When we meditate, things change inside us. One way or another, Zen is the thing that changes everything. Sometimes we have big shifts and pretty much everything changes; sometimes we have lots of little shifts. In this retreat we’ll look at stories and legends of how we transform.

When you are looking for awakening, you don’t know what you’re looking for. If you knew what it was, you’d already have it. Awakening comes as a surprise, and it also comes as an old friend, someone you’ve always known.

Here is a story of someone who spent many years searching. Whatever other things he was doing, he was always searching as well. As he wandered, he felt that he might be getting closer to something without knowing what it was. But one day, in springtime, he looked out across a valley and saw the peach blossoms there, and it was as if he had never really seen anything before.

He wrote this poem:

For thirty years I searched for a master swordsman.
How many times did the leaves fall
and the branches break into bud?
But from the moment I saw the peach blossoms,
I’ve had no doubts.

Centuries later in another country, the Japanese teacher Keizan wrote:

The village peach blossoms didn’t know
their own pink
but still they freed Lingyun
from all his doubts.

Awakening, enlightenment, epiphanies: They are the taste of who we really are. Join us for a taste of the journey of transformation. I look forward to it.

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About Open Mind Retreats

Pacific Zen Institute’s Open Mind retreats come out of our impulse to make a Zen retreat that is native to American culture. The idea is that when we take away the barriers to understanding, things just naturally shine.

This is a residential retreat held in a beautiful place on the ocean with a simple feel and wonderful food. There will be sitting together, koans, teaching, walking on the beach, poetry, conversation, writing and time to find out what our lives might be like without our usual stories. We will do exercises that help our attention to deepen. We will make discoveries and our lives will open.

This is a retreat that people find has a powerful effect on their lives and their understanding, both of the practice of the inner life and of the world of work and personal interaction. It has the deep strength of an intensive meditation retreat inside a form that works for people with many different levels of meditation experience. It has a schedule that makes it work well for those who would like to bring a partner or a friend. No particular background in spiritual practice is required. The retreat has limited numbers, so sign up early if you want to come.

By registering for this retreat you agree to our Cancellation Policy.

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