Rohatsu Sesshin – Dec. 1

Rohatsu Sesshin
Weekend Option: Friday evening, December 1, 6:30 pm through Sunday evening, December 3, 6 pm.
Weeklong Option: Friday evening, December 1, 7 pm through Friday morning, December 8, 11 am.
Partial Participation and Zoom options are also available. Please see “registration options below” for more details
Led by Sosan Theresa Flynn, Myoshin Diane Benjamin, Koji Acquaviva, and MyoOn Susan Hagler

Zen Buddhists around the world sit in meditation the first week in December to commemorate and re-enact the enlightenment of the Buddha. This December, Clouds in Water senior teachers Sosan Flynn, MyoOn Hagler, Myoshin Benjamin, and Koji Acquaviva will teach from the Jewel Mirror Samadhi, a Zen poem in Classical Chinese from the Song Dynasty. Often attributed to Dongshan Liangjie (Japanese: Tōzan Ryōkai), the co-founder of Soto Zen Buddhism, this poem is beloved by many Zen students. As we enter into the darkness of the winter months for Rohatsu sesshin, we are invited to open to the precious samadhi that is available to us. In the words of the poem, “In darkest night it is perfectly clear; in the light of dawn it is hidden. It is a standard for all things; its use removes all suffering.”

Rohatsu sesshin will include multiple periods of sitting and walking meditation, dharma talks (most days) traditional oryoki meals, zen chanting liturgy, temple care (mindful cleaning), body practice, rest breaks, and the opportunity to meet one-on-one with the teacher. We will practice noble silence and refrain from unnecessary speech. 

While some instruction will be given in the sesshin, if you are a first-timer we recommend that you contact the Ino (sesshin coordinator) before registering to help determine if sesshin is right for you at this time. 

Sosan Theresa Flynn has studied and practiced Soto Zen Buddhism since 1992, receiving dharma transmission (full teaching authority) in 2012 from Joen Snyder O’Neal. Sosan’s areas of teaching include body awareness in Zen, mindful speaking and listening, loving-kindness practices, and the intersection of Buddhist practice and racial justice. She has a master’s degree in Counseling Psychology, and also offers premarital counseling. Sosan is the Guiding Teacher at Clouds in Water.

Myoshin Diane Benjamin (she/her) is a lay dharma teacher, a path that reflects her deep interest and engagement in the ways that Buddhist practice both permeates everyday work and family life, and supports engagement in social change. Myoshin began practicing Buddhism in 1996 and received dharma transmission in 2022 from Sosan Flynn. She taught for over a decade in the children’s program at Clouds in Water, and has practiced at Hokyoji and Ryumonji monasteries and attended numerous retreats with Thich Nhat Hanh and his community. She has worked for many years in the nonprofit and philanthropic sectors, and is also a musician. Additionally, she is fully certified to teach the Realization Process. She lives in Minneapolis with her wife and daughter.

Koji Acquaviva began practicing Zen at the age of twenty at the San Francisco Zen Center where he was a resident and staff member for ten years. He co-founded the Mid City Zen Center in New Orleans and served regularly as visiting teacher at the Austin Zen Center. In addition to Soto Zen, he’s studied Vedanta, Hatha Yoga, and Tibetan Buddhism in residential practice centers. As a queer and neurodivergent person who trained rather traditionally, Koji makes his best effort to identify and confront the ways Buddhism is taught which re-inscribe harm for members of marginalized communities. 

MyoOn Susan Hagler (she/her) began Zen practice in 1980 with Katagiri-Roshi and the MZMC sangha. She took time off from formal practice while raising her family in the 1990s,  participating in family practice at MZMC and practicing at home. In 1999 she returned to MZMC more formally and was ordained by Tim Burkett in 2003. In 2010 she began practicing with Dokai Georgesen at Hokyoji Zen Practice community. MyoOn received dharma transmission from Dokai in 2018. In 2020, she joined the teacher-ryo at Clouds in Water. MyoOn works with Zen students at all levels from lay to ordained. She can also officiate at marriages and memorial services. She has lived in Minneapolis with her spouse, Duane Peterson since 1986. They have 3 adult children and 3 grandchildren who bring them great joy.

Registration Options:

  • Weekend: Friday evening, December 1, 6:30 pm through Sunday evening, December 3, 6 pm. Pricing: Level 1: $300; Level 2: $200; Level 3: $150
  • Weeklong: Friday evening, December 1, 7 pm through Friday morning, December 8, 11 am. Pricing: Level 1: $900; Level 2: $600; Level 3: $450
  • Partial Zoom Option. For those who are unable to participate in person, a partial Zoom option is available that includes early morning sitting and liturgy, dharma talks, and evening sittings. We will send you the schedule with links when you register. Set your own price. Indicate “Partial Zoom Option” in the comments section when you register. 
  • Partial In-person Option. All sitting periods, liturgies and all dharma talks are available to you in this option. It does not include meals, work period or snacks. We will send you the full schedule when you register. Set your own price. Indicate “Partial In-person Option” in the comments section when you register. 
  • Experienced Practitioner option: While our hope is that most people will attend either the weekend or weeklong options, other participation options may be available to experienced practitioners (those who have attended three or more sesshins at Clouds in Water in the past two years). We offer this option because the presence of experienced practitioners helps to stabilize the sesshin. Contact the Ino for more information. Price per day: Level 1: $150, Level 2: $100, Level 3: $75. Indicate your participation dates/times in the comments section when you register. 


Where Your Contribution Goes:
Clouds in Water relies on a Gift Economics Model of resource transparency, suggested sliding scale tiers and no set fees in order to balance financial sustainability, the Buddhist practice of generosity, justice and equity. Clouds in Water is a community supported temple, relying primarily on the donations and class fees that our sangha offers.

Sliding Scale (All are welcome. No one will be turned away for lack of funds)

  • Level 1 covers teacher payments, and Clouds admin/staffing, and makes it possible for more people to attend who cannot afford the full amount
  • Level 2 covers teacher payments and Clouds admin/staffing
  • Level 3 covers Clouds admin/staffing
  • Your Level: You choose the amount. No one is turned away due to inability to pay.

“We know in our hearts that there is a different way to be, a different way to live. Our generosity with one another is indeed resistance to the greed and fear that oppresses us. We provide for one another out of love for each other and love for ourselves. When we give, we acknowledge that all beings want to be happy.”
-Jacoby Ballard

Online registration ends 11/29/2023

If you wish to register after 11/29/2023 please contact the sesshin coordinator at  Please note that you may not get an immediate response.