Sesshin is an essential part of Zen training. To encounter sesshin is "to touch the heart/mind. Rarely, in this world of hustle and bustle, do we get to live inside the beating heart of retreat. Once there, we find extended, deep and all pervasive  silence, liturgy, formal monastic meals, Dharma teachings and meeting with the teacher. Intensive practice periods allow us to go deeper into the mystery of awakening. Dwelling in the ancient hall facing an ancient wall on which is hung the  true mirror  we deepen our appreciation for our true nature--Loving, Kind, Boundless. Come and live for a time in the way that the ancestors have meticulously passed down to us.

Thank you for your interest in attending Sesshin with the Buddhist Temple of Toledo. Below, you'll find information about the upcoming retreats. 


Please be aware that all Buddhist Temple of Toledo services, ceremonies, meetings, and other activities are virtual-only through May 31, 2020 to slow the spread of COVID-19.

March, April, and May sesshin retreats have been cancelled. 

Our Teachers will offer alternative practices to fill the space left in our Ango practice, but these will not be "virtual sesshin."


2020 Sesshin Schedule

January 16-19, Thurs - Sun.

February 13-16, Thurs - Sun.

CANCELLED March 12-15 Ango Opening, Thurs - Sun.

CANCELLED April 9-12, Thurs - Sun.

CANCELLED May 4-10, Mon. - Sun.

There is no June sesshin in 2020. Instead, BTT will hold its annual non-residential Teachings Retreat June 15 - 20, Mon. - Sat. 9 AM - 5 PM.

July 9-12 Vow Writing, Thurs - Sun.

August 3-9 Jukai Sewing, Mon. - Sun.

September 17-20 Ango Opening, Thurs - Sun.

October 15-18, Thurs - Sun.

November 19-22, Thurs - Sun.

December 7-13,  Rohatsu Sesshin, Mon - Sun. Rohatsu Sesshin (Shoken students and 2020/2021 Shoken initiates only)



How to Register

BTT Sangha members will receive registration instructions via email each year. Contact the Registrar ( if you are a member and have not received the instructions.

Am I ready for my first sesshin with BTT?
First time sesshin participants attend part of one day of retreat, usually 8:15 AM - 6:30 PM.

As a first time participant, you will be registered during an orientation interview. If you would like to attend your first sesshin with BTT or have questions, please contact Zuisei (Facebook messenger or email to plan and register at least 2 weeks prior to the sesshin you wish to attend.

Sesshin is an intense and immersive experience that deepens our Zen meditation practice. Although we occasionally make exceptions, before coming to sesshin you are expected to:

  • Receive beginning instruction in Zen meditation, and
  • Practice zazen with the Great Heartland Sangha for at least 1 month, with a preference for Wednesday evenings, and
  • Meet our Teachers, Reverends Rinsen and Do'on in person, and
  • Become a member of the Buddhist Temple of Toledo, and
  • Arrange your schedule so that you can attend a single commuter day of sesshin beginning with an orientation at 8:15am, and
  • Participate in a 30-60 minute private orientation interview with Zuisei or Kaishin. Zuisei and Kaishin are volunteers who have full time commitments outside the Temple, so please contact us to schedule your interview at least 2 weeks prior to the retreat you wish to attend.

Sesshin at the Buddhist Temple of Toledo is community-funded rather than a fee-for-service model. Donations from members over the cost of retreat for the entire sangha. Please consider your intention and ability to support for sesshin practice for the community when making your annual membership pledge.

What if I'm not a member? Sesshin at the Buddhist Temple of Toledo is community-funded by the sangha and is mainly held to support sangha members' deepening their practice. On rare occasions someone who is not a member will receive special permission to attend a BTT sesshin -- generally someone with a close personal connection with a Sangha member -- such as a family member joining our Jukai retreat in support for a family member preparing to take Jukai. In these cases, the Temple welcomes a free will donation of any amount to support sesshin practice, but does not require any contribution.


Buddhist Temple of Toledo
6537 Angola Road,
Holland, Ohio 43528

Please park in the spots closest to the Temple, leaving spots closer to other businesses for their staff and customers.

