March Retreat at Ryumonji – March 8 – 10

March Retreat at Ryumonji
Friday, March 8th, 5 pm through Sunday, March 10th, 4 pm
with Sosan Flynn and Shoken Winecoff
In Person only.

Join us for our first-ever Clouds in Water retreat at Ryumonji Zen Monastery in northeastern Iowa (about 3 hours from the Twin Cities). Ryumonji Monastery is designed from a blueprint of a classic Zen monastery in Japan. Built and operated in an environmentally sustainable way, its gorgeous buildings and temple grounds reflect the spirit of “peaceful dwelling.” During this retreat you will learn about many of the Zen ritual objects and engage in some of the formal Zen practices. 

The retreat will include periods of sitting and walking meditation, dharma talks by Sosan (Saturday) and Shoken (Sunday), traditional oryoki meals, zen chanting liturgy, temple care (mindful cleaning), body practice, rest breaks, and training in the Zen forms. The schedule will be less rigrous than a typcial sesshin, with more time for rest. While we will have some periods of silence, there will also be time for conversation.

During the reatreat, Sosan and Shoken will offer teachings from Katagiri Roshi’s book, The Light that Shines Through Infinity. 

While this retreat is appropriate for beginners, if you have not done a sesshin previously, please contact the Ino (retreat coordinator) before registering to help determine if retreat is right for you at this time. 

Sosan Theresa Flynn (she/her) is the Guiding Teacher at Clouds in Water Zen Center. She has studied and practiced Soto Zen Buddhism since 1992, receiving dharma transmission (full teaching authority) from Joen Snyder O’Neal in 2012. 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 officiated at many ceremonies (daily & special liturgies, weddings, baby namings, and memorial services), and offers premarital and couples counseling. Sosan was raised Catholic and practiced Catholicism for 36 years before embracing Buddhism as her primary religion.  She has a master’s degree in Counseling Psychology and has worked in both community mental health and staff training. Sosan and her husband of 35+ years have one child, now an adult who brings them great joy. They live a short distance from Clouds in Water with their three cats. For more information, see Sosan’s website

Shoken Winecoff is founding teacher and abbot of Ryumonji Zen Monastery. He is a Dharma Heir of the late Dainin Katagiri Roshi, founder of the Minnesota Zen Meditation Center. Rev. Winecoff practiced with Katagiri Roshi in Minneapolis from 1976 until Katagiri Roshi’s death in 1990. Shoken also received formal training with Ikko Narasaki Roshi and Tsugen Narasaki Roshi at Zuioji Zen Monastery and Shogoji Zen Monastery in Japan for three years from 1989 to 1992. Since that time he has devoted himself to establishing a Soto Zen monastery in the Midwest.

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: $650 – covers teacher payments, and Clouds admin/staffing, and makes it possible for more people to attend who cannot afford the full amount
  • Level 2: $350 – covers teacher payments and Clouds admin/staffing
  • Level 3: $150 – 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 3/2/2024.

If you wish to register after 3/2/2024 please contact the sesshin coordinator at  Please note that you may not get an immediate response.