After his awakening under the Bodhi tree, the Buddha spent the next 45 years of his life devoted to the awakening and welfare of all living beings, expounding the Dharma to those who were able to hear it. During the rainy season retreat of his eightieth year, he suddenly fell ill, and entered into a deep Samadhi to free him from his disease. Upon emerging from his meditation he said:
Even as an old cart, Ananda, is held together with much difficulty, so the body of the Tathagata is kept going only with supports. It is, Ananda, only when the Tathagata, disregarding external objects, with the cessation of certain feelings, attains to and abides in the signless concentration of mind, that his body is more comfortable.
He reminded Ananda that although his physical body was nearing its end, each person was to continue their efforts towards Enlightenment. He said that as he only taught the Dharma out of his own Realization, the Sangha was not dependent on him for leadership. “Therefore,” he told Ananda, “be lamps unto yourselves, refuges unto yourselves, seeking no external refuge.”
This 1 1/2-day ceremonial weekend retreat will include sitting and walking meditation, reading of the Buddha’s Parinirvana story, community offering of incense and circumambulation, and a special multi-part Sōtō Zen Ceremony to commemorate the Buddha’s final departure from the realm of birth-and-death. This retraet is an opportunity to settle deeply into awareness of birth-and-death in our own lives. Yaza (night sitting) is also encouraged.
Program Fees*: $90 members / $120 non-members.
[Includes Saturday breakfast & lunch (non-oryoki)]
Please note: if this is your first retreat at the Austin Zen Center you will need to fill out an application.
Due to the multi-part ceremony we will not be accepting partial participation, and there will be NO PUBLIC PROGRAM on Saturday. Please make arrangements to attend the entire retreat. Orientation begins promptly at 5:45pm on Friday. Breakfast & Lunch will be served to retreatants on Saturday. Dormitory lodging may be available.
* As always, AZC is committed to making the teachings available to everyone. To request financial assistance from our Scholarship Fund, or if you would like to donate to the Fund for others to be able to participate, please call Julie at 512-452-5777.