True Refuge Week: Self-Directed Intensive Practice for MRO Students
with MRO Teachers and Senior Staff
November 9 - 14, 2021
Ah, not to be cut off,
Not through the slightest partition
Shut out from the law of stars.
The inner-What is it?
If not intensified sky,
Hurled through with birds and deep
With the winds of homecoming.
—Rainer Maria Rilke
All of Buddhist practice is leading us toward our true homecoming: the discovery that this very life, this very heart-mind and body, can be the source of our deepest fulfillment. Through training, and sincere, well-directed effort, as well as the support of a conducive environment, we can find that the refuge we seek is already here. While most formal Zen training at the Monastery involves surrendering our unique needs and interests to the container of the schedule and community, we are offering this week of intensive practice to nurture the journey in a different way.
This retreat is limited to formal training students in the Mountains and Rivers Order.
For True Refuge Week, you’ll be part of a cohort of no more than ten MRO students, each stepping into residency for a special week of intensive practice in which your personal aspirations will help shape the container. Ahead of time, you and your cohort will have a Zoom meeting with a senior monastic to begin to envision the shape the week might take for each of you. You’ll have oryoki and regular meals with the residents and serve on a meal crew, participate in morning, afternoon and evening zazen and liturgy, but beyond that, the field is wide open. Would you like to devote concentrated time to studying a particular sutra? Sit zazen intensively outside the context of sesshin? Delve into art practice within the autumn splendor? Or perhaps you’d like to make time for each of these? Would you find it supportive to be in silence for the week? Or are you looking forward to the chance for conversation with fellow practitioners? As we listen to each other and reflect on our own practice at this time, we will begin to form our intentions for the week. The Monastery staff will be here to support you and will set up conducive practice spaces for you and the rest of your group to use based on your needs.
Our hope is that the True Refuge Week will provide a different way for you who are training students to intensify your practice, quiet your mind, open your heart and investigate the most important matters of this life. We’re offering this as an alternative to sesshin and it fulfills the student and ango sesshin requirements. This can be a great ground for your growth, for the deepening of yet a greater understanding of Buddha, Dharma and Sangha.
As with all in-person retreats at the Monastery during this time, participants are required to be fully vaccinated and to provide negative results from a PCR test taken no more than three days in advance of arrival.
Please don’t let financial issues prevent you from attending a program at the Monastery. If you can’t afford the program fee, there are options.
We also encourage everyone to use our Rideshare program to either arrange or offer rides to and from the Monastery.