Mini-Retreat on January 31!

We have a very special event coming up soon, and you’re invited. We will have a mini-retreat on January 31 from 9:00a.m. to 3:00p.m. That’s “mini” because a regular zazenkai (one-day or weekend retreat) or sesshin (longer retreat) would involve overnight stays. We’re not there yet, but a mini-retreat we can definitely do, thanks to our wonderful location at Memphis Friends Meeting.

So, what will we do all day, and what’s this about?

Retreat practice is a very important element of Zen because it gives us a chance to set aside our daily activities and focus on practice, to calm our minds to a degree that’s not possible even in our daily, at-home meditation. As Master Dogen (1200-1253) our founding teacher put it, the focused zazen practice of a retreat is there for us to:

Set aside all involvements and let the myriad things rest. Zazen is not thinking of good, not thinking of bad. It is not conscious endeavour. It is not introspection. Do not desire to become a buddha; let sitting or lying down drop away. Be moderate in eating and drinking. Be mindful of the passing of time, and engage yourself in zazen as though you are saving your head from fire. (from Moon in a Dewdrop)

Don’t you want to save your head from fire?

This retreat is open to anyone at any level of experience in Zen, including none at all. If you want to become a part of MZC or at least see what we’re about, this is a great introduction.

You can come for any amount of the day you wish to participate. Just be sure to enter silently and seat yourself if you come during a meditation period (see schedule below). We have some meditation cushions, but bring yours if you have one. Wear loose, nondistracting clothing. Bring a vegetarian lunch or plan to eat at a nearby restaurant. Several are in walking distance.

Donation request is $15-$20, but as always, more if you can, less if you can’t. Please RSVP here.

This is the schedule:

9:00 – 9:40am – Introduction to Zazen (Zen meditation)
9:45am – 10:40am – Zazen + Kinhin (sitting and walking meditation, x2)
10:40am – 11:00 am – Chanting
11:00am – 12:00am Talk and Discussion “Taking Refuge: Living a Zen Life”
12:00pm – 1:00pm – Meal Chant and Lunch (silent for the first 10 minutes)
Note: Please bring your own vegetarian lunch. Plenty of restaurants walking distance.
1:00pm – 1:30pm Zazen (+ opportunity for 1-on-1 practice discussion with Elizabeth)
1:30pm – 1:40pm Kinhin
1:40pm – 2:10pm Zazen
2:10pm – 3:00pm Tea and Discussion

MZC is a Soto Zen community affiliated with the Atlanta Soto Zen Center and the Silent Thunder Order (STO) of Soto Zen communities.

VERY IMPORTANT: You may only park on the street, in the small parking lot behind MFM, or in the Kroger gas station parking lot across the street. People who park in the Pittman Insurance lot may be subject to towing.

Please join us if you are able!

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