Retreat With Me

Lots of people write me emails asking if I’ll be leading any retreats. I’m guessing they’re missing the list of upcoming events at the bottom of every article I put up here as well as the events page. So for those of you who haven’t noticed the lists or that page, or who need more info, here it is.

All of these retreats are specifically designed with beginners in mind.

So you don’t need any training or experience. The only training you need takes about five minutes. Here’s a video. Now you’re ready to start! See you there!

There are a few other events I’m doing this year that are not retreats. Those are listed in the “UPCOMING EVENTS” list below. If you’re not ready to retreat, come to one of those instead.

HollyhockLodge_0005-DAY RETREAT at HOLLYHOCK RETREAT CENTER (near-ish to Vancouver, BC Canada ) July 8-12, 2015

I’ve never been to Hollyhock but it looks like a beautiful place. You can take the video tour.

My retreat there should be very interesting. My retreats aren’t much like the ones they usually have there such as “Balanced Leadership,” “Effective Grant Writing” or “Dreamtime Didjerido.” I’m hoping I’ll go over OK. You can help me out by signing up! I need a few allies who are prepared to sit down, shut up and stare at walls for a few days without writing any grants (effective or otherwise) or playing the didjerido.

I’m going to just do the same stuff I do at all of my retreats. Most of the retreat we’ll be sitting and staring at the bare walls. I’ll offer dokusan (private interviews, very unstructured and not scary at all) to everyone and they say they have great vegetarian meals so that’ll be nice. Plus beautiful scenery!

This will probably not be the venue of this year's Munuch retreat, but who knows!

This will probably not be the venue of this year’s Munich retreat, but who knows!

3-DAY ZEN RETREAT Munich, Germany August 14-16, 2015

This will be my third retreat in München (as the Germans call it). Each time I’ve been there, we’ve done the retreats at a different location. So I’m not certain yet where this one will be. I’m sure it will be some place nice.

The Munich retreats tend to be very low-key, informal, and friendly. They’re a bit like an extended version of the weekly sittings we do in Silver Lake Yoga on Monday evenings. Just some nice people who want to sit and stare at walls together.

Kommen Sie nach dem Rückzug in München!

felsentor_zendo_outside25-DAY RETREAT AT STIFTUNG FELSENTOR (not very close to Lucerne, Switzerland) August 24-29, 2015

I’m looking forward to this retreat a lot because Felsentor was established by Kobun Chino Roshi, who was the teacher of my first Zen teacher Tim McCarthy. I’ve never been there, but it looks gorgeous!

Because it’s a full time Zen center this won’t be one of those retreats where I’m running around for the first day trying to work out how to do zazen in a place that was built to do something completely different. So that will be a relief.

I’m not sure what exactly to expect from this one, so I’m open to anything. It should be fun. So show up and enjoy!

benediktushof045-DAY RETREAT AT BENEDIKTUSHOF MONASTERY (Holzkirchen, Germany, kind of close to Würzburg and not quite as close to Frankfurt) August 30-September 4, 2015

This will be my third retreat at Benediktushof. The place was originally a Benedictine monastery which has now been taken over by a renegade Benedictine monk named Willigis Jäger (whachoo talkin’ ’bout Willigis?) who once pissed off the Pope.

Willigis is into Zen so the space is sort of Christian and sort of Buddhist. It’s also got the best apfelkuchen in the world. So there’s that for incentive! Plus it’s got nice, hotel-style rooms for participants, each with its own shower. So if you’re not into the usual rustic accommodations you often find at Zen spaces this could be the retreat for you.

starclubZEN DAY Hamburg, Germany September 6, 2015

I’ll be returning to Hamburg again this year, but this time one of the events I’ll be leading will be a full day of zazen practice. This isn’t precisely a retreat as such. But it could be a nice starter event for people who aren’t sure they can manage a full retreat.

Hamburg is a cool, rock’n’roll town. I really had fun there last year and I’m sure it’ll be great this year too.

It doesn't look like much, but this center is surrounded by some of the loveliest countryside in all of Finland.

