3-Day Beginner’s Mind Retreat
Free of preconceptions and expectations,
judgments, and prejudices, the beginner’s mind is
just present to explore and observe and
see “things as they are.”
|Teachers: ||Rebecca Li and David Slaymaker|
|Begins: ||Friday, September 21, 2012 Check in 4-6:00 pm|
|Ends: ||Sunday, September 23, 2012 2:00 pm|
|Registration: ||Available - register online|
|Deadline: ||September 18|
“Beginner’s mind” in the Chan tradition (Zen in Japanese) describes a fresh and open attitude toward life in the present moment, free from preconceived notions and expectations. It is a mind open to genuine understanding and self-realization.
If you are new to meditation practice, or have never participated in a retreat, the Beginner’s Mind Retreat is an ideal way to begin your spiritual journey. It is a wonderful opportunity to explore Chan Buddhism through the practice of mindfulness. Of course, experienced practitioners who may have only a few days to spare are welcome to join the retreat. Even seasoned practitioners can deepen their understanding and experience on this retreat.
This retreat will introduce methods for practicing mindfulness in challenging situations, in order to transform difficulties and so improve the quality of life. Besides sessions of seated meditation, the retreat will include various workshops. These optional workshops and the flexible daily schedule will allow you to determine the intensity of your own retreat experience.
- The Art of Sitting
- This workshop provides quintessential instructions on seated meditation in the Chan tradition. It also teaches various ways to massage the body. The workshop is an opportunity for students to ask questions and difficulties relating to practice.
- The Art of Walking
- This workshop teaches three forms of walking meditation methods: slow walking, fast walking, and natural walk. Very often we take things for granted, such as walking. But the art of walking is something that can show us how to open up new possibilities in our experience of the world.
- The Art of Questioning
- This workshop explores the fundamental question of who we are as human beings through an introduction to the Gong’an (Koan in Japanese) method in Chan/Zen. In this method we confront the most fundamental questions of our existence. The quest for meaning is the drive behind all Buddhist practitioners. The format of this workshop is dialogue and discussion.
- The Art of Perception
- This workshop stems from the direct contemplation method in Chan. In this method practitioners meditate only on sound or sight itself, before judgment, comparison or conceptualization even begins to arise. The format of this workshop may be creative drawing, sound exploration, or dialogue.
|5:30 am ||Wake-up boards |
|6:00-6:30 || Yoga |
|6:30-7:30 || Guided Sitting Practice |
|7:40-8:20 || Breakfast |
|8:20-8:50 || Mindful Work |
|9:30-10:45 || The Art of Sitting |
|11-noon || Optional Sitting Practice |
|12:00-12:50 pm || Lunch |
|12:50-1:20 || Mindful Work |
|1:20-1:50 || Rest |
|2:00-3:00 || Sitting Practice |
|3:00-5:30 || The Art of Perception |
|5:40-6:20 || Supper |
|6:20-6:50 || Mindful Work |
|6:50-7:20 || Rest |
|7:30-8:00 || Chanting Meditation |
|8:00-9:00 || Dharma Talk |
|9:00-10:00 || Personal Interview |
Rebecca Li, PhD
Attended her first seven-day retreat with Chan Master Sheng Yen, founder of Dharma Drum Retreat Center, in 1996. Since then, she has attended numerous intensive Chan retreats and began translating for Master Sheng Yen in 1999. She teaches the Beginner's' Dharma Class and Beginner's Meditation Class at the Chan Meditation Center and leads short retreats at DDRC. Rebecca is a board member of the Dharma Drum Retreat Center and professor of sociology in the Department of Sociology and Anthropology at The College of New Jersey.
David Slaymaker, PhD
Began practicing Soto Zen in 1992 and began practicing with Shifu in 1995. He teaches Beginners Meditation Classes and Beginner's Dharma classes at the Chan Meditation Center in Queens, NY and conducts One Day Chan Retreats in Queens and at the Dharma Drum Retreat Center in Pine Bush, NY. David has previously served on the Chan Meditation Center Board of Trustees, and currently resides in New Jersey where he is a professor of biology at William Paterson University.