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June 21, 2019—June 23, 2019

Actualizing a Realizational Practice: Buddhist Meditation and Psychoanalysis

Meditation functions as the core practice and foundational teaching of the major Buddhist traditions. This offering will be an opportunity for participants to practice meditation intensely in a retreat framed in the holding environment provided by the Soto Zen meditation tradition. Experience with Buddhist meditation practice is not necessary. People from all backgrounds – experienced or with little or no experience- are welcome.

This retreat, specially tailored to psychoanalysts, psychotherapists, and mental health professionals, within the context and structure of the traditional and formal Soto Zen retreat format, will include presentations and discussions on the interrelation between Buddhism and psychoanalysis. Periods of sitting and walking meditation are scheduled throughout the retreat and opportunities for private interviews will be available.

Each day will begin with a Social Dreaming Matrix.  Presentations and meditation practices will be introduced from both the Zen and Tibetan Buddhist perspectives. Each day will include ample time for question and answer sessions and discussion with an eye toward strengthening and deepening an experiential realizational practice with an insistent emphasis on the present moment. The direct experience of practice animates teachings and brings them to fruition for both Buddhist practitioners and psychotherapists in the twenty-first century. Both are directly applicable to religious realization and effective clinical work from the realizational perspective.

We invite you to participate in an exploration of these great traditions deeply centered and nurtured in the shared intimacy of a practice-oriented retreat environment grounded in extensive meditation practice, which will function as the nodal point of the retreat. 

Please Note: This retreat will be held in partial silence with speaking time set aside for Dharma talks and interview sessions.

Please click here to register for this retreat on the Realizational Practice Studies website before booking your accommodations with the Garrison Institute.


Seiso Paul Cooper is an Ordained Soto Zen Priest and transmitted teacher, psychoanalyst; Co-founder, director, teacher: Two Rivers Zen Community in Narrowsburg, N.Y.; guiding teacher and Head Priest: Lincoln Zen Center, Lincoln, NE.; former Dean of Training: National Psychological Association for Psychoanalysis (NPAP); faculty, training analyst, supervisor: NPAP, IEA; editorial board, Psychoanalytic Review; award-winning author: Zen Insight, Psychoanalytic Action: Two Arrows Meeting (Routeledge, 2018), The Zen Impulse and the Psychoanalytic Encounter (Routledge, 2010). Seiso Sensei maintains a private psychoanalytic practice in Manhattan and in Narrowsburg, N.Y. and he has presented his work on Buddhism and psychoanalysis internationally.

Mark Finn, Ph.D. is a clinical psychologist and psychoanalyst. He has been active in the conversation between Buddhism and psychotherapy for many years, publishing and presenting widely in this area. He is a regular retreat facilitator at Zen Mountain Monastery  in Mt. Tremper, N.Y. and at Fire Lotus Temple in Brooklyn, N.Y. He is co-editor of Object Relations Theory and Religion (Praeger, 1992) and a contributor to numerous edited collections on Buddhism and psychotherapy. He is especially interested in the spiritual biographies of the Tibetan Karma Kagyu gurus and the relevance of their stories to our lives. He maintains a private practice in White Plains, NY, and Manhattan.   

Pilar Jennings is a psychoanalyst based in New York City with a focus on the clinical applications of Buddhist meditation practice. She received her Ph.D. in Psychiatry and Religion from Union Theological Seminary, and has been working with patients and their families through the Harlem Family Institute since 2004. Dr. Jennings is a long-term practitioner of Tibetan Buddhism. She is a Visiting Lecturer at Union Theological Seminary; Columbia University; and a faculty member of the Nalanda Institute for Contemplative Science. Her publications have included, East of Ego: The Intersection of Narcissism and Buddhist Meditation Practice, I’ve Been Waiting for you: Reflections on Analytic Pain, Imagery and Trauma: The Psyche’s Push for Healing, and Mixing Minds: The Power of Relationship in Psychoanalysis and Buddhism (Wisdom, 2010). Her most recent book: To Heal a Wounded Heart: On the Transformative Power of Buddhism & Psychotherapy in Action, (Shambhala, 2017). 

Karen Morris, LP, NCPsyA, is a psychoanalyst in private practice in New York City and Narrowsburg, NY, where she facilitates study groups on social dreaming and creativity. She is an award-winning author of numerous articles on social trauma and received the N.A.A.P. Gradiva Award for Poetry for her collection of poems, Cataclysm and Other Arrangements (Three Stones Press, 2014). As an Ambassador of Hope for Shared Hope International, she is a public educator and blogger on issues related to global and domestic sex trafficking of minors, the commercial sex industry, and the culture of demand. She is co-founder of Two Rivers Zen Community.  

Please click here to register for this retreat on the Realizational Practice Studies website before booking your accommodations with the Garrison Institute.

Registration Options

Commuter Rate (no bedroom)
Dorm Room
Double Room
Single Room
These costs include room and board only. Please be in touch with the group regarding any additional program fees.