Red Cedar Zen Community

Samish Reminders Letter

hello all,

We're very much looking forward to practicing with you all next week at our Samish Island sesshin.

A few points and reminders as it's now a week out.

1) Arrival time full time / first half:
Please arrive at the camp between 4pm and 5pm. It's okay to arrive a little earlier but if you do please take a walk by the lake or otherwise stay out of the way of the departing group and the setup crew. We love to see you and say hello but until 4pm we're quite busy. Thank you for understanding.

Our orientation will be at 5:30pm - this in an important meeting, please make every effort to arrive with plenty of time so you can attend the orientation on time. Dinner follows orientation at 6:30pm.

2) Upon arrival:
Please check in with our registrar(s) who will be assisting her with check-in's. They will be on a table either in front of our just inside the dining hall depending on the weather. Let them know you're here and pay your remaining registration balance. Dana for the teacher(s) will be collected later.

After checkin please find a cabin for yourself and return to the registration table to let them know which one. We need to track who ends up where. Please check in before you look for a cabin as not all of them will be available for various reasons. They will have a chart showing available cabins at the registration table.

Lastly, take your cushions to the zendo and set up your place. There look for our Ino, Talus Latona, so that he can add you to the seating chart. If you have arranged to burrow meditation cushions/a bench from us you will find them labeled with your name. If you didn't arrange to borrow one, know that every cushion already has a home. If extras are available we'll let you know later. Plenty of chairs are available also.

One you have: (1) checked in, (2) found your cabin, (3) checked back with the registrars with your cabin number, and (4) arranged your seat in the zendo, you're all set. 

Relax for a minute and we'll see you at the orientation at 5:30pm.

3) Finishing your Payments Ahead
If you are able to finish making your payments ahead over the website that speeds up registration. The email from "" with the subject "Thank you for your payment" which serves are you receipt for your deposit includes a special link which tells our website that it's you making a payment for Samish Sesshin.

If you can't find that simply use PayPal to send a payment to "" and we'll get it. Put "Samish 2012" in the comments/memo field.

Paying ahead makes check in quicker and allows you to use a credit card. Paying remaining balance in person can only be done with check or cash.

4) Leaving at the end of 1st half
It's low impact on us to leave any time in between lunch and dinner on Tuesday. We assume you're leaving after evening service (at 5:15pm) unless you tell us otherwise.

5) Arrival for 2nd half.
Please look for the registrar in front of, or in, the dining hall at 5pm on Tuesday June 21st. If you don't find them look at the bulletin board inside the dining hall for a note. As much as possible check-in will be conducted in silence. If  matters that you arrive at 5pm so we can have someone in the dining hall to check you in. Please do your best.

6) Silence and Freedom from Devices
Our silence practice includes no reading, texting, phone calls, and...all of it. A real break from the hyper-connected world.

If you do need to be contacted for emergencies during the sesshin we highly encourage you to give people these emergency numbers instead of checking your phone.
Use these numbers, not our regular Red Cedar Zen voice mail as those messages can be delayed in reaching us at Camp Samish.

EMERGENCY PHONE NUMBERS (during retreat only)

Priest Tim Burnett voice mail: 360-223-0687

Dining Hall: 360-766-6041 or

Caretakers (24 hours): 360-766-6386 or 360-766-8125

5) Here again is our confirmation letter for your convenience.


Full retreat: Friday June 15th at 4 pm to Saturday, June 23 at 12 pm.
First half: Friday June 19th at 5 pm to Tuesday, June 23 at 5:00 pm.
Second half: Tuesday, June 19 at 5:00 pm to Saturday, June 23 at 12 pm.

WHERE: Samish Island Campground, 11633 Scott Road, Bow, WA 98232 (directions below)

KEY POINTS - Especially for those who have come to Samish before.

* Silence - We are looking forward to continuing our silence practice this year. Please arrange your affairs to avoid checking messages, using computers, etc., during your time at Samish. Arriving at the camp by 4pm, ahead of the 5pm orientation, gives some time to say hello and catch up before the retreat begins. Many of us also have some visiting time at the Farm to Market Bakery in the nearby town of Bow just after sesshin on Saturday.

* Arrival for 2nd half - If coming to the second half it is important to arrive at 5pm on Tuesday 21nd as the registrar will be waiting for you in the dining room.

* Staying to the end - Leaving early has a big impact on dokusan, cabin and job arrangements. Count on staying to the end of the retreat at noon on Saturday. If coming to the first half only count on leaving after evening service, just before dinner at 5:30pm on Tuesday.

* Bedding - Due to the size of the retreat we can no longer provide bedding.

* Cushions - Use of Red Cedar meditation cushions (zafu/zabuton/bench) must be pre-arranged with the registrar on a first-come, first-served basis.

* Special Event - A special women's lineage paper ceremony will be held on Friday night June 22nd at 7pm. Everyone who has received the precepts from Norman will be invited to receive an additional women ancestors document.

* Schedule - The draft sesshin schedule is available online at

* Alternate Schedules - If you have physical limitations preventing you from sitting the entire schedule please contact the Registrar ahead of sesshin to put you in touch with our Ino (meditation hall coordinator), Talus Latona, to arrange an alternate schedule.

