Genzo-e Retreat 2017 with Rev. Shohaku Okumura, CC 8/11 – 8/18

  Friday, August 11, 7:30 pm – Friday, August 18, noon

Genzo-e is a meditation and study retreat designed to allow for a deep investigation of the teachings of Dogen Zenji, the 13th-century founder of Soto Zen. This week-long retreat will be led by Rev. Shohaku Okumura, one of the world's foremost teachers on Dogen’s practice and philosophy, who will offer two lectures daily.

The text will be Shobogenzo “Hakujushi” (“The Cypress Tree”) which takes its title from a saying by the famous Tang-dynasty Chan master Zhaozhou Congshen (Jap. Jōshū Jūshin), who lived to be 120 and is praised by Dogen for his strict austerity. The core of the fascicle focuses on the meaning of Zhaozhou’s mysterious remark, “the cypress tree in the garden,” in response to the question of why Bodhidharma brought the Chan tradition to China from India. Dogen goes on to discuss a second saying of Zhaozhou, that the cypress tree has buddha nature and will become a buddha “once space falls to the ground.” The text will be distributed to participants at the beginning of the retreat.*

Rev. Shohaku Okumura is the founding teacher of the Sanshin Zen Community, located in Bloomington, Indiana. For more information about Shohaku Okumura, please visit the website of Sanshin Zen Community.

Friday, August 11, 7:30 pm: Evening Orientation for Genzo-e Retreat

  • Oryoki instruction 5:00 pm
  • Dinner in the dining room 6:30 pm
  • Orientation for all retreat participants 7:30 pm
Meals are included in the cost of retreat. However, to receive your meals, you will need an oryoki set. You may bring your own or rent an oryoki set for the duration of the retreat. If you would like to rent oryoki, please add the rent oryoki set fee to your reservation. To purchase your own oryoki set, contact the City Center Ino by email (

Prerequisite: At least two one-day sittings at City Center or Green Gulch. If you have not participated in a San Francisco Zen Center sesshin before, please communicate with the Ino before signing up.

Retreat fees

Residential: $420; $378 current members; $336 limited income. Fees include meals but not accommodations, which need to be reserved separately. Partial scholarships may be available for people with limited income. (See About Registration, Scholarships and Cancellations below.) Please call the main office for details, at 415.383.3136. There will be a request for dana (a donation) for the teacher during the retreat.

Commuter: $280. This category of participation is for those who want to participate only/mostly in the twice-daily (mid-morning/mid-afternoon) study sessions (classes) with Shohaku Okumura. The retreat costs as a commuter do not include meals or accommodations. Meals are available by additional donation on a meal-by-meal basis. There will be a request for dana (a donation) for the teacher during the retreat. Note: there is no member or limited income fee available for the commuter option.

Optional overnight accommodations, subject to availability:

  • $35 per night/per person, double
  • $50 per night, single

Contact the events coordinator at 415.354.0360 or by email

Registration deadline is Monday, August 7.

To Register: Use the Register Online button above. Or call our toll free number (888.743.9362) or our local number (415.475.9362).

About Registration, Scholarships and Cancellations

If this is your first sesshin at City Center, please contact the ino (head of meditation hall) at 415.354.0391 or by email prior to registering.

*Translation and notes by Carl Bielefeldt on the Stanford web site for those interested.