction to Zen Training Weekend
July 5 - 7, 2024

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…

Weekend Sesshin
July 12 - 14, 2024

Because sesshin is a very intensive retreat, if you have not attended sesshin at Zen Mountain Monastery you must have a pre-sesshin interview before you register. If you have questions about this process, please call or email the Training Office at (845) 688-2228, or registrar@dharma.net. Sign up for a pre-sesshin interview here. If registration is full, please Join the Registration Pool.  A weekend sesshin is a great way to experience sesshin for the first time, and also a wonderful opportunity for more experienced practitioners. Characterized by silence and deep introspection, sesshin is recommended to anyone who is sincerely interested in experiencing intensive Zen training. We wake up each day before dawn to begin a schedule that includes 7 to 10 hours of zazen, chanting services, formal silent meals in the zendo (oryoki), silent work practice and talks by the teacher and senior students. Sesshin is an opportunity to receive support from the teachers, draw from the tremendous strength of people practicing together and experience the deep stillness that lies within each one of us. 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…

Introduction to Zen Training Weekend
August 2 - 4, 2024

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…

At Home in Rock and Water: A Wilderness & Meditation Retreat
August 5 - 11, 2024

Zen teachings abound with images from nature. From dew on the grasses to the wind in the pines, the insentient continually offer their profound teachings of being just-as-it-is. In this retreat, we’ll pack our canoes and head into the gorgeous waters of Little Tupper Lake in the Adirondacks, bringing our practice of presence and wonder along for the journey.  We’ll begin at the Monastery on Monday evening, checking our supplies and going over some basic guidelines. On Tuesday morning we’ll head out bright and early, arriving in the Adirondacks with plenty of time to go over some canoeing basics and establish our campsites. From there, we’ll spend a couple of days exploring the area and settling into the wilderness, spending periods of time in silence and beginning and ending each day with zazen together.  The second part of the trip will center meditation practice and time in solitude, allowing time for venturing forth or staying close to camp, taking up art practice, dharma study, and zazen as we feel moved, and soaking in the teachings of the sky, forest, rock and water.  Participants will need to bring their own camping gear and food. The retreat fee includes canoe rental, and we…

Introduction to Zen Training Weekend
September 6 - 8, 2024

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…

Introduction to Zen Training Weekend
October 4 - 6, 2024

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…

Introduction to Zen Training Weekend
November 1 - 3, 2024

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…