Retreat - Sesshin


Retreat Format

Theme: Topic is changed for each retreat

The retreats are either held at our Zendo or other locations as advised


About our Retreat or Zazenkai Themes 

Most of our themes relate back to "Loving-kindness (Metta/Maitri)" This is the experience of having friendly and loving relationship towards ourselves and others. It’s also the practice of loving experience without the suffering that arises from attachment.  

In truth, many of us harbour harsh thoughts and feelings about ourselves. We experience these feelings to a greater or lesser degree and sometimes they are greatly amplified.  These negative thoughts and feelings can be so overwhelming, that it can be difficult to see where there is even a skilful way out.

In practice, ‘all troubled doors’ can be closed with the practice of Zen. In our daily lives, we use the fruits of Zen practice to not harshly judge ourselves - to be gentle and kind - as we are - here and now.

We can remember one of Buddha’s teachings that we can search the whole tenfold Universe, but we will still not find a single Being more deserving of our Loving-kindness than the one right here.

“Searching all directions with your awareness, 

you find no one dearer than yourself. 

In the same way, others are dear to themselves. 

So you shouldn't hurt others if you love yourself”……………………………The Rājan Sutta 


The regular practice of loving-kindness and right speech, lifts our self-esteem and promotes our well-being, and this in turn lifts the well-being of all those around us.


In this retreat we have the aspiration to apply loving kindness to our own daily lives, as we interrelate with all beings.


We may also hold some ordinations during the retreats. Some of our regular members will step up to enhance their own journey of practice.

This will be a very special and welcoming experience, so please come along and celebrate with our wonderful friends, who are taking this next step on their path.  The ordination ceremony is also a meditative and contemplative experience and a benefit to practice on retreat.

Retreat Schedule

Friday Evening Session

6.30pm Formal Opening of the Retreat

6:45pm One Period of Zazen

7.15 Kinhin walk

7.50 Meditation – Metta/Maitri – Self Care

8.30 Tea/Teisho (DharmaTalk-Steve)

9.00 Close and return home for a peaceful sleep

Saturday Schedule:


Morning Session

7:00 Arrive (Chosho -morning bell tolled 9 times)

7:15-Call to Zazen - (Moktok)

7:30-8:00 One period of Zazen (Chosan- first morning meditation)

8.00-8.30 Chanting and Recitation Service

8:30- Kitchen aids prepare Genkan for breakfast- bring out trays and toaster :-)

8:30-9:15 Breakfast ceremony “Mindful Eating - Silence for the first 30 minutes”

9:15-9:30 Break and kitchen clean up.

Second Morning Session

9.30 am    Bells, Drums and Procession to the Zendo

9.45 am    Traditional wooden tapping (Moktok) and Bell

10.00 am  "Ordination Ceremony" All Welcome

11.30 am    Closing Mantra and photos

12.00 Noon: Lunch and Photos East Gosford Japanese Gardens. (Table is booked)

Afternoon Session

1:30 to 2.30 Anya walk Takuhatsu hats optional  (Bush Walk)

Return to Zendo

3.00-3.30 One period of Zazen

3.30-4:00 Tea/Teisho (Don- Dharma Talk)

4:15-Closing - Konsho  (striking the evening bell) tolled 9 times  _/|\_

4.30 Close and return home for a peaceful sleep 

Sunday Morning Session

7.00  Metta/Maitri Practice

7.30 Kinhin walk

8.00 One period of Zazen

8.30 Tea/ Teisho (Ashwin-Dharma Talk)

8.45 Informal breakfast and Discussion

10:00 Samu (work period)

10:30 One Period of Zazen

11.00 Metta/Maitri Closing Meditation



v  The retreat is about practice and friendship. You are welcome to come along to some or all of the retreat. The Friday night session would be helpful if you are new to practice and are wishing to participate in Saturday or Sunday. Friday night also sets the theme for the weekend. Gentle guidance will also be ongoing throughout the retreat.

v  There are no dues or fees for the retreat, but any small donation to keep our centre running would be gratefully accepted. The donation box is in the Zendo (meditation hall).

v  Please wear blacks or dark colours to limit distraction. OBW clergy please wear full robes and Rakusu. Members please wear your mala.

v  Please do not wear perfumes or colognes. We also don’t use incense at Silky Oak and our candles are made from natural products.

v  Please bring a plate to share for breakfast on the Saturday.

v  Lunch will be at the Japanese Gardens (East Gosford) on Saturday so please bring a little money for that.

v  We will do the Anya (Bush Walk) straight after at Rumbalara (Grass Tree Walk this time). so please bring walking shoes and a hat. As there are only limited Takuhatsu (hats) available, anyone who wishes to purchase their own ahead of time, please contact Hoka Matt at Otherwise any hat will do.

v  Everything has been pre-planned, so please just come along and enjoy.

In Loving Kindness

Jishin Hoka (Matt)

Silky Oak Zen


Make a free website with Yola