Spring Sesshin

Saturday October 5 to Saturday October 12 (including Labour Day October 7)

SZC Spring sesshin will be led by Gillian Coote, roshi

“Over the silent peaceful days, breath by breath, as the ochre cliffs, eucalyptus forests, brilliant starry skies and the songs of frogs, crickets and birds advance and confirm the self, birds and trees and stars and we ourselves come forth in perfect harmony.” Our founding teacher, Robert Aitken, Dawn Cloud, 1917-2017.

Sesshin is an invitation to leave the tumbling, noisy, incessant world behind. At Kodoji, in the valley of beauty and wilderness, practising in deep silence and letting go of ideas and preoccupations creates opportunities to wake up moment by moment – to come home to the lyrebird’s song, the starry heavens and the vastness of this universe. To come home to your true self.

Sitting quietly
doing nothing,
Spring comes,
the grass grows by itself.
– Basho

Traditional sesshin offers countless opportunities for practice – zazen, kinin, walking meditation in the bush, dokusan, teisho, sutras and samu (or work practice). Old timers and new students are most welcome. As traditional Zen sesshin involves seven or eight hours a day of zazen – sitting meditation – it is not suitable for people without previous meditation experience.

Venue – Kodoji or Ancient Ground Temple, is SZC’s retreat centre in the Upper MacDonald Valley, about 2 hours north-west of Sydney, via Wisemans Ferry and St Albans. There is limited indoor accommodation; it is generally expected that sesshin students will pitch their own tents.

Contact: Jill Steverson jillsteverson@gmail.com

Application form here


SZC will hold other sesshins during the year:

Rohatsu sesshin at Annandale, led by Jane Andino and Paul Maloney
Wednesday December 4 to Sunday December 8   Contact: Lesley Treleaven


  Open Time Close Time Teacher Address
03/10/2020 9:00 AM 11:00 AM Gillian Coote Kodoji, Upper MacDonald Valley, NSW
03/10/2020 9:00 AM 11:00 AM Gillian Coote Kodoji, Upper MacDonald Valley, NSW
9:00 AM - 11:00 AM - with Gillian Coote - at Kodoji, Upper MacDonald Valley, NSW
9:00 AM - 11:00 AM - with Gillian Coote - at Kodoji, Upper MacDonald Valley, NSW

Gillian Coote, a senior resident teacher of the Sydney Zen Centre, met Robert Aitken Roshi in 1980, regularly attending his annual sesshin in Sydney as well as training periods and sesshin in Hawai'i. She also studied with John Tarrant and Subhana Barzaghi, from whom she received dharma transmission in June 2004 at Kodoji, Temple of the Ancient Ground. Gillian has been involved with developing sangha at Sydney Zen Centre since the early '80's - organising sesshins, editing SZC's journal, Mind Moon Circle and being involved in sangha ceremonies and activities. Inspired by their experience of sangha building at the Ring of Bone Zendo in California in 1982, Gilly and her architect/builder husband Tony, have built and maintained, with the help of the sangha, our bush zendo Kodoji at Gorricks Run. She trained with environmental activist and Buddhist scholar, Joanna Macy, and for fifteen years was the co-ordinator of the Sydney branch of the Buddhist Peace Fellowship. She has practised with Thich Nhat Hanh, attending his artists' retreat in Ojai, California and joined his pilgrimage to Buddhist sites in India and Nepal. She directed and produced 'The Awakening Bell', a documentary film made during his visit to Sydney. Gillian is a social documentary filmmaker, writer, grandmother and bush regenerator.