It doesn’t look like much, but this center is surrounded by some of the loveliest countryside in all of Finland.

4-DAY RETREAT Lammi, Finland September 10-13, 2015

Finland is one of my favorite places in the world. Which is weird because before I was invited there for the first time in 2009, all I knew about Finland was that Monty Python song.

It turns out there is a whole lot more going on in Finland than pony trekking and camping or just watching TV. There are saunas and pagan parties in the woods and heavy metal guys all over the place. It’s an amazing country!

Almost every time we do retreats in Finland the days end with a trip to the sauna followed by a plunge in an ice-cold lake. I often opt out of the ice-cold plunges myself.

Hebden Bridge 24-DAY RETREAT Hebden Bridge, England September 16-19, 20015

Hebden Bridge is known internationally as the “Lesbian Capital of Great Britain.” Seriously. I’m not making that up! But whatever your sexual orientation, you’re sure to love this retreat!

Situated in the green rolling English countryside between Manchester and Leeds, Hebden Bridge is a former mining town that has been taken over by artsy hipsters and, yes, a considerable number of lesbians. It’s quaint and it’s cool at the same time. Another one of my favorite places to go.

The retreats we hold there are always very laid-back and nice. It’s just a cozy time with an opportunity to go deeply into oneself and the universe we inhabit. There will be ducks and Marmite!

london_englandTHE ART OF SITTING DOWN & SHUTTING UP London, England September 20, 2015

This is shaping up to be an interesting event. I’m not certain precisely what it will be just yet. Basically it will be a longish introduction to zazen practice with opportunities for discussion.

And it’s in London!

Glastonbury_Abbey,_Glastonbury,_Somerset._(3049676843)2-DAY RETREAT Glastonbury, England September 26-27, 2015

Glastonbury is another place I have not had the pleasure to visit yet. But I’ve heard a lot of wonderful things about it.

This two-day retreat is being hosted by some local Zennies from the Suzuki Roshi lineage (same lineage as San Francisco Zen Center). We’ll be sitting down and shutting up and letting our minds go free. That sounds pretty hippy-ish, right? It should go over well in Glastonbury.

Mt.-Baldy-Night3-DAY RETREAT MT BALDY ZEN CENTER (surprisingly close to Los Angeles, CA) November 6-8, 2015

Yep. We’re doing it again, folks! Here’s the official description: “This three-day intensive retreat will focus primarily on the practice of zazen. Going deeply into silence for several days provides a different perspective than one might experience in shorter day-to-day sittings. Morning chanting services, work periods, and yoga (led by Nina Snow) will round out the daily activities. The program will also feature lectures by Brad and Soto Zen monk and philosophy professor Kevin Bortolin, as well as the opportunity for dokusan (personal meetings) with Brad. Participants will be able to take advantage of this beautiful location for hiking during free periods.”


July 8-12, 2015 Vancouver, BC Canada 5-DAY RETREAT at HOLLYHOCK RETREAT CENTER

August 14-16, 2015 Munich, Germany 3 DAY ZEN RETREAT

August 19, 2015 Munich, Germany LECTURE

August 24-29, 2015 Felsentor, Switzerland 5-DAY RETREAT AT STIFTUNG FELSENTOR 

August 30-September 4, 2015 Holzkirchen, Germany 5-DAY RETREAT AT BENEDIKTUSHOF MONASTERY

September 4, 2015 Hamburg, Germany LECTURE

September 6, 2015 Hamburg, Germany ZEN DAY

September 10-13, 2015 Finland 4-DAY RETREAT

September 16-19, 20015 Hebden Bridge, England 4-DAY RETREAT

September 20, 2015 London, England THE ART OF SITTING DOWN & SHUTTING UP

September 26-27, 2015 Glastonbury, England 2-DAY RETREAT

November 6-8, 2015 Mt. Baldy, CA 3-DAY RETREAT


Every Monday at 8pm there’s zazen at Silverlake Yoga Studio 2 located at 2810 Glendale Boulevard, Los Angeles, CA 90039. All are welcome!

