Bodhidharma, the first Zen ancestor, called Zen “a direct transmission outside the scriptures with no reliance on words or letters.” 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.
Training is guided by the abbot, Shugen Roshi, and head-priest Hojin Sensei, both longtime monastics with decades of experience between them. 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.
One of the most important and helpful things you can do before you apply is clarify your motivation. Why are you interested in Zen training? Can you express this to yourself and others in clear and simple terms? Touching in with your aspiration and knowing what brings you to the Monastery will serve you well throughout your residency.
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.
In order to get as clear a sense as possible about what you are stepping into, please spend time with the information on our website, the sections on the One-Month Residency, or Year-Long Intensive, look through our Residency Photo Album, and listen to some of the teachings.
If you’re interested in possibly staying for longer than one month (but less than a year) we usually start with a single month to make sure residency is a good match. However, please be sure to mention you interest when filling out the one-month residency application.
How to Apply
Please read through all of the information about the One-Month Residency, or Year-Long Intensive, and then contact the Training Office at (845) 688-2228 or email@example.com with questions and to request a residency brochure and application. Be prepared to examine your motivation for engaging spiritual practice and to express this motivation in writing and in a phone interview.
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.