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September 25, 2024—September 29, 2024

Contemplative Care Retreat 2024: The Nobility of Imperfection

NY Zen Center at Garrison Institute

New York Zen Center for Contemplative Care

Led by Chodo Robert Campbell Sensei

Koshin Paley Ellison Sensei

with visiting teachers & friends

Marie Howe, Dan Harris, and Dr. Bianca Harris


Our Contemplative Care Retreat this year is a time of community exploration, grounded in the practice of the Six Paramitas (sometimes referred to as the Six Perfections). As we dive into the teachings of generosity, ethical conduct, patience, diligence, meditative concentration, and wisdom, we uncover their relevance in our relationships with both ourselves and others.

Contemplative care practices deepen our understanding of community, recognizing it as a space for growth, connection, and mutual support. Through shared experiences and open dialogue, we cultivate a sense of belonging and interconnectedness, enriching our lives with diverse perspectives and collective wisdom.

Central to our exploration is the concept of engaged nobility, a practice that stems from a realized buddhamind, dharma, and sangha. We will dive into the relationship between nobility and imperfection, exploring how embracing our flaws and vulnerabilities is essential for embodying true nobility and authenticity.


What to Expect During our Time Together

Through meditation, dharma talks, personal meetings with teachers, experiential learning exercises, delicious meals, and periods of rest, work, and movement, we will consider together how to care for one another while continuing to cultivate our own unique expressions of joy, courage, compassion, and connection. This retreat will maintain Noble Silence after dinner through breakfast.


This Annual Retreat is Open to All!

Whether you are new to meditation and integrating spiritual practice with care or you are an experienced practitioner needing reinvigoration. We celebrate anyone who wishes to dive deeper into practice and relationship.

For alumni of our Foundations in Contemplative Care program or Contemplative Medicine Fellowship, the annual retreat is a reunion and an opportunity to reconnect, meet other practitioners, and nourish your practice within community.

Join us as we explore the teachings of the six paramitas and their transformative potential in our lives!


New York Zen Center Waivers

Please review and complete the required questionnaire and waiver by clicking here. Registrations are not considered finalized until this form has been completed.



 A limited number of partial scholarships are available for this retreat. Scholarship accommodations are for shared (double or triple) rooms only. Please apply for support by completing a Scholarship Application Form. Due to limited funds, preference will be given to sangha members who regularly participate at the Center. Priority deadline: June 21, 2024.


Continuing Education Credits

20 Continuing Education Credits (CEs) for Social Workers are available for this retreat. There is a $25 certificate fee for CEs. Please be sure to add this to your registration if you’d like to receive CEs for this retreat. You will also be required to complete an evaluation form after the retreat in order to receive CEs. NYZC is an approved provider of SW CEs through the NYSED State Board for Social Work. If you are licensed outside of New York State, please check with your local SW Board to make sure they’ll accept these CEs.


Sesshin Teachers

ChodoChodo Robert Campbell Sensei is a co-founder of the New York Zen Center for Contemplative Care – a non-profit organization that focuses on the teaching of Zen and Buddhist practice with the goal to make them more accessible to people all around the world. The center delivers contemplative approaches to care through education, personal caregiving, and meditation practice. Chodo is a dynamic, grounded, and visionary leader and teacher; he has traveled extensively throughout the U.S instructing in various institutions. Sixty-thousand people listen to his podcasts each year. His passion lies in bereavement counseling and advocating for change in the way our healthcare institutions work with the dying. Chodo is part of the core faculty for the Buddhist Track in the Master in Pastoral Care and Counseling at NYZC’s education partner, New York Theological Seminary. He is also on the faculty of the University of Arizona Medical School’s Center for Integrative Medicine’s Integrative Medicine Fellowship and the Academy of Integrative Health & Medicine in San Diego.


KoshinKoshin Paley Ellison Sensei, MFA, LMSW, DMIN, is an author, Zen teacher, Jungian psychotherapist, and Certified Chaplaincy Educator. After many years as a chaplain and psychotherapist, Koshin co-founded the New York Zen Center for Contemplative Care, which offers contemplative approaches to care through education, personal caregiving, and Zen practice. Today, New York Zen Center’s methodologies are internationally recognized—and have touched the lives of tens of thousands of individuals. Koshin is a world renowned thought leader in contemplative care. He is the author of Untangled: Walking the Eightfold Path to Clarity, Courage, and Compassion (Balance/Hachette, 2022); Wholehearted: Slow Down, Help Out, Wake Up (Wisdom Publications, 2019) and the co-editor of Awake at the Bedside: Contemplative Teachings on Palliative and End of Life Care (Wisdom Publications, 2016). His work has been featured in the New York Times, PBS, CBS Sunday Morning, Tricycle among other publications. He is currently on the faculty of the University of Arizona Medical School’s Center for Integrative Medicine’s Integrative Medicine Fellowship, on Faculty of the Integrative Medicine Fellowship of the Academy of Integrative Health and Medicine, and he is a visiting professor at the McGovern Center for Humanities and Ethics, of the University of Texas Health Science Center of Houston Medical School.


Marie HoweMarie Howe was born in 1950 and received her MFA from Columbia University in 1983. Her debut volume, The Good Thief, was selected by Margaret Atwood as winner of the 1987 Open Competition of the National Poetry Series, published in 1988 by Persea Books. Since then, she has published two more collections, What the Living Do (W. W. Norton, 1998) and The Kingdom of the Ordinary (2008). In 1995, she edited (with Michael Klein) the anthology In the Company of My Solitude: American Writing from the AIDS Pandemic. About her work, the poet Stanley Kunitz has said, “Marie Howe’s poetry is luminous, intense, and eloquent, rooted in an abundant inner life.” Her awards include a fellowship at the Bunting Institute, as well as a Guggenheim Fellowship and a National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship. She has served on the faculty of several schools, including Tufts University and Dartmouth College. She currently teaches at Sarah Lawrence, New York University, and Columbia University in New York City, where she lives with her daughter. In August 2012 she was named the State Poet Laureate of New York State.


Dan HarrisDan Harris is a fidgety, skeptical ABC News anchor who had a panic attack live on “Good Morning America,” which led him to try something he always thought was ridiculous: meditation. He went on to write the bestselling book, 10% Happier, and launch the 10% Happier podcast. Guests include legendary meditation teachers — from the Dalai Lama to Western masters — as well as scientists, and even the odd celebrity. But the show also ventures beyond meditation, bringing on leading researchers in areas such as social anxiety, bias, creativity, productivity, and relationships.


Bianca HarrisDr. Bianca Harris is a specialist in pulmonary and critical care medicine at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center. Her expertise is in treating patients who have been admitted to the hospital ward or intensive care unit with breathing problems due to cancer and its related-treatments. Over the past few years she has also been writing a personal narrative on imposter syndrome as it pertains to women in academic medicine. Lastly, she diverts much attention to raising her son (Alexander), husband (Dan) and 3 cats (Ruby, Toby and Steve).


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