Going or returning, we are in the right place, thinking thoughts without thought, singing and dancing are the voice of the Way –Hakuin Ekaku

Meet Hakuin Ekaku, teacher of fishermen and innkeepers, housewives, generals and governors, father of the Zen Koan, opener of closed doors, who makes it clear that awakening is happening now, something you already have, available right here.

This retreat offers an immersion in Hakuin’s teachings and koans. You don’t need to know anything about koans or even meditation to come. But if you’ve done a lot of practice this will give you a chance to deepen your connection with a great master who teaches how to rest in uncertainty. Hakuin was the master who gave us a curriculum of koans, to follow you around and help you whether you want them to or not.

Hakuin told a story about a person who was separated from her companion and had to spend the night in a hut outside of town. All that night, a ravening demon clawed at the door, trying to get in. The traveler was terrified, holding the door closed. When dawn came, they were both exhausted and the door burst open. She found that all along it was her companion trying to join her. This is the story of the made-up battle inside us all, of trying to stay separate, of holding things off. It’s the story of the relief we feel when we realize we’re kin to all things.

Hakuin had a feel for human nature and also for all the special flavors of awakening. He had awakening experiences often and wanted others to have them, too. He taught creatively in order to make it possible for anyone to see the way the whole world shines, mountains, rivers and cesspools. He used the language of the peasants, he changed the koan curriculum around, he gave us a whole language of the body, of the wordless “show me” responses to koans that let people feel this awakening. He brought “What’s the Sound of One Hand?” into common use because he noticed it had a way of prying us loose from our delusions and changing the way we experienced the world.

Come join us for our PZI Fall Retreat and find your own place in the world that Hakuin tried to make plain. Listen for the sound of your own hand. See the light in all things. A long koan retreat is a time when you can actually spend the time to hear your own heart beat and to feel the space around you and the light on the falling leaves. It’s a time to let old troubles come to rest for awhile and discover what it’s like to be you.

There will be plenty of time to meditate, to meet with teachers individually, to listen to teachings and participate in explorations of the undiscovered realms of being that we each of us have inside. There will be time for walks and writing and rest, there will be good company, good food, and the universe at play.

Is anything missing from this moment? This very place is paradise, this very body, the Buddha! -Hakuin

There will be meditation in the quiet of early morning and through the day, the sounds of bells, good companions, walks in the hills and redwoods, birdcall, talks by teachers, individual conversations with teachers, time to breathe, to feel the moment, and to feel the paradise in your own life.

See our retreat guide for more details about our retreats.

I hope I’ll see you there.

– John Tarrant


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