Jon Joseph, Roshi, with visiting teacher David Parks, Sensei, of Bluegrass Zendo, Waco, Kentucky.

Chao Chou instructed the assembly, “The Great Way knows no difficulty; it simply refrains from picking and choosing. As soon as these words are spoken, you might judge that this is picking and choosing, or that it is clear. I do not dwell in clarity.”

– The Blue Cliff Record, Case 2

Throughout the whole of our lives, by one path or another, with all our heart, we are seeking the Great Way. We strive and search, and search and strive. It is a wonderful thing that we do, this practice. And it is a wonderful thing that we seek, this awakening.

But our old-friend Chao Chou is telling us that in all the universe, there is not the least bit of struggle. That this world is whole and complete, just as it is. His is an invitation to toss away all notions of parsing, beliefs, words, and even clarity. He is asking us to un-know difficulty by throwing away all things. What a wonderful invitation! Let’s try that together for one weekend in March.

Register Now


  • Time and Date: Friday, March 15th, 7:00pm to Sunday, March 17th, 4:00pm.
  • Commuter: $200 (Facility fee $180, Teacher fee $20 – includes Saturday breakfast, lunch, dinner; Sunday breakfast, lunch)
  • Resident: $330 (Facility fee $310, Teacher fee $20 – for two nights in single room; Friday dinner, Saturday breakfast, lunch, dinner; Sunday breakfast, lunch).
  • Scholarships are available, as are limited neighborhood home-stays. All inquiries please Carla Thomas,

Photo: Courtesy of Tim Walters

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