Residential Program

About Our Residential Program

Residency at Great Vow Zen Monastery is a precious opportunity to devote your energy to full-time Buddhist practice. The practice of Awakening brings healing, transformation, compassion and stability into one’s heart and life. Join us for one of our residency programs.

What is Residency at Great Vow?

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 methods in calm-abiding, insight, koan, shikantaza and loving kindness are all taught and practiced within this community.

There is a rigor to the daily monastic schedule which supports 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/liturgy services at the monastery. Throughout the year we focus on different aspects of practice from body practice (yoga, qi gong and running), to creative process and the study of the Buddhist sutras.

All residents participate in Sesshin, our monthly weeklong silent meditation retreat, weekend meditation retreats, weekly classes and engage in direct study with a teacher.

If you are a woman, a person of color, LGBTQ* or economically disadvantaged, we welcome and especially encourage you to apply. Different types of financial assistance are available.

Winter Creative Process Practice Period

February 1st – March 27th
Veering more towards the spontaneous, this practice period draws on the wisdom of art practice as an investigation into the nature of mind.

Every Autumn, Great Vow residents are nurtured by the mysteries of autumn and dive into an all embracing practice period of deeper silence and extended retreat. 


Spring Practice Period

April 5th – June 29th
Spring offers more  opportunities to work in and explore the natural world. This period also dives into a more rigorous Zazen schedule than the winter practice container. 

Information & Application for Residency

Those in residential training commit to at least one month of residency though shorter guest stays are welcomed. 

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.

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

Summer Program

Our most popular period of residency is the Summer Program, a 6-week session of immersive Zen practice. Summer Program is designed to give you a genuine glimpse into Zen monastic practice as it is currently being expressed in this country.  Our intention is to nurture a heart centered, embodied practice life and to bring deep presence, wisdom and compassion forward  in our day to day experience. The residential fee is reduced to $250 during the Summer Program, though donations are welcomed.