Sittings and Retreats

Seven Thunders is an organization formed to support growth towards a deepening spiritual awareness and appreciation of life. We believe each of us has a unique path and we benefit from teachers and companions along the Way. Membership is open to all people interested in the practice of contemplative prayer or meditation.

Formed in 1992, Seven Thunders is incorporated in Oregon as a non-profit ecumenical religious organization. For guidance we look to teachers from the Christian contemplative tradition as interpreted by Fr. Willigis Jaeger, OSB, and from the Zen Buddhist tradition of the Diamond Sangha.

Weekly Sittings

Evening or morning sittings take place in Portland and Corvallis, OR; and Port Angeles, WA. There are opportunities for private interviews at these sittings when a teacher is present. In the Portland area, zazen is offered at the Stones and Clouds Zendo, Lake Oswego, on Monday evenings. Corvallis sittings are on Monday evenings and sittings in Port Angeles are on Saturday mornings.

First Saturday Sittings at Bethany House

Seven Thunders organizes first Saturday retreats in Bethany House at the Trappist Abbey in Lafayette, Oregon. These gatherings usually occur on the first Saturday of each month, but dates can vary. The format is Christian contemplative prayer. The monks of the Trappist Abbey of Guadalupe graciously provide the space and sitting cushions (zabutons and zafus).

An orientation to sitting will be offered by our teachers before each Saturday retreat. Designed for those who are new to the practice of sitting prayer or meditation, these 20-30 minute informal sessions will begin at 8:15 A.M. at Bethany House.

For a current list of weekly sitting times and places check out the Sitting Page. If you'd like to join us at any of our sits or just want more information, please contact us at [email protected].


Seven Thunders organizes Contemplative Intensive Retreats and Zen Sesshin. Although these practices have certain outward similarities, we do not attempt to merge these two traditions. The length of our retreats is 3 to 5 days.

Retreats consist of a series of 25 minute sitting meditation periods (zazen) and 5 minutes of walking contemplation (kinhin). There are opportunities for interviews (dokusan) with the teacher (Roshi), a daily work period (samu), Eucharist (Buddhist sutra service at sesshin), conference (Teisho), and vegetarian meals. Silence is observed throughout the retreat with the exception of group recitations and private interviews with the teacher.

Contemplative Intensive Retreats include approximately 8 hours of sitting contemplation each day. Our Contemplative program is modeled after the format established by Fr. Willigis Jaeger, Roshi, a Benedictine monk, who studied Zen in Japan for 6 years with Yamada Koun Roshi. Fr. Jaeger is one of the pioneers in adapting Zen techniques to contemplative Christian practice.

Zen Sesshin consist of 12 hours of zazen daily. The word sesshin means “to touch the mind.” Our sesshin ritual was developed at the Diamond Sangha, which was founded in Honolulu, Hawaii in 1959 by Robert Aitken Roshi and Anne Aitken. Our Zen comes from the Rinzai and Soto schools in Japan.



Coming Up

Saturday, February 2, 2019 - 8:45am
Trappist Abbey
Monday, February 4, 2019 - 7:00pm
Stones & Clouds
Monday, February 11, 2019 - 7:00pm
Stones & Clouds
Saturday, February 16, 2019 -
8:45am to 3:30pm
Stones and Clouds Zendo
Monday, February 18, 2019 - 7:00pm
Stones & Clouds


Copyright Seven Thunders © 2014. All Rights Reserved.