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Loon Lake Sesshin: a six-day residential Zen retreat

  • Loon Lake Camp 14500 Silver Valley Road Maple Ridge, BC, V4R 2R3 Canada (map)

Sesshin--a deep immersion in the ancient Way of Zen

Sesshin means "touching the heart/mind". Since the time of the Buddha practitioners  have gathered in community during  the rainy season to deepen their practice and touch  the true nature of Mind. Please join our founding teacher Zoketsu Norman Fischer, guiding teachers Myoshin Kate McCandless and  Shinmon Michael Newton, and shuso (head monk) Jakushin Todd Slobogean for this six-day residential retreat on the shores of pristine Loon Lake. For more information on our teachers click Teachers.

The Facility

Loon Lake Camp is located in the UBC Malcolm Knapp Research Forest,  on a beautiful mountain lake outside Maple Ridge.  Distance from downtown Vancouver is 60 km.  Accommodation is dormitory style (2-4 per room), or double rooms in the new Johnson Building, which has one shared washroom for every two rooms. For more information, see the Accommodations page at the Loon Lake web site.

The Schedule

This is a silent retreat which follows a monastic-style schedule. Full participation in the schedule is expected. Personal modifications to the schedule can be arranged to accommodate special needs, in dialogue with the teachers and ino (head of zendo) at the retreat.  Please note special needs on your registration form, and check in with the ino at the beginning of the retreat if you have any questions or concerns about the schedule.

The daily schedule includes:

  • Zazen: sitting meditation (approximately 6 hours per day)
  • Kinhin: walking meditation
  • Dharma Talks
    • opening talks by the resident teachers
    • daily dharma talks by the teachers, two evening talks by the shuso
  • Oryoki: formal meals in the Japanese Zen tradition (orientation provided)
  • Formal afternoon tea service in the zendo
  • Dokusan: optional individual meetings with teachers
  • Samu:  work practice to maintain the community

Meditation Experience

We recommend that you have some meditation experience prior to participating in this retreat.  You are welcome and encouraged to join Mountain Rain Zen Community for an orientation at one of our regular Wednesday evening or Sunday morning sits, although this is not required.  Practitioners from other traditions are warmly welcome.  Please inquire if you have any questions about whether this retreat is right for you.


Three delicious vegetarian meals are provided daily, as well as coffee, tea, and snacks.  We are happy to accommodate special dietary restrictions providing you advise us in advance through your registration.  Thank you for your understanding.

Fees and Registration

Please register by Oct. 27, so we can order food for the retreat, and make room assignments.


  • Dormitory (3-4 person rooms): $505 (Half-time: $255)
  • Double rooms: $575  (Half-time $290)
  • Single Rooms: $675 (Half-time $340) A limited number of single rooms are available for on a first-come, first-served basis, with priority given to those with special needs.      Please note: As of September 28, there are no more single rooms available. Please register for a double or dorm room, and indicate on your registration form under Comments if you would like to be wait-listed for a single if one becomes available. 
  • Oryoki bowls: $15 (For those who cannot bring their own oryoki set. This fee helps us to maintain our supply of oryoki sets to borrow. 
  • Part-time attendance: see below.
  • Reduced fees available to those on a limited income: see below.

Dana (Donations to the teachers)

  • Retreat fees cover expenses only. Dana (donations) to the teachers can be made at the retreat.

Half-Time Attendance

We ask that half-time attendees arrive only at the beginning of the retreat or by noon on Tuesday, Nov. 14 (in time for lunch). If you have never attended a Zen sesshin and can only attend half-time please plan on coming for the first half  of the retreat so that you can be there for the orientation and oryoki training. 

On the Additional Information form that pops up when you press "Continue Registration," indicate part-time attendance and provide your arrival and departure dates/times. 

If space is available, half-time attendees who can attend the first half, but not all of the second half, may stay extra nights, on a per-night basis. Requests must be made to the registrar. 

Reduced Fee Requests

Reduced fees are available for those on a limited income. To request a reduced fee please fill out a Reduced Fee Request form. (Click the link to open the form.) Then register below, select the "Reduced fee/dormitory" option, and pay the $50 deposit.  You will pay the balance by cheque when you arrive at Loon Lake. We will calculate US/Canadian dollar exchange based on rates at the time.

Note: If you're requesting a reduced fee and require a Single Room due to special needs, please follow the registration instructions above and make your describe your needs in on the Additional Information form, which will pop up after you click the accommodation and oryoki boxes. Or contact the registrar:

On the Additional Information form that pops up when you press "Continue Registration," complete the section on Reduced Fee Requests. The registrar will contact you. 


There is no public transit to Loon Lake. Please arrange carpools on your own as much as possible. Please indicate on the registration form whether you need or can offer a ride. We will do our best to match up those needing rides with those offering rides. This is more challenging for half-time participants. As we are getting more participants coming by air from a distance, and more people are living urban lives without cars, we may ask you to share costs of a rental or co-op car. We will try to let you know arrangements two weeks before the start day. We cannot guarantee rides for late registrants.


Upon receipt of your registration the registrar will send you a confirmation letter with further information about the retreat. If you still have questions or concerns, contact the registrar at

Please note: As of October 17, there are just a few spaces left for this sesshin. Your registration will be dependent on availability of the type of room you request, and gender distribution in the doubles and dorms. Please register for your first choice of accomodation and the registrar will contact you to confirm, or to offer an alternative.

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