Sesshin Holmön Umeå September 2017 – English Information

Two Zen masters visit Umeå!

This fall Ordinary Mind Umeå invites you to a silent seven days meditation retreat (Sesshin), with a little bit different approach than on a usual retreat. This year we have two teachers, watch two movies followed by discussions, and we have a more relaxed schedule. The retreat is held in the old Vicarage at the island of Holmön, 45 minutes by ferry from the coast outside of Umeå. Most of us are housed in the Vicarage and some of us are housed at the lighthouse of Bergudden, app. 2 km from the Vicarage!

The Vicarage

During sesshin we practice the very easy and the very hard: To just be. Not seeking to achieve anything, judge or trying to change oneself. Zen meditation is about to have the guts to experience our lives, moment by moment exactly like it is. A practice in mindful presence, and in showing compassion to oneself and others.

”Our Zen training is designed to enable us to live comfortable lives. But the only people who live comfortable are those who learn not to dream their lives away, but to be with what´s right-here-now, no matter what it is: good, bad, nice, not nice, headache, being ill, being happy. It doesn’t make any difference.”

— Joko Beck

We get up early in the morning, meditate a lot and help out with the household chores. All is done under silence. During this seven day sesshin we will watch a movie both on Tuesday and Thursday, followed by discussions and work with koans based on the movies. The days we’re not watching movies, Karen or Pat will give a talk (Teisho). Each day we have sitting and walking meditation (Zazen, Kinhin), work period (Samu), and private talk (Dokusan) with the teacher of our choice. During this movie sesshin the schedule is more flexible than usual. It gives an opportunity not to take part in the first periods of zazen in the morning and the last ones at night. Journaling is also allowed. Pat says this about the work with movies during sesshins:

”(…) Artistic expressions have a way of getting under the skin, stirring up emotions and undermining our cherished understandings. To follow the viewing and discussion of the film with an original koan brings all the churning feelings and judgments stirred up by the film to a head and requires an answer to the koan. (…) It forces them to think hard and dig deeply inside themselves for a response. This keeps sesshin from being a passive experience where students meditate silently and can avoid pushing themselves to extend their understanding of practice.”

The culture in Ordinary Mind is accessible and open to beginners and participants from other religions or traditions. Some experience of retreats or sitting meditation is good to have, but it is not necessary. For those who cannot participate the whole retreat, it is possible to start monday or wednesday night as well.

Ordinary Mind

Ordinary Mind is a branch of Zen founded by Joko Beck (1917-2011). Within Ordinary Mind we are encouraged to work, and be with the thoughts and feelings of everyday life, instead of avoiding and running away from them in our different ways, and to practice in being present with life as it is this very moment.

Pat George

Pat George has been active in zen for over 30 years. She was ordained as a Zen teacher in Ordinary Mind by Barry Magid in 2004 and has since then been running the Philadelphia Zen Centre. Pat has worked as a teacher, writer and editor, and been a single mother for many years. Before coming to Ordinary Mind she studied many years at the Zen Mountain Monastery, New York with John Daido Loori, where she also lived a monastic life for six years.

Karen Terzano

Karen klipptKaren has been active in Zen since the end of the 80´s and has in later times spent more time in Finland where she together with her group bought an old school building and founded Ordinary Mind Zendo Finland. Karen has worked as a university teacher/professor, psychologist, therapist and with research. Before coming to Ordinary Mind she has also studied within the tradition of Philip Kapleau and other traditions. Her teacher since 2009 is Barry Magid. She was ordained by him as a Zen teacher in 2011.


In the vicarage: Rooms with 4-6 beds. In total 20 beds.

In the Lighthouse: Three rooms. 14 beds. 2 km from the vicarage.



Lacto vegetarian/Vegetarian. Please tell us about your allergies, and special food needs in the registration form.


The ferry to Holmön leaves from Norrfjärden outside of Sävar. The ferry leaves at 9 and 16 on Saturday the 16/9. On Monday the 18/9 and Wednesday the 20/9 it leaves at 16 and 18. We will help you out in getting to the ferry. The ferry leaves Holmön on Saturday the 23/9 at 17.00 and we will be in Umeå around 18.30. The ferry is free of charge.

Cost for sesshin

For rent, teacher travel expenses, food and accomodation we must charge a fee as noted below. Note that our teachers do net get paid, and for that there is the possibility of donating, so called ”dana”.

Fulltime (Saturday night to Saturday night)3200 skr, around 330 Euro
Starting Monday (Monday night to Saturday night)2700 skr, around 280 Euro
Starting Wednesday (Wednesday night to Saturday night)2200 skr, around 230 Euro


Registration on this webpage: Sesshin registration


Please contact

Joakim Tall, Jikido
+46 (0) 70-49 49 249

Arranged in cooperation with