Breakthrough to Zen Retreats

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Our Breakthrough to Zen Retreats are based on the Zenways 3-day (64 hour) retreat format. We focus on contemplation and communication within dyads. This creates a uniquely powerful combination and is effective for people in getting a genuine shift into the world of awakening. This retreat is suitable for those with no prior meditation experience and is also effective for those who already have an on-going/developing practice. The structure of the retreat is tailored towards you touching into the deeper dimensions of your true nature.

This retreat is meant for folks who are able to devote themselves solely to the activities of the retreat. The schedule is intentionally full with the days starting early and carrying on into the evening. If you have been suffering from severe mental health difficulties, a less intensive retreat format may be more suitable for you. Please don't hesitate to reach out to us, we'd be happy to discuss this and other options with you.

Contact to register

Winter 2024 Breakthrough to Zen Retreat

Dates: Thursday, January 4 (6pm) – Sunday, January 7 (3pm), 2023.

Location: St. Benedict Lodge in McKenzie Bridge, Oregon

Facilitator: Shinkai

Cost: Supported rate/$350, Sustaining rate/$450, Supporting rate/$550.

Register: Send us an email at Please specify this event in the subject heading. We’ll send you an enrollment packet. Also feel free to call us with questions.

More information about Breakthrough to Zen Retreats can be found here.

Please Note: The Next Online BZR is March 14 - 17, 2024.


  • "...filled with peaceful energy, and knowing it's not just within me but everywhere. Heart open in every direction."
  • "I feel relaxed, present, at ease, embraced, hopeful. I feel on the verge of an inner peace that has eluded me my entire adult life."
  • "as I was sitting in the sun by the river drinking my tea I felt like I had finally come home to myself - that I have arrived. I cried tears of joy and contentment, truly at peace..."
  • "During the third day I felt a breakthrough into a new zone. Working with my koan helped me gradually shift my sense of self from my head to my heart, and my sense of being from definitional to embracing and inclusive of other people..."
  • "as I looked over the entire library I suddenly and unexpectedly saw that we were just That!  All entirely woven together in life!  My heart felt full of compassion for everyone and myself, but for a brief time there was no "myself." I never experienced anything like that. Just then big white snow flakes began falling and it seemed to me a confirmation of the incredible beauty and wonder that had awakened my mind."
  • "Everything shifted on the second day. I am here to BE. I am here. I am enough...we are all enough and will always have what is needed in this moment."
  • "While walking in the forest, gently repeating my question (Why am I here?), things suddenly shifted. I saw that I AM HERE. There wasn't an I and a here. I am this here-ness.  This seeing was so clear, so true, and utterly basic. I had always thought that seeing Reality would mean bolts of lightening, like having the biggest ah-ha moment ever. But, it wasn't like that at all. It was like a tiny puff of breath had lifted the barest of silk covering my eyes. And I just saw the world as it is. I didn't feel high or emotional, I actually felt slightly embarrassed. I was in Reality, and it wasn't that hard to get here."
  • "Gratitude for the privilege of being here in this process. Deep connection with Self and other people."
  • "Unmatched eagerness for action. Confidence in self, special and ordinary. Ready. Free of doubt. Light coming through the hole in the wall."
  • "I feel profound gratitude and pride about deciding to attend, despite the worries, risks, and challenges."
  • "Feeling content, knowing I'm not alone. Love is with me. Not in need of anything or anyone. I've learned the universe is not out there. I am that."
  • "I am filled with a sense of rightness. Not that I am right, and something else is wrong. But that things are as they should be."
  • "My greatest insight came from what is, and always has been, inside me. I know how now to trust myself. I have a deep knowing now I can and will always be awake and ok."
  • "This progressed more and more to I am love. I am. I am this. I am that I am. I now feel so seen and known and loved and nourished and celebrated by the am that is me. Deep energetic connection with myself. This process has been exhilarating and validating. I found and saw and feel my power of being. I am the gold. I always was and always will be."
  • "I was looking out when I already possessed what I was searching for, I just didn't know it. Everything I wanted, I already have. Here, now."
  • "I have an overwhelming sense of deep appreciation and love for my teachers and all those who came before."
  • "Through this process I experienced "just is-ness" - a melting away of self and interconnection with the river, the trees, the moss, the grass, the birds."
  • "I was able to experience so much more than I ever expected going into the retreat and I feel like I made a giant leap forward in the way I see myself, the world, life and existence. I had one of the most powerful experiences in my life when the veil dropped and the experience of sitting shifted into the world of two buddhas sitting across from each other. It was infinite, expansive and blissful. The trees and the river were shining and singing."
  • "Really deeply profound. Transformative. A very intense shift into seeing divine intelligence in every single thing."
  • "Not always fun, that's for sure, but uplifting. Have never been in the now for so long, so effortlessly."
  • "My heart was broken over and over by the communications of trauma, self doubt, loss and longing but then filled by the wisdom, learning, humor, love and energy of struggling and working to find our answers. I've been profoundly touched, opened and changed as a result."
  • "A journey - one of the most profound of my entire life."
  • "It has been a very positive experience, as well as what may be a watershed moment in my long practice that will drive it forward to deeper understanding."
  • "Feeling connected to everything and everyone and present felt so good and telling myself to just keep remembering that. That I already have that in me. I don't have to search or look to anyone else for it. It's in me. It is me. I am."
  • "In the afternoon during solo meditation there was a wave of powerful emotion, completely unexpected. I felt extraordinary peace and love with a deep sense of connection to everyone and everything around me. It was a recapitulation, a recognition of the state I had felt once before. With this feeling came the insight, "oh, now I get it. This is who I am. I am THIS."
  • "I experienced profound connection, compassion, and love for those sharing the retreat with me. Profound love for those in my life., profound love for myself."
  • "This morning, really knowing that I'm from nowhere - no place - and my past dropping like a dream."
  • "One of the most important events of my life."

The Next Online BZR is March 14 - March 17, 2024.

The Next In Person BZR is May 9 - 12, 2024 in McKenzie Bridge, Oregon.

Past BZRs

Fall 2023 BZR

Spring 2023 BZR

Dates: May 18 - 21, 2023.

Winter 2023 BZR

Dates: January 5 - 8, 2023.

Fall 2022 BZR

Dates: September 30 - October 2, 2022.

Spring 2022 BZR

Dates: May 19 - 22, 2022.

Winter 2022 BZR

Dates: January 6-9, 2022

Fall 2021 BZR

Dates: September 30 - October 3, 2021.

Spring 2021 Zoom BZR

Dates: May 20 - 23, 2021

Winter 2020 BZR

Dates: January 2 - 5, 2020.

Fall 2019 BZR

Dates: September 24 - 27, 2020.

Spring 2019 BZR

Dates: May 23 - 26, 2019.

Winter 2019 BZR

Dates: January 3 - 6, 2019.

Fall 2018 BZR

Spring 2018 BZR