Beginner's Mind All-Day Sitting

9/18/2021, 9:30am - 5:00pm at Myoshinji

The retreat begins at 9:30 AM with opening remarks and zazen and ends about 5 PM. This retreat is offered in person at Great Plains Zen Center, W7762 Falk Rd., Monroe WI. Online participation is also offered. If you specify that you are attending online, you will receive instructions after registration. This retreat is especially geared for those who are new to retreats although all are welcome.

While we have had beginner's mind retreats for many years, we will offer a new feature this time. After lunch, there will be an opportunity for experienced and beginning participants alike to share their stories of first retreats and initial encounters with Zen practice. We hope these stories will help those just establishing their practice feel more at home, knowing that everyone experienced being new and wondering what they were supposed to be doing at any given moment. There is remarkable opportunity in doing something for the first time, with an open mind that has not yet formed countless expectations, “expert opinions,” habits and patterns – in short, a beginner's mind. That opportunity doesn't need to be limited to the first time we do a retreat. In fact, no matter how many years we have practiced, each time we sit down to practice, we are invited to let go of all we know, all fixed ideas about ourselves and the universe and simply be present.

There will be periods of zazen and kinhin (walking meditation) throughout the day and will include a silent, vegetarian lunch. When we return to the zendo after lunch, participants will have any opportunity to share stories of their first retreat or encounter with Zen as part of a discussion. All are welcome to join in this discussion, including those participating online.

At 4:00 PM. we will hold the Gate of Sweet Nectar Ceremony. Please remember to bring non perishable goods to be donated to the Palatine Township Food Pantry following the ceremony. The food pantry was grateful for the many bags we brought last month after our GSN Ceremony and for all of our donations since the onset of the pandemic.

Space permitting, participants are welcome to spend Friday night and/or Saturday night at the Zen Center especially if they have travelled a distance to attend.

Please read the following information carefully relating to COVID-19 precautions, use of induction stove, parking, suggested donation.

COVID-Related Precautions:

  • We are requiring that anyone attending be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 and will now require proof of vaccination. If this poses a concern for you, please contact our retreat registrar, John Genshin Knewitz.
  • Participants will be seated in the zendo at least 6 feet apart and asked to maintain distance during kinhin and lunch service.
  • Masks must be worn indoors except when eating and participants will eat socially distanced and in silence. Participants will be encouraged to eat outdoors, weather permitting.
  • There is an option to attend this retreat virtually, for those unable to attend in person.
  • Please do not attend the retreat in person if you are ill and/or have any symptoms (COVID-related or not) that indicate a possible contagious illness.
  • Participants will be directed to wash their hands frequently and to wipe surfaces with disinfectant after use as appropriate.
  • Food preparation-related and other precautions recommended by CDC will be followed.
  • If procedural changes become necessary due to changes in pandemic guidelines, participants will be notified.

Induction Stove Precautions: Note that Great Plains Zen Center now uses an induction stove. If you have a pacemaker, please consult with your physician about precautions relating to pacemakers and induction stoves. It should be possible to attend the retreat with simple precautions, such as staying 2 feet away from the induction cooktop when it is in use or whatever your physician recommends.

Parking: Our parking configuration has changed since the last in person retreat. Please plan to arrive between 8:30-9:15 AM during which time there will be someone outside to direct parking.

Donation: Donation: The suggested donation for this retreat is $50. If this amount presents a hardship, please contribute what is comfortable for you. If you are able to contribute an additional amount to help offset the cost of scholarships, it will be gratefully accepted on GPZC's Dana page.

Registration: Please register by Monday, September 13, as space is limited. Use the comments section on the registration page to indicate any food restrictions/allergies you have, if you will be staying overnight either night or if you plan to attend online.