A 9-to-5 Urban Retreat.

There are many stories about the unconventional behavior of Danxia. The most famous is that once during his wandering years he spent the night in a temple. The night being cold, he took a Buddha image off the shrine, made a fire with it, and warmed himself. When the temple priest took him to task for having violated a sacred statue, Danxia said, “I’ll get the bones of the Buddha as relics out of the ashes.” “How can you expect to find Buddha’s bones in wood?” asked the priest. Danxia replied, “Then why are you berating me for burning wood?!” 

Danxia studied with Shitou, the 8th century Chinese teacher with whom we just spent a long retreat getting to know better. This one day retreat will be a chance to get to know another teacher and another unique way the practice can manifest. The opportunity to spend some time immersed in hearing stories and meditating with one particular teacher, ‘getting our eyebrows tangled with theirs’, doesn’t have to take a week – it takes no time at all.

The “Urban Retreat” model is, in its own way, as irreverent as burning a Buddha statue. It “burns” any ideas about what a “retreat” is and what is required to touch the heart/mind deeply. There will be opportunities for group discussion and individual conversations, as well as a luxurious two hour break at the midday to enjoy each other’s company and lunch together. Either bring your own lunch, or go out to one of the many fine restaurants in the Rockridge area.

The illustration to the left is by the 17th century Japanese artist/Zen monk, Sengai. It is his rendition of Donxia’s burning a Buddha and warming his behind with the fire. Sengai’s title for the piece is “Roasting the Buddha” and that feels like an appropriate title for this retreat. To “Roast” somebody is to make jokes about them and share embarrassing stories in the process of honoring them. What would “Roasting the Buddha” sound like? How about, “The Buddha was a deadbeat dad who abandoned his wife and kid.”? One of the results of a meditation practice is finding the ability to “Roast” ourselves as we nod and smile, watching ourselves do those things we wish we didn’t do so much. This retreat is an opportunity to do something we wish we did more often.


Register Now



  • Date – February 24, 2018
  • Location – Rockridge Meditation Community, 5463 College Avenue, Oakland, CA 94618
  • Time – 9:00 am – 5:00 pm (Individual Conversations will be available by sign-up list from 7:30 am to 9:00 am and again from 1:00 pm to 2:00 pm)
  • Cost – $60 for PZI members, $80 for non-members
  • Registrar – Jonathan Meyers, jm2112the1st@yahoo.com

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