Every Saturday at 9:30 there’s zazen at the Veteran’s Memorial Complex located at 4117 Overland Blvd., Culver City, CA 90230. All are welcome!

Plenty more info is available on the Dogen Sangha Los Angeles website,

* * *

I don’t earn much money on these retreats. I basically make just a bit more than it costs me to fly all over the world and run them. The donations I receive from this blog are my main source of income. All contributions, no matter how small, really help me a lot. Thank you very much!



41 Responses

Page 1 of 1
  1. Fred
    Fred June 17, 2015 at 5:03 pm |

    Will it be possible to sit in a chair while doing zazen at these retreats, question mark

    As you penetrate the basic reality of primordial awareness, what will you be retreating from, question mark

  2. Yoshiyahu
    Yoshiyahu June 17, 2015 at 7:53 pm |

    I have only done one retreat (the DSLA Spring one), but it was very cool and worthwhile.

    That was fluff to get over 60 characters.

    I hope everyone puts rocks in Brad’s shoes. Someone, please do this. Please.

    1. Alan Sailer
      Alan Sailer June 18, 2015 at 8:17 am |

      If you send me a package of rocks I’ll do my best. They will need to be good and spiky for the best effect.


      1. Yoshiyahu
        Yoshiyahu June 18, 2015 at 12:48 pm |

        If you to go Culver City on Saturday I can deliver some to you!

  3. skatemurai
    skatemurai June 18, 2015 at 5:30 am |

    Nobody responded to my comment here ever. Please somebody respond 🙁

    1. Shodo
      Shodo June 18, 2015 at 9:08 am |

      Never fear! I respond to you in pictures. 🙂

    2. minkfoot
      minkfoot June 18, 2015 at 10:17 am |

      I responded to you in a dream, but you must have slept right through it!

      Nice gif, Shodo! Not many images can leave one wondering just how kinky they are.

      And a bunch of other stuff – um . . . How are you all doing? I’m back in Vermont just in time for solstice. Where the witches be at?

    3. Fred
      Fred June 18, 2015 at 5:08 pm |

      That’s not true Skatemurai.

      Previously you posted:

      March 3, 2015 at 11:57 am

      Brad please, write a book with your commentaries on Kodo Sawaki´s sayings.

      I replied:

      March 3, 2015 at 12:02 pm

      “Zazen is to stop being a person.”

      1. Fred
        Fred June 18, 2015 at 5:17 pm |

        “You say you want to become a better person by doing zazen. Zazen isn’t about learning how to be a person. Zazen is to stop being a person.”

        1. Mumbles
          Mumbles June 19, 2015 at 7:28 am |

          Ha ha. That zany Kodo… Kodo? Kodo?! Huh. He was just here a minute ago. Kodo?

        2. minkfoot
          minkfoot June 20, 2015 at 2:15 pm |

          The courtly French philosopher swaggered into the bar and jauntily commandeered a stool. The bartender said, “Welcome, my good fellow! Do you fancy a pint of ale?”
          The philosopher placed the point of his finger on the point of his chin, and replied, “I think not.”


        3. skatemurai
          skatemurai June 21, 2015 at 7:38 am |

          Haha, I didn’t noticed that you replied. Thanks. Maybe I should be satisfied with already published books with Kodo Sawaki’s sayings and commentaries and focus on practice itself.

  4. skatemurai
    skatemurai June 18, 2015 at 5:33 am |

    How much money for
    August 14-16, 2015 Munich, Germany 3 DAY ZEN RETREAT?
    I can’t find anything on their website.

    1. Annette
      Annette June 19, 2015 at 9:43 am |

      You can write an email to mail!at!, then I can give you all the information for the retreat.

  5. soontobeBASSISTmasterjoe
    soontobeBASSISTmasterjoe June 18, 2015 at 7:33 am |

    I may have to open up my schedule to be with you. Righteous post, and good job completing it after it got deletedddd (strongBad voice).

  6. Shodo
    Shodo June 18, 2015 at 9:10 am |

    Sigh… Munich.
    I even been to where that picture was taken, Neuschwanstein Castle. I could spend weeks eating at every Beer Garden. Someday I hope to go there again… Most beautiful place I have ever been.

