Zen Center FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions)

If I am new to practice, can/should I attend?
What is the best way to get involved?
How does transportation to the Monastery work?
Will there be sitting meditation instruction on retreat? 
When will my deposit be processed?
What is an appropriate donation? 
What are the accommodations like? Where will I be staying?
What is the daily schedule? 
Who leads the retreats?
Are phone calls permitted? What if my family needs to reach me? 
What is the appropriate attire? 
What is the food at the Monastery and on retreat like? 
How to get on our mailing list
Email class information

If I am new to practice, can/should I attend?

Our retreats are generally open to everyone. Whether you are a beginner interested in developing a practice or an "old-timer" looking to deepen your practice, all levels of practice benefit from attending a retreat. What you get out of a retreat depends on how willing you are to participate fully.

Exceptions to this are Sitting Intensives, the Precepts Retreat, graduate level There Is Nothing Wrong With You retreats, Deepening Practice retreats, and the Volunteer Assistance Program. These are for people who have been practicing with us for a significant amount of time. When this is the case, it is specified on our retreat schedule.

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What is the best way to get involved?

There are a number of ways to get involved. Our encouragement is that you attend a retreat or workshop so that you can begin experiencing the work for yourself. If you cannot attend a retreat for some reason, then we recommend you sign up for an email class with Cheri. Email classes are offered regularly, and they are a great way to develop a practice with Cheri's guidance and the support of others who do the practice. Email classes are an excellent  way to bring the practice of conscious compassionate awareness into daily life. 

Other ways that you can be involved are to read Cheri's books and listen to her tapes; or to begin attending a regular meditation or discussion group. We may have a group affiliated with our practice established in your region. If you live in the Bay Area, our Mountain View Zen Center has a weekly schedule of events including meditation, group discussion, and one- or two-day workshops. If you live within driving distance of the Monastery, you could attend a Sunday orientation, which is an introduction to sitting meditation and to the guidelines we follow to support our practice.  After attending a Sunday orientation, you could then participate in our weekly Sunday program.

 

 

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How does transportation to the Monastery work?

With all of our retreats, we ask that you wait until you have received a letter confirming your attendance in the retreat before you begin to set up transportation plans.

The Monastery is about 150 miles east of San Francisco area airports. Transportation from San Francisco International Airport (SFO) or Oakland International Airport (OAK) to the Monastery involves taking Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) to the Pleasanton station where a Monastery van will pick you up the day the retreat begins. The van will return you to the BART station on the last day of the retreat. The round-trip cost is approximately $115 ($15 for BART and $100 for Monastery van transport).

If you need transportation getting to a retreat that is not held at the Monastery, we are usually available to assist, provided that you do not make plans without consulting us.

 

 

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Will there be sitting meditation instruction on retreat?

We always offer sitting meditation instruction during our There Is Nothing Wrong With You Retreat, and meditation instruction and assistance is generally offered on other retreats. Additionally, we offer meditation instruction during our Sunday morning orientations.  You can call the Monastery office to sign up for a Sunday orientation.

 

 

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When will my deposit be processed? 

Retreat deposits are processed when you register. Your registration pledge payment holds a space in the retreat for you. If you cancel your retreat registration three weeks prior to the retreat, you receive a full refund. If you cancel your retreat registration after the three-week mark, do not show up, or leave the retreat early, you will not receive a refund.

 

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What are the accommodations like? Where will I be staying?

Retreats are held in both rural and urban settings, so accommodations vary. At the Monastery we have different styles of places to stay. These include single-occupant hermitages that are scattered throughout the property, a climate-controlled dorm with nine visually private but not sound proof cubicles, and camping as an option during the warm seasons. We usually offer shared-room housing at retreats away from the Monastery. On some away retreats single housing is available.

 

 

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What is the daily schedule?

The daily schedule varies depending on the retreat. The schedule always includes sitting meditation and three meals a day. The schedule may include working meditation, walking meditation, group discussion, group workshop time, yoga or somatics, individual guidance sessions, and free time. The schedule is the base of the privileged environment that supports us in paying attention and learning to live from compassion.

 

 

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Who leads the retreats?

Our workshops and retreats are led by Cheri Huber as well as senior monk facilitators who train under the guidance of Cheri at the Zen Monastery Peace Center. We also have lay practitioner facilitators who lead retreats and workshops in various parts of the country. All of our facilitators are highly trained, skilled guides in the practice of compassionate awareness.

 

 

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Are phone calls permitted? What if my family needs to reach me?

Phone calls are not permitted while on retreat. We are happy to provide you with an emergency phone number in case an emergency should arise and your family would need to relay a message to you during the retreat. We ask you to attend to all personal business before arriving at a retreat so that your responsibilities and distractions can truly be set aside for the duration of the retreat and the focus can be purely on the practice of compassionate awareness.

 

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What is the appropriate attire? 

At the Monastery and on retreat, we wear modest comfortable clothing. We request that tight-fitting clothing, tank tops or sleeveless tops, leggings, midriff tops, etc. are not worn while on retreat. The atmosphere we are creating on retreat is one of little distraction. Only ankle length pants or skirts are worn in the meditation hall. On some retreats it will be specified to bring work clothes that you don't mind getting dirty, or yoga clothes for somatics and yoga. Otherwise, casual loose-fitting clothing is appropriate retreat attire.  

 

 

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What is the food at the Monastery and on retreat like? 

The Monastery is renowned for our delicious food! At the Monastery and at all of our retreats, we follow a low-fat vegetarian diet that is comprised of whole grains, proteins, and seasonal organic fruits and vegetables, a lot of which we grow in our organic gardens. We make our own granola and soymilk, and bake fresh bread daily. We also serve delightful desserts. As a general guideline we cannot accommodate special diets. We do offer non-dairy options at every meal. 

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How to get on our mailing list

You can sign up for our email list to get Save the Date emails.

 

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