ZMM Residential Training

Residential training, with its emphasis on lived experience rather than theoretical knowledge, is a uniquely powerful way to study and practice Zen. It offers time and space for you to delve into your deepest questions about life and death, and a refuge from the consumerism, distraction and often self-centered ambition of contemporary culture.

In the words of Bodhidharma, the first Zen ancestor, Zen is “a direct transmission outside the scriptures with no reliance on words or letters; a direct pointing to the human mind.” The basis of our practice together is self inquiry in the context of Buddhist teachings, and a commitment to community harmony and well being.

Training is guided by the abbot, Shugen Roshi, with the assistance of priest Shoan Osho and dharma-holder Gokan, all of them longtime monastics with decades of experience. If you have a serious interest in Zen training, and the flexibility to step out of your ordinary life for a period of a week, a month, or longer, then residency may be for you. All residents participate in a wide range of study and practice opportunities, bringing the dharma to life. You can explore options for residency below, and view the application process here.

We do our best to provide applicants with a sense of what residency is like, but even with this information, it’s safe to say that your image of what residential Zen training is like will not match the actual experience. In some ways, residency will exceed your expectations, providing you with a transformative experience that continues to unfold in deep and subtle ways long after you leave. In other ways, life here can be very ordinary, and learning to let the mind settle down in zazen takes time and discipline.

Monthly, ongoing

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One Month Residency

The Monastery’s residential sangha is made up of monastics, who make a lifetime commitment, and lay residents, who commit to being here for a week, a month, or a year or two. A one-month retreat is our most popular way to enter; it offers an intense and varied experience, suitable for brand new and seasoned practitioners alike.

During your first week of residency, you’ll meet with the teachers and senior monastics to receive instruction in zazen and get oriented to the Monastery. The first week concludes with an Introduction to Zen Training Retreat, in which you will receive grounding in basic Zen teachings and an introduction to the Eight Gates.

Anyone participating just for a week would join those who are beginning a month of residency. If you’re interested in staying for longer than one month, we usually start with a single month to make sure residency is a good match. However, please be sure to mention your interest when filling out the residency application.

For more details about residency, including the practice schedule at various times of the year, see this page.

Annually, ongoing

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Year Long Residency

For those wishing to devote an extended period of time to their spiritual practice, the Year-Long Intensive is a demanding but life-transforming experience. Committing to a year allows you to benefit from the seasonal rhythms of the schedule, build a deeper connection to the sangha, develop a relationship to the teachers and seniors, and feel how your practice matures over time.

As a year-long resident, you take on some very real responsibilities essential to running the Monastery and its programs, including working independently and supervising others. Because of this, year-long residents are asked to enter with a strong, clear sense of commitment. This means also appreciating the ways in which the Monastery sangha is committing to you, too. As a year-long resident, you’ll have an amazing opportunity to practice meeting your limits and releasing any investment in having them define you. You can see how life can become much bigger than how you feel at any particular moment, and where genuine peace of mind arises from.

The daily schedule for year-long residents is the same as for the month-long residents, but extended residency requires that you approach your practice and your work with a longer view, harmonizing with the seasonal shifts and giving yourself completely to the unfolding experience. Scholarships are available to all year-long residents.

Zen Mountain Monastery

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A community devoted to self-inquiry, harmony and awakening:

Our commitment to making the Monastery an inclusive place for everyone who wishes to study Buddhadharma includes acknowledging the history and enduring karma of structural oppression in our country, and the inequities that persist today. If you are a woman, BIAPoC (Black, Indigenous, Asian, or Person of Color), LGBTQIA (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, intersex, asexual, agender, or other), or economically disadvantaged, we welcome and especially encourage you to apply. Different types of financial assistance are available.

For more information on shorter term retreats see our Programs page, and for sangha led affinity groups to choose from, please check out the Staying Connected page and the Sangha Zazen from Home page.

Contact us!


Applying for Residency

You might start reading the residency application and wonder, Am I qualified for this? If so, we want you to ask. We know you might need more information, or have a special situation, or just need a boost of confidence. So, reach out. We really do want to hear from you if you have questions.

Please note that the application process generally takes 3-4 weeks; it is best to apply at least a month ahead of the time you would like to come to the Monastery.

If you are interested in residential training and are involved in work, school or other obligations in the New York City area, you might consider a period of residency at Zen Center of New York City: Fire Lotus Temple, the MRO’s city branch.