Sesshin at Norrbyskär, Umeå 14-21 September 2019


This fall Ordinary Mind Umeå invites you to a silent traditional seven day sesshin. It will be held at a conference site of the Swedish State Church, on the island of Norrbyskär 40 km south of Umeå.


The site is originally the old schoolbuildings of the island, from the time when a big sawmill was still in operation. (1895-1952).

The building to the left will hold our zendo and the one to the right will be our dormitory

For more information about the history of the island go to the end of this webpage


The dining room and the kitchen is in the building in the center           


About Sesshin

During sesshin we train the very easy with the very hard: To just be. Not seeking to achieve anything, judge or trying to change oneself. Zen meditation is about to have the guts to experience our lives, moment by moment exactly like it is. A practice in mindful presence, and in showing compassion to oneself and others

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We get up early in the morning, meditate a lot and help out with the household chores. All is done under silence.  Each day we have sitting and walking meditation (Zazen, Kinhin), work period (Samu), and private talk (Dokusan) with our teacher Karen.

Our tradition, Ordinary Mind


Ordinary Mind is a branch of Zen founded by Joko Beck (1917-2011). Within Ordinary Mind we are encouraged to work, and be with the thoughts and feelings of everyday life, instead of avoiding and running away from them in our different ways, and to practice in being present with life as it is this very moment.


Karen Terzano has been active in Zen since the end of the 80´s and has in later times spent more time in Finland where she together with her group bought an old school building and founded Ordinary Mind Zendo Finland. Karen has worked as a university teacher/professor, psychologist, therapist and with research. Before coming to Ordinary Mind she has also studied within the tradition of Philip Kapleau and other traditions. Her teacher since 2009 is Barry Magid. She was ordained by him as a Zen teacher in 2011.

About Meditation, some quotes


”Our Zen training is designed to enable us to live comfortable lives. But the only people who live comfortable, are those who learn not to dream their lives away, but to be with what´s right-here-now, no matter what it is: good, bad, nice, not nice, headache, being ill, being happy. It doesn’t make any difference.”  

-Joko Beck, founder of the Ordinary Mind School, from “Everyday Zen”

“Practice may, I hope, over time make me a somewhat wiser, less self-centered, more joyous person, but it will not turn me into Shakyamuni Buddha, or Gandalf. We should not complain about our lack of perfection, but rather use practice to explore why we feel inadequate if we are anything less than perfect, according to some abstract or idealized standard”

-Barry Magid leader of Ordinary Mind, New York,  from “Nothing is Hidden”

“If we become drawn away by thoughts, by longings, by hopes and fears, again and again we can return to this present moment. When one thought has ended and another has not begun, we can rest in that space. We train in returning to the unchanging heart of this very moment. All compassion and all inspiration come from that.”

-Pema Chödrön. American tibetan buddhist, and leader of Gampo Abbey, Nova Scotia. From “When things fall apart”

About accomodation

Accomodation will be done in rooms with 6, 8, 10 or 12 beds in 7 different rooms. We will not have to crowd the rooms as there are 47 beds avaiable.

About food

Vegan. Please inform us about your eventual food allergies, in the registration sheet

The trip to Norrbyskär


To get to Norrbyskär 40 km south of Umeå, you have to go to Hörnefors by train or bus  ( 56 skr is the ticket price) There you will be picked up and taken to Norrbyn, where the ferry for the island leaves.

The ferry leaves  from Norrbyn at 9.30, 11.30 and 15.00. The ticket is part of the participation fee.

We leave Norrbyskär Saturday the 21/9 at 17.00.

If you have questions about transportation pleace contact Lotta Nilsson. +4673-0326769

Sesshin fee


Full time: Saturday afternoon to Saturday afternoon, 2300 Skr

Part time: Monday afternoon to Saturday afternoon, 2000 Skr

Part time: Wednesday afternoon to Saturday afternoon, 1700 skr

Last day for payment is the 26th of August


Registration is made here : Sesshin registration


Please contact us if you have questions and thoughts about whatever

Mats Pleje, Coordinator, 070-274 76 09

Lotta Nilsson, Transportation organizer, 073-0326769

Amanda Portström, 070-7681368

Katarina Brodin, 073-0330965

Nils Hedman, 076-1354910

History of Norrbyskär


Norrbyskär is a small group of islands outside of Umeå Sweden. From 1895 to 1952 it was the location of a steam-powered sawmill, which at one time was one of the largest of its kind in Europe, owned by the Mo och Domsjö corporation. Initiator of the mill was the head of the company Frans Kempe

When Kempe bought the 72 islands and islets in year 1890 they were empty.

The previous owners, the farmers from nearby Norrbyn, considered the island useless. Kempe was a social engineer and planned not only the sawmill but the whole community including school, church, roads and homes.

When the sawmill opened in 1895 he hand-picked the best workers from his other sawmills. Kempe provided them and their families with a high standard of living and high salaries to make them dependent on their employer and to keep the unions and workers' movement away from the island, a strategy that only succeeded until 1919.

During a 10-year period after the sawmill closed down in 1952 the company still had people employed to de-construct and take care of valuable parts of the sawmill. During the 1960s the last inhabitants moved from the islands. The old worker homes where sold out and used as summer houses. (From Wikipedia)

This sesshin is done in cooperation with BFU and Bilda