How do I pay?
How much do retreats cost?
Will I have internet access and phone service?
Do I need to stay for the whole schedule?
What is a typical SMZC day like?
What is a sesshin (meditation intensive) day like?
Why are sesshin (meditation intensives) retreats in silence?
How do I get to SMZC?
When do I arrive and depart SMZC?
What should I bring?
What extra items I may want with me?
What food can I bring for Solo Retreats?
My accomodations at SMZC?
Can I light candles or incense?
Who do I contact if I have more questions?

 

 

 

 

How do I pay?

 

  • You can pay your ($65 non-refundable) deposit and registration fee over the phone before you arrive, or at the office in the Sangha house during your stay.

 

How much do retreats cost?

 

  • Our standard rate is $85 a night for non members, $80 for supporting members, $75 for general members, and $65 for practicing members.  We also offer a monthly discount rate for longer retreats.

 

Will I have internet access and phone service?

 

  • Most people do not have trouble receiving phone service on the mountain, and we have wireless internet in the Sangha house that reaches some of the cabins.  Overall, we encourage visitors to unplug from electronic devices and fully retreat into the stillness within themselves. 

 

Do I need to stay for the whole schedule?

 

  • Participants are strongly encouraged to follow the entire retreat schedules from beginning to end to deepen their experience.  We follow a precise schedule and ask all participants to arrive on time to all events.  Accommodations can be made for work and other obligations.

 

What is a typical SMZC day like?

 

  • SMZC’s daily schedule starts at 5:00 am and ends at 9:00 pm with two meditation periods.  Days include sutra chanting, temple cleaning, two periods of samu (work practice) in the morning and afternoons and three informal communal meals.  In the afternoons there is a 2.5 hour break for personal time and rest.

 
What is a sesshin (meditation intensive) day like?

 

  • A typical sesshin schedule at Sonoma Mountain Zen Center begins at 4:45 am and ends at 9:00 pm.  Days are spent in silence with 10 periods of sitting and walking meditation. 

  • Three oryoki (formal eating practice) meals are served.  Talks about Buddhist teachings are given for 3 – 7 day meditation intensive and dokusan (personal interviews) to see a teacher are scheduled as well.

  • A period of morning samu (work practice) is scheduled to bring mindfulness into the activity in your life.  Work practice at SMZC may be – kitchen, housekeeping, gardening, land work.

 

Why are sesshin (meditation intensives) retreats in silence?

 

  • Once a retreat begins we ask that you honor the “great silence” – returning to the quieting of body, mind and voice as it will help you return to the deep silence within your Self.  Also, not only does this create a container for your practice but will create a larger container to harmonize with the larger group of practitioners as well.

  • On retreats we encourage you to turn off your cell phones for the time you are here and unplug your laptops, iPods, iPads and other communication devices so you can fully commit to your stay and deepen your experience.

  • At the end of our meditation intensives, silence is broken with a closing ceremony in which there is time to share your personal experiences and gratitude.

 

How do I get to SMZC?

 

  • We are easily accessible by car.  It takes twenty minutes to drive from Santa Rosa, Petaluma or Sonoma and around an hour from San Francisco.

  • Visitors traveling by plane can fly into San Francisco, Oakland, or Santa Rosa airports.  If you are flying into San Francisco or Oakland airports, the Sonoma County Airport Express can you to the DoubleTree Hotel in Rohnert Park, about a twenty minute drive from our center.  

  • We can pick up visitors without a vehicle before 5:00 p.m. Monday through Friday at the DoubleTree Hotel in Rohnert Park or Golden Gate Transit bus stop in Santa Rosa.  We charge $50 ($25 each way) round-trip for this service.  Our center is also accessible by most taxi services. 

 

When do I arrive and depart SMZC?

 

  • We encourage participants to arrive at SMZC between 3:00 pm – 6:00 pm on the beginning day of your sesshin (meditation intensive). If you are new to SMZC we ask that you arrive no later than 5:30.  This will give you time to get settled, find your accommodations and have dinner with us at 6:00pm.  Sesshins begin at 7:30pm.

  • For One Day sittings, we ask that people attend the entire day.  For 3 – 7 day meditation intensives it is encouraged to attend as many days as possible to deepen your experience.  However, if you cannot attend all the days,  please  schedule your days so that you can end and participate in the closing ceremony with the entire group.

  • Most sesshins end mid-afternoon on the last day.  We end with a closing ceremony to share our experiences, insights and gratitude with others.  Also, our Zen Dust store is open as well to purchase meditation supplies, books and other items.

 

What should I bring?

 

  • “Be prepared and be comfortable”

  • Toiletries

  • A flashlight

  • An alarm clock

  • Layered clothes for work practice (it can be chilly on the Sonoma Mountain in the mornings and evenings)

  • Layered, muted colored comfortable clothing for meditation periods

  • Shoes for outside work-practice

  • A shade hat for working outdoors

  • Shoes that easily slip on and off (shoes off in all temple buildings)

  • We provide bedding and towels (you are welcome to bring your own)

 

What extra items may I bring with me?

 

  • Extra blankets and pillows for winter warmth and extra comfort.

  • For solo retreats or longer guest practice stays, bring your own meditation cushion or bench.  SMZC provides zafus and zabutons (sitting cushions) for you in the meditation hall.  Chairs are available upon request for those who cannot sit on a cushion.

  • If you wish to practice privately in your own room, please bring your own meditation supplies and cushions. 

  • An umbrella for rainy seasons

 

What food I can bring for Solo Retreats?

 

  • Sonoma Mountain Zen Center’s kitchen is small and a busy place and we do not have the resources to respond to individual needs.

  • If you have special dietary requirements beyond what SMZC meals can offer, please plan ahead and bring any necessary foods or supplements with you to your retreat. These can be stored in our kitchen refrigerator area, either on shelves or in our refrigerator labeled with your name. Space is limited, so please bring only those food items that are necessary. Please provide your own sealed plastic containers, and mark them with your name and the date.  Please take any items  that you have stored in the kitchen with you when you depart.

 

My accomodations at SMZC?

 

  • A welcome note, accommodation list and map will be posted at the porch of the Sangha house.

  • SMZC’s retreat facility includes three main buildings surrounded by individual private retreat cabins.  All are connected by intimate graveled walking paths.

  • Most all cabins are single bedrooms, simply yet comfortably furnished for each retreatant with a twin bed, dresser and lamp.  Each sleeping space is heated by an electric heater. A pillow, sheets, blankets and bath towels are provided. If travel arrangements permit, please bring your own sheets, pillow case, towels, and additional blankets or sleeping bags.

  • Bathroom cabinets and towel rods are available for use in the restroom building.  When you depart please take your towels to the restroom laundry room to be washed.

 

Can I light candles or incense?

 

  • Due to fire regulations, lighting candles or burning incense, or lighting fires of any kind on SMZC property is absolutely not allowed.

 

Who do I contact if I have more questions?

 

  • If you have any further questions about your stay Sonoma Mountain Zen Center, please call 707-545-8105, or email.

  • We hope you will have a rich and wonderful experience practicing with us at Sonoma Mountain Zen Center.  We look forward to meeting and practicing with you as well.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

6367 Sonoma Mountain Road, Santa Rosa CA 95404