Dharma Land

5-day Outdoor Retreat at Sea Breeze Lodge, Hornby Island, BC

It had been my wish to attend a Chan retreat lasting more than 3 days for a long time.  Finally, the moon, the stars, the sun and everything else in my life lined up perfectly.  I was able to carve out some time and fly to Vancouver for the 5-day Outdoor Retreat.  Here I will share some impressions of my experience from the retreat on Hornby Island from 9/10 - 9/14.  

Hiking Meditation

The day began with sitting meditation at a picnic area in a natural setting, a real treat for one that usually meditates in a more urban environment.  This was followed by Eight-Form Moving Meditation led by Warren.  Hiking then began on trails through wooded areas of the park.  The group hiked at a deliberately slow pace, to allow for greater contemplation of the natural surroundings.  Along the way, there was a stop to allow the group to meditate on the sights, sounds and smells of the moment.

My Experience at the 1-day Retreat with Gilbert Gutierrez

I am still astounded by my experience at Dharma Drum Mountain this weekend where I attended the 1-day retreat taught by Gilbert Gutierrez. From the very beginning of the day, I was so impressed by the generosity that permeates Dharma Drum Mountain, from the kindness and welcoming of people who run it, to the fact that the teachings are freely offered. This is my second day-long retreat, and I was greeted as if I were already family by people who remembered my name. Never have I been treated with such kindness and warmth!

Reflections on Venerable Guo Yuan’s One Day Retreat

Step into Dharma Drum Mountain’s Chan meditation center in Fremont on any given day and one feels a sense of calm and unity of spirit that is not easy to put into words but that is always present.  If you have visited the Center before, you’re welcomed back like family; and if you’re new, well, you’re also welcomed like family and provided a place to learn, meditate, and relax where your worries, at least for a time, can be left at the door. 

Post-Guo Gu’s Meditation Retreat Thoughts:

Put differently and a little less “spiritual,” everything becomes a little more real, as if, after a few years, you finally clean your glasses, ears, nose and mouth. Life and all its sensations suddenly becomes more intense as your focus shifts away from words and enters new worlds.

Weekend Huatou Retreat with Guo Gu

It was a challenge to cope with all this under a 9-hour jetlag - as Guo Gu said, "A retreat is a vacation. Vacation from past, future, body and environment."  It was a fight "Do you want to let go of your old ways or to become more comfortable in your old ways?"