Advice for the Zoom Retreat

Pause and Reflect

A Zen Retreat/Workshop – January 30, 2021

7:00 am to 7:30 am – Our day starts with Meditation Practice on Siesta Key Beach (weather permitting). Directions: We will meet Northeast of the last lifeguard tower furthest north of the pavilion. Park in the North Lot.

9:00 am to 5:00 pm – The Retreat/workshop will be on Zoom. We begin our retreat with an opening ceremony, chanting the Heart Sutra, and a 30-minute meditation, followed by an introductory talk by Abbot Will Rauschenberger. After the talk, there will be a discussion in which each participant is encouraged to share what they most want to get from the retreat.  The opening ceremony, the introductory talk, and discussion will be most helpful in setting the tone for your retreat. Participation is required to attend the rest of the retreat.

You may join the retreat for all or part of the day. The schedule for the day is subject to change. Details and instructions will be sent to you before the retreat starts.  Please keep your audio muted except when asked during a Q&A session. You may use the text chat box to ask the host questions, privately, or visible to the whole group.

Donations are gratefully accepted.

Advice for meditating from home

Create a Space

If you wish, you can light a candle and place a flower or an inspiring image near you.

Make sure you have access to the chants and other reading material (see below).

If you are new to meditation see How To Practice Meditation on our website.

Being on retreat requires spending most of the day in silence, minimizing communication with others, and refraining from news and entertainment. Try to structure your retreat day with simplicity. Put an away message on your email and silence your phone.

Setting Your Intention

When you begin the retreat, take a few minutes to consider what is calling you to this time of deepening practice. It may be to benefit yourself and those around you, to deepen your compassion in difficult times, to release your fears, or become more loving in order to contribute more to our world.

Welcome Whatever Arises during Sitting Zen

When you meditate, especially for long periods of time, difficult energies will naturally arise. Worry, restlessness, sleepiness, frustration, irritation, and doubt are among the most common. Repeating thought patterns and unfinished business of the heart will also arise. The wind causes waves on the surface of a lake, but as the wind subsides, so do the waves and the lake becomes calm and clear. The mind is like this. Receive what arises with loving awareness and with compassion for self and others, then let it go. Do not cling to anything. What is your original face before you were born?

Welcome Whatever Arises during an activity, standing, sitting, working, walking…

Our Zen practice doesn’t end when we get up off the cushion. Be mindful and welcoming of whatever arises during this period of activity. If you are alone during this time, it can be enormously helpful to read teachings from your favorite Zen books for support and inspiration. Go for a walk, do laundry, wash dishes, do tasks that are fluid, and stay present.

If you are with a partner, family, or children during your Working Zen time, ask, “How can I help?” See what is right there in front of you. Remember you are on retreat, and with a clear mind, just reflect and compassionately listen. Life is your teacher now. Sitting, standing, walking, working, all of it is your practice.

Materials from the website for study and use during the retreat:

  1. The 6 Perfections (Paramitas): download this commentary by Chan Master Sheng Yen
  2. The Heart Sutra and the Four Bodhisattva Vows: download the Heart Sutra
  3. More reading: Diamond Sutra10 Ox herding pictures, Trusting in Mind


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