October Sesshin ~ The Ancient Way to Sanity in an Insane World: 10-day Online Retreat

About This Event

Human society has always been filled with the potential for chaos. Most times we can retreat into nature to restore ourselves with peace and calm. But where can we retreat when nature herself is on fire? The Ancient Way to peace is always available but is not always easy to walk. Come join us to practice and walk the Ancient Way of Sanity. Part time attendance is fine.

Meditation takes time, and deep meditation, which leads to insight, takes more time. This 10-day intensive retreat offers the opportunity to discover places of deep stillness and wonder.

It is our intention to offer the supportive structure to allow you to do a week long meditation retreat at home. You can participate to whatever degree your life allows. Consider the possibility to design your own retreat. Do a work/family sesshin. Take one day this week and make it a retreat day!

This retreat will take place through the zoom app. You will receive a link to the retreat once you register.

Doing a retreat at home can be empowering, take up the practice in your own home and know the peace and clarity of mind in your own dwelling place! To support doing home retreat we recommend doing the following:

1. Reflect on your intention

2. Create a sacred space with a simple altar and meditation supports in a clean room that allows for calm/peace of mind

3. Commit to a schedule, we have a schedule posted below. We ask that you commit to at least 4 hours of meditation a day. Part-time attendance is welcome. Join for a day, the weekend or the whole week. Please let us know the dates you plan to attend.

4. Give up or reduce media, phone and extra computer use for the duration of the retreat

5. Keep the practice going during the “breaks” by engaging with Mindful Eating during meals and choosing simple work (gardening, cleaning, etc.), body practice/exercise (walking, yoga, qi gong) or creative projects that support your meditation practice/intention.

6. Consider being in silence for the whole retreat or practicing silence for specific periods during the day.

7. If you live with others, communicate with them what your intention is for this week of practice and ask them to support you

Approximate Daily  Schedule

Thursday Night

7:30 Introductions/Zazen/Opening Talk

9:20 Closing Chant

Friday 10/16 - Saturday 10/24

4:30 Zazen

6:20 Chanting Service

7:00 Breakfast

8:30 Work Practice

11:00 Zazen

12:50 Chanting Service

1:00 Lunch

3:00 Movement

3:30 Teisho (Dharma Talk)

4:30 Zazen

5:20 Chanting Service

5:30 Dinner

7:00 Zazen

9:30 Formal Tea/Closing Chant/Zazen

Sunday Morning 10/25

6:00 Zazen/Closing Remarks

7:00 Closing Circle

10:00 Sunday Program Chanting Service/Zazen

11:30 Dharma Talk

Venue Highlights

The monastery includes a spacious meditation hall, guest and resident dormitories, dining hall, and a large organic vegetable garden.

Within the forest is Great Vow's famous Jizo Garden, a memorial garden for people who have died, and the newly dedicated Shrine of Vows, a place where people leave tokens of their deep aspirations.


Overnight guests stay in the guest hall (semi-private dormitory), follow the daily monastery schedule, and share meals with the community. A donation is suggested.

Private retreat accommodations are sometimes available for those with significant prior meditation or contemplative experience. Private retreatants can follow their own schedule in solitude.


  • Free Wifi
  • Free Parking
  • Coffee/Tea

Menu Types

  • Vegan
  • Vegetarian
  • Gluten Free
  • Dairy Free
  • Nut Free


Meals are simple. Breakfast is usually hot grain cereal, nuts or nut butter, dairy and non-dairy milk, fruit, yogurt, and tea. Lunch is the most substantial with a main entree, salad, vegetable side, and condiments. Dinner is soup and bread. Many retreats are served as buffet. Zen-style retreats feature meals that are oriyoki, a Zen form of mindful eating in monasteries that goes back 1,000 years. Imagine Zen tea ceremony, but eating. Newcomers are guided on how to do it and people get the hang of it after a couple days. Meals are vegetarian with vegan options. Gluten-free alternatives can be accommodated. Coffee, caffeinated, and herbal tea are provided.


Ride sharing can be arranged from the airport with some advanced notice with our registrar. The monastery is located 80 miles northwest of Portland, Oregon on twenty forested acres overlooking the Columbia River flood plain. The drive takes 80-90 minutes.

Directions from the airport:
1. Take I-205 North to I-5 North. I-5 North to exit 36 Longview (south of Seattle, north of Portland).
2. At the exit travel west on to 432 towards Longview City Center.
3. At the sign to “Highway 30 to Oregon”, turn left (south) onto “Oregon Way” .
4. Cross the Lewis and Clark Bridge into Oregon.
5. Turn right (west) onto Highway 30 towards Astoria. Clatskanie is 12 miles from this point.
6. In Clatskanie turn right at the stoplight onto Nehalem Street
7. Go straight to the end, and then follow the road left onto 5th street.
8. Stay on this road (do NOT take the first left fork to the Poplar Farm).
9. You will reach a fork after 2.9 miles; stay left, on Quincy-Mayger Road. Following the street signs saying “Zen Monastery”.
10. The Monastery is 1.8 miles past the fork, at 79640 Quincy-Mayger Road on the right.

Reviews     To review this event, visit the page for the venue or retreat leaders (above).

  • Cindy Edes   September 30, 2020

      An exceptional week

    I recently returned from my first "Wilderness Sesshin" with Great Vow Zen Monastery. I can assuredly say that I am in a completely different state than when I left a week ago. While the weather conditions may not have provided for "perfect" camping conditions, the conditions were certainly perfect for what I was seeking--immense opportunity for deep, introspective insight and learning. While my experience was very personal, the community of people sharing our time together--meditating, eating, and seeking growth and understanding--was an essential part of this very special week. Soten and Shinei were extraordinary guides, both on the mountain and through learning a better way to live and respond to life's inevitable challenges and changes. Highly recommended.

  • Adel Kedves   September 18, 2020

      Sacred Mirror Retreat

    The Great Vow Zen Monastery, Oregon is a place where u can ALWAYS practice. Even in the time of covid, online. This place provides the best meditation retreats. And now online is available as well. You try once and you just want to do it again and again. The teachers, the sangha is so supportive. They guide you home! Also, we have possibility to share our experience and even have questions every day during the retreat. This is a true blessing in my life. Thank You!!!

  • Rachael Cate   September 15, 2020

      A medicine to help restore well-being and guidance along the path

    I was supported each day by the schedule, which I found gave me an opportunity to go deep into my practice based on carefully thought-out key sessions and transition times. I especially appreciated the freedom the tailor the schedule to my needs while working and watching my daughter from home. I also felt the guidance and support of the teachers was an excellent fit for my practice. From dharma talks to chants to group Sanzen, I had opportunitIes to hear teachings on just what I seemed to be experiencing, adding fresh practices and insights, and to ask my heart’s questions. I also felt very supported by the other participants and their willingness to be honest in vulnerability.

Similar Retreats You Might Like

Thank you!

We're glad you've joined our retreat community. See you around :)

Return to my event ×

Why Retreat?

We asked people why they go on retreat, here's what they said:

To reconnect with my inner self, found ground through the movement of my body and breath. Awake. Jane

Retreat Guru's Vision

We believe human beings are innately wise, strong and kind. This wisdom, although not always experienced, is always present. Going on retreat is a beautiful way to reconnect to our basic sanity and health. Our aspiration at Retreat Guru is to inspire people to experience authentic retreats and reconnect with their innate wisdom, strength and kindness.