If you are arriving during active Sesshin hours (4:45am-9pm) please park your car and join us. Please bring only your supplies to sit and eat at this time. You may return to your car for other belongings during a rest practice period. Please be aware that practitioners are honoring a veil of silence. Be mindful of your actions, and come into the practice area even if we are in the middle of an activity.

Opening Night Schedule:
5:30pm     Arrival, samu, and liturgy/officer training (5:30pm - 8:00pm) *

8:00pm     Zazen, opening remarks and announcements
9:00pm     Opening Night Practice Ends* 
9:30pm     Lights Out

Daily Schedule:
4:45am     Predawn wake up bell *
5:20am     Dawn Practice period (sitting/walking 3 periods)
7:05am     Morning Liturgy
7:25am     Oryoki Breakfast
8:20am     Samu (work practice) *
10:00am   Samu clean-up bell *

10:15am   Morning Practice period (teisho, sitting)
11:45am   Noon Liturgy
12:05pm   Oryoki Lunch
1:00pm    Samu & Rest Practice *
2:10pm    Afternoon wake up bell *

2:25pm    Afternoon Practice Period (body work, sitting/walking 3 periods)
4:45pm     Evening Liturgy
5:05pm     Oryoki Dinner
6:00pm     Samu & Rest Practice *
7:00pm     Evening wake up bell *

7:15pm     Evening Practice Period (sitting/walking 2 periods)
8:25pm     Closing kinhin
8:35pm     Closing Ceremony begins
9:00pm    Closing Ceremony ends *
9:30pm     Lights Out

Closing Day Schedule:
5:45am     Wake Up Bell *

6:20am     Morning practice (sitting/walking 2 periods)
7:35am     Open Sozan *
8:15am     Retreat Closing Ceremonies
9:00am     Samu, breakfast, prepare for Sunday sutra service *
10:00am   Greet Sangha arriving for sutra service *

11:00am   Sunday Sutra Service
12:30pm   Fellowship and light lunch

*best times to arrive or depart

Notice of Filming:
By your presence at the retreat, you consent to allow the Buddhist Temple of Toledo Great Heartland Sangha to record your likeness and voice and to use these recordings to further its mission by incorporating them in community-building, educational, and promotional works.


  • You agree to abstain from recreational use of drugs and alcohol during the retreat. If you must take medicine to sustain your health, take your medicine without disturbing other participants to the greatest extent possible.
  • You agree to maintain silence during the retreat, except to ask urgent questions and during designated activities (i.e. Q&A after a dharma talk).
  • You will not bring any reading material, except as directed by our teachers.
  • You agree to inform the Tanto if you are leaving the grounds, except commuters departing for the night after evening closing.
  • You agree to inform the Tanto if you are leaving the practice area for longer than a restroom visit, except during rest practice.
  • You agree to refrain from using phones, computers, and other devices during the retreat. If you absolutely must use a phone, do so sparingly and discreetly. You agree to inform the Tanto if you must bring a phone into the practice area.
  • Wear dark, loose fitting comfortable clothing with no writing or symbols visible (turn patterned T-shirts inside out) with legs and arms covered.

You are welcome to bring your own zafu and zabuton, though this is not necessary. As part of our daily work practice, you may be asked to walk and work outside, so please bring appropriate attire.
Please bring an oryoki set (three nesting bowls, chopsticks, a spoon, a spatula, and three napkins), as we will eat meals together. Standard oryoki sets are available for $40 in the temple store. For your first retreat, we will give you a loaner oryoki set so you can get a feel for it before committing to a purchase. We serve gluten-free vegan meals; some snacks offered are vegan, others are lactovegetarian, occasionally participants bring snacks that contain gluten to share. If you have needs beyond gluten-free vegan meals, please describe them on your sesshin profile.
Emergencies and Communication:
If an emergency arises, or you need to leave Sesshin, please let the Registrar, Tanto, or Priests know before you depart. Please contact me with any questions you may have via email (
Sesshin Registrar