We’ll celebrate the time of the Buddha’s awakening in a forest in early December, a place of valleys, mountains, and flowing water.

The Buddha’s story is your story. A prince who seemingly had everything was raised inside an illusion and struggled to become free. It was a time when spirits intervened in human lives; a queen became pregnant in a dream and died in childbirth; a king went mad with grief; and a dragon as old as the universe helped a young man. The prince wandered through wild places seeking wisdom until one night, sitting under a banyan tree, his mind finally awakened to a peace and understanding that is available to everyone – including whoever is reading this now.

The Buddha looked up and saw the morning star and woke up. He cried out, “Now at last I see that all beings have the nature of the Tathagata. Only their delusions and attachments keep them from realizing this.”

The Buddha’s story is a profound part of the human legacy and it continues down to the present in our lives and discoveries.

– John Tarrant

The Retreat:

Pacific Zen Institute’s Open Mind retreats come out of our impulse to make a Zen retreat that is native to American culture.

There will be sitting meditation, koans, teachings, walking in the woods, poetry, conversation, time to write and draw. Attention is the most basic form of love, as it deepens, discoveries and openings appear.

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 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.

Held at the Well Being Retreat Center in Tazewell, Tennessee.

All costs and information specific to the retreat center are on the Well Being Retreat Center website:


John Tarrant, Roshi taught Zen in a traditional Japanese manner for about 15 years and then developed new ways to teach people who had no previous experience of Zen koans or even of meditation. John has a PhD in psychology and is the author of: Bring Me The Rhinoceros & Other Zen Koans That Will Save Your Life, and The Light Inside the Dark: Zen, Soul, & the Spiritual Life. He directs Pacific Zen Institute. He has a special interest in leadership and in creativity.

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