Residential Program


Residency at Great Vow Zen Monastery is a precious opportunity to devote your energy to full-time Buddhist practice. The practice of Awakening brings healing, transformation, compassion and stability into one’s heart and life. Opportunities abound, please check out the various practice period options below. 

What is Residency at Great Vow?

With 3 – 4 hours of daily meditation, residents are given the time, guidance and support to deeply enter the path of meditation – unifying, clarifying and opening the heart-mind. Meditation methods in calm-abiding, insight, koan, shikantaza and loving kindness are all taught and practiced within this community.

There is a rigor to the daily monastic schedule which supports a wholehearted engagement with every activity of life. Residents follow the daily schedule including dawn and evening meditation, five to six hours of community work practice, mindful eating, and Zen chanting/liturgy services at the monastery. Throughout the year we focus on different aspects of practice from body practice (yoga, qi gong and running), to creative process and the study of the Buddhist sutras.

All residents participate in Sesshin, our monthly weeklong silent meditation retreat, weekend meditation retreats, weekly classes and engage in direct study with a teacher.

If you are a woman, a person of color, LGBTQ* or economically disadvantaged, we welcome and especially encourage you to apply. Different types of financial assistance are available.


 Summer Program is an opportunity to explore Zen practice with the support of community and teachers.  Our Summer Program is a special part of our on-going residential program at the monastery. It is designed to give you a genuine immersion in Zen practice, through the practices of meditation, mindful eating, ritual/liturgy, and temple work. Guidance from the teachers, classes and retreats/workshops are also an essential part of the residential experience. The beauty and serenity of the monastery itself provides extra support in the process of re-discovering and resting in a calm heart and mind.  

Email to inquire.

Because of this practice there are the sun, the moon and the stars. Because of this practice there are the great earth and the open sky. -Dogen Zenji


January – March

How do we dance with this life? What emerges from the stillness of a monastic container? Strange and wonderful things! 


October – December

Every fall, Great Vow residents are sustained by the beauty and mystery of autumn and dive into an all embracing practice period of deeper silence and extended retreat. 


April – May

Spring offers more  opportunities to work in and explore the natural world. This period also dives into a more rigorous Zazen schedule than the winter practice container. 

Residential training begins with a month commitment. Longer stays are available after that first month. Shorter guest stays are also welcome. 

The initial cost for residential training is $600 per month. The training fee covers room, meals, Dharma teachings, monthly sesshin, and most other retreats and workshops. Different types of financial assistance are available, please inquire.

Ordained and monastics are always welcome at no cost. 

It is ideal if those interested in residency are able to visit before applying; there are options for shorter overnight stays to see if residential training is right for you.
Residential Training Guidelines and Agreements may be viewed here. 

For more information about residential training and to obtain an application, contact