Seven Thunders organizes Contemplative Intensive Retreats and Zen Sesshin. Although these practices have certain outward similarities, we do not attempt to merge these two traditions.
Retreats consist of a series of 25 minute sitting meditation periods (zazen) and 5 minutes of walking contemplation (kinhin). There are opportunities for interviews (dokusan) with the teacher (Roshi), a daily work period (samu), Eucharist (Buddhist sutra service at sesshin), conference (Teisho), and vegetarian meals. Silence is observed throughout the retreat with the exception of group recitations and private interviews with the teacher.
Contemplative Intensive Retreats include approximately 8 hours of sitting contemplation each day. Our Contemplative program is modeled after the format established by Fr. Willigis Jaeger, Roshi, a Benedictine monk, who studied Zen in Japan for 6 years with Yamada Koun Roshi. Fr. Jaeger is one of the pioneers in adapting Zen techniques to contemplative Christian practice.
Zen Sesshin consist of 12 hours of zazen daily. The word sesshin means “to touch the mind.” Our sesshin ritual was developed at the Diamond Sangha, which was founded in Honolulu, Hawaii in 1959 by Robert Aitken Roshi and Anne Aitken. Our Zen comes from the Rinzai and Soto schools in Japan.
Please see our event calendar for upcoming retreats.