The Queen of Heaven, Avalokiteshvara, hears our cries, and with great tenderness leans down into our world, and says,

Form is emptiness, emptiness is form.
Form is exactly emptiness, emptiness is exactly form.

And out of these words Zen begins. They are the Big Bang of our spiritual tradition. Under their power, the distance between our intimate lives, and the vastness of the universe that holds us, disappears. Our koans, awakenings, stories, teachings, wisdom paths, and consolations are all born from her mysterious words.

Later on she says,

There is no wisdom, no source of wisdom and no failing to gain wisdom, no sickness and old age and death, and also no ending of sickness and old age and death.

The Heart Sutra is about your own heart and about the nature of the reality that’s right here in front of you and also in you. When we enter its world we find a release from any beliefs about not being good enough to meet the moment we are in, or any fear of the apparent catastrophe of death. It shows the surprising Zen move in which you throw something away and then you grow happier and the universe gives you more. The heart of wisdom is intimate. The mystery is something that you can enter yourself, and in retreat, we all enter it together.

There will be meditation in the quiet of the day, good companions, walks in the hills and redwoods, birdcall, talks by teachers, individual conversations with teachers, time to breathe, write, consider, stop considering, and have our lives stretch out, pretty much perfect as they are.

See our retreat guide for more details about our retreats.

I hope I’ll see you there.

– John Tarrant



Event Details

  • Date and Time – 5pm Monday, June 11th to 12pm, Sunday, June 17th, 2018.
  • Cost – Varies with accommodations, see registration page.
  • Registrar & Contact – Jan Black,
  • Scholarships – assistance is available for those in need. Please contact to inquire.
  • Cancellations – By registering, you agree to our cancellation policy.
  • Location – St. Clare’s Retreat Center, 2381 Laurel Glen Rd, Soquel, CA 95073.

See the St. Clare’s website for more about the retreat center.

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