  7. DharmaFox
    DharmaFox June 19, 2015 at 6:27 am |

    Hello Shodo,

    maybe it’s best to write to the dojo directly:


    All the best,


  8. The Grand Canyon
    The Grand Canyon June 20, 2015 at 7:43 am |

    Dun dun dun dun dun dun
    Dun dun dun dun dun dun
    Dun dun dun dun dun dun dun dun
    Dun dun dun dun dun dun dun dun
    Major Lazer…,p5,d0

  9. Mumbles
    Mumbles June 20, 2015 at 11:37 am |

    From the nearly-dead files, when one door closes, another opens somewhere, you just have to be ready, standing behind it, possibly knocking…getting that perfect number of characters on your side…

    1. minkfoot
      minkfoot June 20, 2015 at 3:47 pm |

      Tnx for making your stuff available.

      Kind of reminds me of Jay Kinney manifesting Gnosis magazine. I remembered Kinney’s name, but don’t know if I came across any of your comics back in ye olde days. Hmm . . . On further research, seems like you were active twenty years later.

    2. anon 108
      anon 108 June 20, 2015 at 4:50 pm |

      Yes – Thanks, John. Breadth and depth….Breadth and depth…Breadth and depth.

  10. Mumbles
    Mumbles June 20, 2015 at 5:32 pm |

    Thanks for appreciating it, guys! I’ll be adding things, so please do check in now and then. Yes, Jay Kinney & Gnosis magazine, I was a fan. &My comics daze happened later, yep.

    Oh, &Malcolm, my band THE EXCUSES played a 3 hour gig outside on Main street during an arts fair thing last night, it was a blast! Exhausted, today tho.

  11. Mark Foote
    Mark Foote June 20, 2015 at 7:57 pm |

    “The New Embarrassment Singers”- “The Unprofessionals”- “John E & His Imaginary Friends”- great names.

    Wish I could say I was exhausted from a three hour gig!- maybe I’ll just step out to the local karioke parlor… maybe Shakey will be there by the fire, to sit and talk of Maui and the big corps there that try us…

  12. Mumbles
    Mumbles June 20, 2015 at 9:59 pm |

    Thanks Mark, i hope you hit the karioke parlor, and did a Shakey tune or two. We cover only a handful of tunes, doing mostly original stuff, but I dusted off “Love and Only Love” the other night, invoking the Horse!

  13. buddy
    buddy June 20, 2015 at 10:04 pm |

    Two things about that Hollyhock retreat: 1. They have the link for your website wrong (‘’) and 2. Holy crap it’s expensive! $495 not including meals or accommodations?? Most retreats (including yours) are about that much with 3 squares and a place to sleep.

    1. Shodo
      Shodo June 21, 2015 at 7:26 pm |

      “Holy crap it’s expensive! $495 not including meals or accommodations?? Most retreats (including yours) are about that much with 3 squares and a place to sleep.”

      It’s cheaper…
      Full week sesshin cost at ZMM for non-students is 275$.
      200$ even if you are a student.

  14. anon 108
    anon 108 June 21, 2015 at 5:15 am |

    Mark, replying to Mumbles: “Wish I could say I was exhausted from a three hour gig!”

    Me too…perhaps. I am becoming increasingly fed up with previously referenced all-controlling accompanist. Does that count? /off-topic vent.

    Yes, retreats cost money. Which is understandable, and fine if you’ve got some. But $495 for 4/5 days not including meals or accommodations does sound very expensive indeed, Canada.

  15. Mark Foote
    Mark Foote June 21, 2015 at 10:46 am |

    anon 108- “wish I could say I was exhausted from three hours of ecstatic music with a virtuoso accompanist, but all I got was a box top that couldn’t be redeemed for prizes.”

    I noticed that Brad’s Mt. Baldy retreat cost about twice what retreats at my local Zen center cost- I figure that’s because Brad has to pay the normal retreat fee to the Zen center, and then charge for his part on top of that. What else can he do!- he doesn’t have a proper Zen Center of his own. That’s my assumption (correct me if I’m wrong, mtto, mb, bw…).