In Buddhism there is a tradition of offering the teachings freely. Dana is an anonymous, voluntary offering to the teacher. Norman Fischer receives nothing for his time and efforts with us other than what we offer him. The registration fee is used for the costs of this and future retreats only. Please consider what these teachings and this practice are worth to you. We will have an envelope for dana at the sesshin, and we will discuss dana during the orientation.

The camp opens at 4:00 PM on Friday afternoon. Please check in for your cabin assignment and get settled before the orientation at 5:00 PM. The first meal served will be dinner. All meals will be vegetarian. Please let us know as soon as possible of any dietary restrictions.

Our days will begin with a 5:00 AM wake up and end at 9:00 PM. Each day will include sitting and walking meditation, services, dharma talks, and interviews with Norman Fischer and the local Everyday Zen teachers. By signing up for this retreat you agree to attend the entire retreat or half-week schedule to the fullest extent possible. Doing the schedule together completely is an integral part of the sesshin experience and an important part of how we support each other in sesshin. The Ino (meditation hall coordinator) will work with you if you have physical limitations preventing you from attending the schedule in its entirety.

WHAT TO BRING (Please bring everything you will need, as there will be no opportunity for errands except for emergencies)
--Bedding (pillow, sheets and blankets or sleeping bag) and towels. Sorry, we cannot provide bedding.
--Toiletries and medicines
--Flashlight if desired
--Umbrella or rain gear
--Meditation clothes (dark, unpatterned)
--Work clothes (some work will be messy)
--Zafu (meditation cushion) or bench, and zabuton (pad, or bring folded blankets). If bringing a Zafu and zabuton is difficult due to travel, please inform the registrar.
A limited number of zafus and zabutons are available.

PLEASE DO NOT BRING books, computers, journals, incense, candles, perfumes, musical instruments, cell phones (or leave off), music players. Thanks!

All participants will be assigned "sesshin jobs". It is traditional for sesshin participants to support each other's practice in this way. The jobs are simple and take little time. Please let us know if you have any physical limitations.

Cancellations impact the organizers of the retreat and late cancellations cost us money due to our arrangements with the camp. Please inform the registrar as soon as possible if your plans change. Note that your deposit is non-refundable.

Samish Island Camp is on a spit of land dividing Samish Bay and Padilla Bay, just short of 100 miles and about a two-hour drive north from the Seattle airport. There is no public transit to Samish Island. No ferry is required to reach the "island" - it is connected to the mainland by road.

AIRPORTS serving the area are Seattle-Tacoma (SEA), Bellingham International (BLI), and Vancouver, BC (YVR). Unfortunately there is no public transportation to Samish Island.

We cannot provide transport from SeaTac but will help you share contact information with other out-of-town participants so that you can rent a car together (reasonably affordable if shared), or with Seattle area sangha members who may be able to give you a ride. Visitors arriving via Vancouver can try coordinating with members of the Mountain Rain Zen Community ( coming down to the retreat.

DIRECTIONS from the South (Seattle):
Take I-5 north (to Vancouver).
North of Mt. Vernon and Burlington, take Exit 231, Chuckanut Drive (Hwy 111).
Go 2.9 miles NW on Chuckanut Drive to Allen corner (grocery & espresso stand).
Turn left (west) onto Allen West Rd.
Go 3.15 miles to Farm To Market Rd.
Then right (north) 0.25 miles on Farm To Market Rd to D'Arcy Rd.
Left (W) 1.3 miles on D'Arcy to Bayview-Edison Rd.
Right (north) on Bayview-Edison Rd for 2.0 miles to "T" (Samish Island Rd).
Left (west) onto Samish Island Rd and follow it 2.2 miles to Scott Rd (as you enter onto the “island”)
Right on Scott Rd 0.2 miles to the camp entrance on your left.
Turn into this driveway and park behind the small cabins.
Total distance from the freeway at Exit 231 to the camp entrance is 12.0 miles.

DIRECTIONS from the North (Vancouver):
South of Bellingham on I-5 south, take Exit 236 (Bow/Edison Road) and turn right (west) onto Bow Hill Road.
Follow Bow Hill Road to the town of Edison, after crossing Chuckanut Drive (Highway 11).
After winding through Edison the road turns south and becomes Farm to Market Road.
Stay on Farm to Market only 0.4 miles and turn right (west) onto Bayview-Edison Road. There is a sign for Samish Island.
After 1.7 miles, Bayview-Edison turns left (south) at the intersection with Samish Island Road.
Don’t turn, but go straight on Samish Island Road for 2.2 miles to Scott Rd (as you enter onto the “island”)
Right on Scott Rd 0.2 miles to the camp entrance on your left.
Turn into this driveway and park behind the small cabins.
Total distance from the freeway at Exit 236 to the camp entrance is 9.3 miles.

For questions before the retreat, please contact the Registrar at or leave a message at 360-312-7088.
Mailing address: Red Cedar Zen Community Registrar, PO Box 5193, Bellingham, WA 98227

EMERGENCY PHONE NUMBERS (during retreat only)
Priest Tim Burnett voice mail: 360-223-0687
Dining Hall: 360-766-6041 or
Caretakers (24 hours): 360-766-6386 or 360-766-8125

We look forward to practicing with you!

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