Fall 2023 Practice Period at Tassajara

Practice Center
Date / Time
Sep 21, 2023 / 12:00pm - Dec 15, 2023 / 3:00pm
Event Type
Practice Periods

The 110th Practice Period at Tassajara

Led by Abbot Dōshin Mako Voelkel

September 21 – December 15, 2023

Application (below, under prerequisites) due date is extended to August 17

During this three-month Ango (practice period), practitioners follow a traditional and robust Sōtō Zen monastic schedule which includes daily zazen, formal meals (oryoki), chanting services, work practice, study, dharma talks/classes, and multiple sesshins, along with one-on-one practice discussions with the Abbot and other resident teachers.

Within the remote and natural beauty of this monastery nestled in the heart of the Ventana Wilderness, this practice period will focus on the highly practical teachings of Dōgen Zenji’s "Shōbōgenzō Zuimonki" ("Treasury of the True Dharma Eye: Record of Things Heard"), a collection of informal Dharma talks recorded by his Dharma successor, Koun Ejō. In this compilation, Dōgen stresses the importance of monastic practice with a group of practitioners, practicing for the sake of the Buddhadharma alone, zazen without gaining mind, intentional simplicity, and learning how to be of benefit to others.

Kitchen Practice Period Opportunity

Tassajara is offering a practice period this Fall to those who are interested and eligible to join the practice period kitchen crew. This is an opportunity to support Tassajara’s monastic practice at no charge and without using earned practice period credits. Come nourish yourself and the sangha while deepening your practice through daily zazen, dharma offerings, and harmonizing with the Zen kitchen and crew.

Contact Jamie, Tassajara Director, at zmcdirector@sfzc.org for details.

"Handle even a single leaf of a green in such a way that it manifests the body of the Buddha. This in turn allows the Buddha to manifest through the leaf." —Eihei Dogen's Instructions to the Cook

The intense schedule and atmosphere of a traditional Zen Ango (Practice Period) are for the purpose of helping us to go beyond our usual senses of self so that we can enter the wide open life of the Buddha. Kindness and love for one another will be our watchwords as we negotiate the way together for these precious few months.

Tassajara’s ninety-day practice period follows the traditional Soto Zen monastic schedule. The practice period is a rare opportunity for experienced practitioners to participate in the intensive practice at Zen Mountain Center (Zenshinji).

In order to participate in the practice period, students must be fully vaccinated. In addition, testing and masking requests will likely take place during the first few days of the practice period. Please see Tassajara Covid Safety Requests.

The following prerequisites for the Fall 2023 practice period at Tassajara must be fulfilled in total for your application to be considered:

  • Completion of at least one two-month residential practice period at San Francisco Zen Center’s City Center or Green Gulch Farm
  • Commitment to complete the full three months
  • Applications are no longer being accepted.
  • Tuition paid in full before the start of the practice period or use of a practice period credit earned before arrival and approved by the applications committee


Based on our past experience, we expect that the seasonal rains will bring additional challenges to the monastery. These challenges include potential flooding as well as debris flow, slides, and erosion risks along the Tassajara road and throughout the valley. Due to these potential hazards, Tassajara practice period participants have been requested to sign a Waiver of Liability which is included as a part of the online application form.

Important Practice Period Documents:

Fee Information

Practice Period Fees*: $3,600 US (plus $30 application fee), which covers room, board, and tuition. Payment in full is required BEFORE arrival at Tassajara unless another arrangement is made in advance with the director. A practice period credit (which includes room, board, and tuition) may be earned by participating in the Work Practice Apprenticeship Program during the summer before the practice period.

*As the basic operating expenses for the practice period are in excess of $4,500 per student, please consider donating more if you are able.

The $30 application fee is required for applicants who are not currently in residence at SFZC and must be paid at the same time the application is submitted. All applications and fees must be submitted electronically.