    1. anon 108
      anon 108 June 22, 2015 at 4:03 am |

      Mark, are you suggesting I put aside my challenged ego and count my blessings? If so, I get that. I’ve been doing it a lot lately. No choice.”Opportunity for practice,” isn’t that what they call it?

      But the lady in question is a teacher (her justification when challenged: “But this is what I do!”). As a pianist, she’s competent. But she’s certainly not a virtuoso. And her opinions (on everything from tempo to lighting to dress code) are no more correct than anyone else’s – something she has trouble grasping.

      It’s not always easy to relinquish views and access the ecstasy when you’re being told what not to do every two minutes. Particularly when one’s own thoughts are being dismissed, ignored or, at best, very occasionally, tolerated.

      What would the Buddha do? Abstain from dancing, singing, music and unseemly shows, I guess. I’m sure the concert will be a blast.

      1. Shinchan Ohara
        Shinchan Ohara June 22, 2015 at 6:34 am |

        Buddha say, “f*** ’em if they can’t take a joke”

        I’ve always found when it comes to musical collaboration that talent is inversely correlated with arseyness.

        You might need to accept the frustration and, accept that the performance won’t be 100% what you hoped, and curse the besom internally if helps get you through the day. In my unenlightened opinion

        1. anon 108
          anon 108 June 22, 2015 at 7:34 am |

          Thanks for the reassurance and advice, Shinchan (no, really!). I believe in Internally Cursing Buddha.

          Fortunately there are two other members of the ensemble who are – or until very recently, were – proper virtuosos. And yes, neither of them are remotely arsey. They use to play with wassername now and again but the connection was somehow severed. They appear to have learnt the lesson of flowing. I’m reasonably confident the concert will be a blast.

          1. Mumbles
            Mumbles June 22, 2015 at 10:17 am |

            Malcolm, Is this Incredible String Band link relevant to what you are playing in concert, or are you playing on this recording??! Hadn’t heard them for years, thanks!!

            (P.S. Made me thirsty)

          2. anon 108
            anon 108 June 22, 2015 at 12:51 pm |

            Playing on the recording? /falls into reverie…. Can’t say I am, John.

            I wrote of the two non-arsey, wassername-adjusted virtuosos,”They appear to have learnt the lesson of flowing” ~~

            “Water, water, see the water flow
            Glancing, dancing, see the water flow
            O wizard of changes, water, water, water

            Dark or silvery mother of life
            Water, water, holy mystery, heavens daughter
            Wizard of changes teach me the lesson of flowing

            God made a song when the world was new
            Waters laughter sings it through
            O wizard of changes teach me the lesson of flowing

            God made a song when the world was new
            Waters laughter sings it through
            Wizard of changes, water, water, water”

          3. anon 108
            anon 108 June 22, 2015 at 1:27 pm |

            Of course, she’s probably publishing similar opprobrium about me on Hardcore C of E. The mirror principle…

    2. mtto
      mtto June 22, 2015 at 10:58 am |

      Hi Mark,
      RE: your local retreat center, $175 for a three-day retreat, food and lodging included, is an incredible deal! It’s great they can do that. My wife and I recently spent one night at a Motel 6 in Camarillo and it was $120. Not a one-to-one comparison, but still, $175 is an impressively low cost, even for just food and housing.

      We pulled the $350 number out of Brad’s experience at retreats where he was the guest teacher. We knew there would be expenses we hadn’t anticipated on top of the cost of paying for renting the space for attendees including our 2 (now 3) teachers. And we wanted to guarantee that we could pay the teachers something, even if our request for “teacher dana” at the end of the retreat didn’t match up to what we wanted to pay the teachers. AND we have a scholarship program, so some of every “full price” registration goes to offset the cost of “student/financial hardship” registrations. For the most part, it seems to work out.

  16. Qiujaviit
    Qiujaviit June 22, 2015 at 4:47 am |

    Definitely interested in the retreat in Finland.
    I hope to read more about it in the near future.

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