Calgary Soto Zen Practice Period 2018

Registration forms and contact details can be found at the bottom of this page.

Calgary Soto Zen is offering the sangha’s first practice period this spring:

March 9- April 22, 2018

A Practice Period is an intensified time of practice; a tradition that began in the Buddha’s lifetime. During the rainy season monks would seize their solitary wandering and gather together for this intensive period of meditation and study.

 This tradition continued into Zen monastic practices in Japan and has made its way into the schedule at Calgary Soto Zen.

Practice Period Details

  • Guiding Teachers: Myoshin Kate McCandless and Shinmon Michael Newton: of the Mountain Rain Zen Sangha in Vancouver.
  • Shuso (head monk): Baizan Tim Sampson, resident priest at Calgary Soto Zen.
  • Theme: "Zazen," Sitting Meditation
  • Study Text:  The Art of Just Sitting: Essential writings on the Zen practice of Shikantaza, Edited by John Daido Loori


  • Practice Period Opening Weekend Retreat: March 9-11 at the FCJ Centre, Calgary
  • Practice Period Closing Weekend Retreat: April 20-22 at the FCJ Centre, Calgary
  • One-day sitting: Saturday March 31, at the Zendo - 1909 17th Ave. SW, Calgary
  • Dharma Seminars at the 17th Avenue Zendo based on the text, "The Art of Just Sitting".

The Dharma Seminar Schedule is as follows:

Page Number
Sunday, March 18, 9:00 AM Introduction 1
Sunday, March 25, 9:00 AM No Dualism 67
Sunday, April 1, 9:00 AM Suzuki Roshi's Practice of Shikantaza 145
Sunday, April 8, 9:00 AM Zazenshin 25
Sunday, April 15, 9:00 AM A Coin Lost in the River is Found in the River 149

Practice Discussion

Dokusan: practice discussion with a teacher.

Kate and Michael have generously made themselves available for phone Dokusan between retreats and will meet with participants during the retreats.

Tea with the Shuso: Tim will contact each practice period participant to have tea and discuss practice. This tea and discussion is part of the role of "head monk" in addition to giving a “Way-Seeking-Mind”talk, dharma talks and cleaning washrooms.

A note from the Shuso

“Over the past 25 years I have been ambushed repeatedly by opportunities to wake up to this life and to the beauty of this practice.  Here we go again.  With one knee trembling and the other somewhat steady, I look forward to practicing with all beings and with all of you during our first practice period.   With a theme like "zazen" I am already grinning and a bit overwhelmed.  I trust that the support of teachers, fellow practitioners and Buddhas and Ancestors throughout space and time, will continue through our practice period and I hope I can repay even a fraction of that generosity.”

“The adventure continues.” - Baizan Tim Sampson

Practice Partners

A way to share our practice and to help one another along the way is to have a practice partner.  Usually partners meet 3 times during the practice period to share reflections about how the practice period is going. You will be assigned a practice partner by the Shuso. You can indicate if you are interested in being matched with a particular person on the registration form.

Please submit an application for the practice period itself and consider what individual events you would like to commit to. There will be fees charged for participation in the Weekend Retreats and One Day Sitting. All other events will have no specific participation fee but you are welcome/encouraged to offer Dana (donations) at your discretion. There is no fee for registering for the Practice Period.