The world is opening up again, but many meditation retreat centers will keep their programs online at least for the start of 2022. Before the pandemic, it was rare for major monastic centers to run meditation retreats or courses online. That changed quickly and many have learned how to do it quite well. It is possible to find your Zen online and practice in community.
Expect online retreats to continue now, even after it’s possible to travel again. Doing an online retreat is an opportunity to access community that might be too costly to reach in-person, and if you’re serious about your meditation practice, this is a chance to bring that practice home in a meaningful, intense way.
Below are links to some Zen temples I’ve joined for remote retreats the past year, along with some others I’m familiar with.
Plum Village hosted several online retreats during the pandemic while the monastic center near Bordeaux, France was closed to visitors. They hosted a retreat on inner healing in the spring of 2021, and are now bringing the three-month-long rains retreat online, from September to the start of December. Register online to get notifications about resources, meditation livestreams, and dharma talks posted for the retreat: plumvillage.org/retreats/info/rains-retreat-2021-gems-of-the-plum-village-tradition/
Stay up-to-date on Plum Village retreats on their Retreats page: plumvillage.org/retreats/
Upaya Zen Center
Even when traveling to temples was easier to do, I enjoyed listening to the dharma talks Upaya Zen Center posts online: www.upaya.org/dharmatalks/ There are years of valuable insights to explore there. Their lineage of Zen combines elements of Rinzai and Soto Zen. I had never visited their center in New Mexico in-person, but since Upaya brought their retreats online this year, I’ve had the opportunity to participate. They have several online retreats and trainings planned online, through the summer of 2022. Checkout the details and registration info here: www.upaya.org/programs/
Dharma Drum Mountain
The Dharma Drum Retreat Center in Pine Bush, New York, hosts regular online meditation sessions and retreats. You can find their upcoming events listed here: dharmadrumretreat.org/events/ They’re even starting up in-person retreats again, with a 1-day retreat on November 13th, which is probably a bit of a test-run, so let’s wish them a well and easy return.
The Dharma Drum community also shares dharma talks, in English and Mandarin, which you can listen to here: chancenter.org/en/teachings/dharma-audio Note: sometimes they publish the Mandarin talks with English titles, so just have a listen and you’ll figure it out.