Ango and Intensive Practice Period

We regularly hold monthly sesshin retreats as well as longer sesshin at several points in the year. We also engage in intensive periods of practice over several months in the summer and winter. During Ango and intensive practice periods there is opportunity for practitioners to intensify their practice by participating in the Ango-intensive practice schedule as fits their circumstances, where each participant designs an intensive program that makes sense for their lives. Those interested in residential practice during intensive practice periods are invited to apply to the residential training program for the duration of the Ango or practice period.


For Information about Ango and Intensive Practice Periods please email the Events Circle.

Ango –or, “Peaceful Dwelling”–is a 90 day intensive practice period in which all are invited and encouraged to intensify their commitment to practice. We do this by deepening our relationship to the daily schedule of intensified zazen, dharma study, and working together in community. During Ango, we have opportunity to bear witness to our lives and our shared experience of living and working together for an extended period of time.

Please see the Ango-Practice Period schedule for a sample schedule

The practice of Ango dates back to the time of Shakyamuni Buddha when, during the summer rainy season, the sangha would gather for meditation, communal work, and Dharma study and inquiry. Intensive training periods are common to many schools of Buddhism and Chinese and Japanese Zen communities continued this tradition as Ango.

Each Ango begins with an Ango Opening Ceremony where a student—the Shuso or Head Trainee-is chosen to serve as a practice leader and model for the training period. This is as a rite of passage for the Shuso and a transition towards serving as a senior student and taking on more responsibility in the community. Ango concludes with Shuso Hossen—a ceremony where the Shuso or head trainee gives their first public talk and the community tests their understanding through dialogue– or Dharma combat.

In addition to Ango practice, SWZC holds an intensive practice period in the winter for periods ranging from 1-3 months. If no student is ready to serve as Shuso, we hold intensive practice periods during the summer months ranging from 2-3 months. As with Ango these are periods in which all are encouraged to deepen their relationship to a daily schedule of intensified zazen, dharma study, and working together in community.