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.”
“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 |
Rikki Asher, PhD
Since 1976, Rikki began practicing with Master Sheng Yen. She is a former member of DDMBA of North America Board of Directors, a certified yoga teacher, member of the California Yoga Teachers Association. As a graduate of Lehman College, City University of New York (CUNY) with a Masters in Fine Arts (MFA) in painting, and a Doctorate in Art Education (Ed.D.) from Columbia University, she combines her background in art and education with meditation as Director of Art Education in Queens College CUNY. Mindfulness and yoga techniques tend to find their way into her college classes for art education training, in work with inner-city teenagers, and various adult and senior adult groups. She has led one day and three-day silent retreats, teaches yoga and meditation classes in synagogues, churches, libraries, local Y's, yoga centers, community centers, and at the Omega Institute.
She has taught at the Chan Meditation Center, and the Dharma Drum Retreat Center since 1999, and formal beginners and intermediate meditation classes since 2004.
Meditation teacher, began practicing meditation with Shifu in 1978. She is a member of the Chan Meditation Center Board of Trustees. She teaches Beginners Meditation Classes and conducts One Day Chan Retreats. She also teaches Metta Contemplation at the DDYP College Retreat and Wellness Chan Retreat at the Dharma Drum Retreat Center in Pine Bush, New York. She lives in Connecticut and teaches English to seventh graders.