Winter Practice Period 2023

January 12 through March 16, 2023

An invitation from Nomon Tim:

Dear Sangha, 

Coming together each year for Practice Period is such a powerful (and sweet) opportunity for us to practice more deeply and wholeheartedly each year. Our practice is continuous and ongoing and a periodic "boost" is a help. I love how the Shuso (Head Student) in the middle serves as a kind of "hub" for the sangha wheel - inspiring us with their practice and leadership and also bringing us together. The Shuso supports us and we support the Shuso and each other creating a web of mutual support. We also continue to find that pairing up with a Practice Period partner is a huge support for making full use of the opportunity Practice Period affords. And I also always remind myself to be realistic and gentle - you can't do everything, but often you can immerse more deeply in practice than you quite realized! I hope you'll join us for the Winter 2023 Practice Period. Coming together with care, focus, and commitment we change each other and are changed by our practice in the world.

Nomon Tim


Practice Period is a time in which Zen students practice intensively together. Historically, practice period started with the rains retreats of the early Buddhist nuns and monks when they could not travel due to heavy rains. During that time they settled down for more intensive practice. 

Although we don't live in monasteries, each winter in the spirit of those in monastic practice we settle our busy lives in order to intensify our practice. We bring our mindfulness and Dharma practice to the foreground of our lives more than usual. Annual practice periods have been an essential part of Zen practice for a thousand years and an important part of Red Cedar Zen for over 20 years. 

How you can participate

Practice: Come to the Practice Period events, perhaps increase your attendance at our regular weekly practices, and consider (as the Practice Period unfolds) what changes you might make to your home practice and study.

Learn: Take one or both of the Practice Period classes (see below).

Practice Period Partner: You can have a partner to connect regularly with to support your practice and study during Practice Period. Find your own partner before you register or request a partner assignment during Practice Period registration.

Re-examine your on-going commitment to the sangha: In the coming year, is it right for you to increase/decrease how often you join us for practice, how much you volunteer your time and talents, how much you can contribute financially to the sangha's ability to operate? If you have questions or need help with any of these, email

Register Now for the Practice Period


In the center of the mandala of Practice Period is the head student, or shuso, who provides classes, Dharma talks, and meetings in small groups with practice period participants over literal or figurative tea.

This year's Shuso (head student) is Ikushun Desiree Webster, and she'll be supported by her benji (assistant) Daishin Bob Andrews.

Desiree, after returning from a trip to Japan with her Japanese mother and Caucasian father in the early 80’s, picked up a book by Phillip Kapleau Roshi, read a paragraph—and was shocked to find that this was what she’d been searching for. The great Buddha in Kamakura stirred something deep and alive in her! Desiree received the precepts in 2017 in jukai with Ryushin Andrea Thach. Desiree and Ryushin Andrea continue their formal study together in addition to Desiree’s commitment and practice with the teachers and community here at Red Cedar.

Bob’s spiritual journey and meditation practice began early in his adult life. After a few years of Transcendental Meditation practice, he spent a good chunk of his 20’s living as a monastic in Guru Maharaji’s ashram. Fast forward to 25 years ago. That’s when Bob began Zen practice. He met Norman Fischer a few years later and has been a student of Norman’s and Everyday Zen for the past 22+ years. Bob received the precepts in 2004 in Jukai with Norman.

Learn more about Ikusun Desiree and Daishin Bob HERE.


Providing guidance and performing the officials duties of a priest will be our Guiding Teacher Nomon Tim Burnett and Visiting Teacher Ryushin Andrea Thach.


The Practice Period schedule is listed below. Note that some activities/events require registration - either because there is a fee involved, and/or so we can contact specifically those who are attending.

Register Now for the Practice Period


Please let us know if you end up not being able to attend an event you've registered for. Just send an email to and, if you've paid a fee, specify whether you'd like a refund or will donate it to the sangha. 


Events may be held in person, online, or both. For information on accessing our in-person and online events, see the Our Zendo Page on the website. If you are attending in person, please adhere to our Covid Safety Guidelines.


See the boxes below for Practice Period Resources

Practice Period Schedule

Here's the schedule for this year. Click on the event title for more information and to register. 

Location: Unless otherwise stated, all events are hybrid - you can attend in person or online. For access information for each, see the Our Zendo page of the website. For in person attendance, please adhere to our Covid Safety Guidelines.

Initial Registration
If you are planning to attend any part of the Practice Period - please begin by registering here so we can get you started and learn if you have any special requests.
Registration required? - YES 

Opening Ceremony  Jan 12th
Registration required? NO - Part of regular Thursday evening practice 

Opening Sesshin  Jan 12th - Jan 14th
Thursday evening, all day Friday, all day Saturday
Registration required? YES - Full time and part time

Shuso's Class: The Heart of Buddha's Teaching 
6 Monday evenings, Jan 23 - Feb 27
Plus a Saturday morning workshop Feb. 4th
Registration required? YES
Location: Classes are online only, the workshop is in person only.

Mid-Practice Checkin - February 9th
Registration required? NO - Part of regular Thursday evening practice

Introduction to Zen Meditation class
4 Sunday afternoons March 5 - March 26
Registration required? YES

Closing Sesshin - March 9th - 11th
Thursday evening, all day Friday, all day Saturday
Registration required? YES

Shuso's Dharma Inquiry Ceremony - March 11th 
Saturday afternoon.
Note: this takes place at the end of the Closing Sesshin, but you can register and attend the ceremony without attending the sesshin.
Registration required? YES - only if you aren't registered for the Closing Sesshin.

Closing Circle - March 16th
Registration required? No - part of regular Thursday evening practice.


Dana is a (financial) expression of gratitude for our retreat teachers and practice leaders who are not otherwise compensated for their time.

If the spirit moves you, you can make a dana donation online at any time on the Dana for Teachers Page

Resources for Shuso Class

Main reference/text: 

The Heart of the Buddha's Teaching: Transforming Suffering into Peace, Joy, and Liberation  ~Thich Nhat Hanh

Hardcover—Parallax press 1998
Softcover—Harmony 1st printing 1999

Optional but recommended video/recorded talks:

Insight Meditation Center on YouTube:Gil Fronsdal; Intro to Buddhism part 4: The Noble Eightfold Path

Berkeley Zen Center on YouTube or website:

  • Roshi Mel Weitsman Three Marks of Existence 8 Aug 2022 
  • Roshi Mel Weitsman  Three Doors of Liberation 15 Aug 2020
  • Talk (website only) Ryushin Andrea Thach—Pure Effort/October 1st 2022

General reference:

For our creative workshop:

Tea with Shuso

Practice Period Participants are warmly invited to have tea with the shuso to discuss practice and get to know each other more deeply. Both in-person and remote teas are available.

Sign up here: Tea with Shuso Schedule

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