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Month Long Residential Monastic Program

Residency at Great Vow Zen Monastery is a precious opportunity to direct your energy to waking up and clarifying the truth of this human life, developing compassion, and living in service to others.

Month-long residency at Great Vow offers a modern, modified version of traditional Zen Buddhist monastic practice. With 3 - 4 hours of daily meditation, residents are given the time, guidance and support to deeply enter the path of meditation - unifying, clarifying and opening the heart/mind. Meditation techniques/methods in calm-abiding, insight (koan), shikantaza and loving kindness are all taught and practiced within this communtiy.

There is a rigor to the daily monastic schedule which encourages a wholehearted engagement with every activity of life. Residents follow the daily schedule including dawn and evening meditation, five to six hours of community work practice, mindful eating, and Zen chanting/lituergy services at the monastery. 

During the Fall, Oct-Dec we have an Autumn Ango, a three-month soft retreat. Meditation increase to 5 hours a day, we study a Buddhist sutra together and have daily body practice (yoga, running, qi gong) sessions.

The deep stillness and single-minded focus of the monthly sesshin (week-long silent zazen intensives) provides the energizing core of residency. Workshops and classes ranging from contemplative arts to compassionate communication broaden our expression of wisdom. Practicing in community opens the heart and supports the aspiration for awakening. Intimate study with mature Zen teachers gives invaluable guidance and inspiration. 

Great Vow is also nested temperate rainforest and rests on 20 acres of land with meadows, an active vegetable garden and orchards. During Late Spring to Early Autumn residents will find themselves working, practicing and meditating in, on and with the natural landscapes of the monastery's grounds. Harmonizing with the teachings from the natural world.

Information and Application for Residency

Those in residential training commit to at least one month of residency though shorter guest stays are possible. The initial cost for residential training is $500 per month. The training fee covers room, meals, monthly sesshin, and most other retreats and workshops. Scholarships are sometimes available; please inquire.

  • We have a reduced fee of $250 during the Summer Program months.
  • Ordained and monastics are always welcome at no cost.
  • It is recommended that someone visit before applying; there are options for shorter overnight stays to see if residential training is right for you.

Residential Training Guidelines and Agreements may be viewed here.

For more information about residential training and to obtain an application, contact the Director of Training.