Friday, February 27, 2009


Auburn Zen Group will host a Zazenkai, or meditation retreat, at the Auburn Unitarian Universalist Fellowship located at 450 East Thach Avenue in Auburn on Saturday, March 21, 2009.

The zazenkai will start at 8 am and end at 5 pm. This retreat is being led by the Rev. Zenkai Taiun Michael Elliston, Founder and Abbot of the Atlanta Soto Zen Center. Everyday concerns are set aside and participants can commit to being completely present to the direct experience of zazen, or meditation.

Literally meaning “zazen meeting”, Zazenkai is a gathering of practitioners of meditation to practice zazen together, to hear the presentation of the buddhadharma by a teacher, and to have Dokusan, or a one-on-one confidential talk with a Zen Master. Rev. Taiun Elliston will present his unique style of teaching the buddhadharma at intervals throughout the day. Lunch will be a vegetarian pot luck meal. Bring a simple vegetarian dish to share. Silverware, plates, cups, napkins and beverages will be supplied.

Participants may silently leave and return as necessary, but are encouraged to remain for the entire retreat to better taste the essence of Zen practice. This is a primarily silent zazenkai except for dharma talk discussion and dokusan, or private meeting between student and teacher that provides the student with an opportunity for individual instruction. You are encouraged to limit other conversation. Bring a jacket, sweater or shawl if the weather is cool. Wear comfortable, loose-fitting clothes as you would for yoga. You may use chairs to sit as well as cushions provided. Turn cell phones off, please.

Zazen periods will be approximately 25 minutes in duration. Kinhin, or walking meditation, will occur between sitting periods. After lunch there will be a brief work period. The retreat will end at 5 PM. If there is enough interest, we may meet for dinner at a local restaurant where Rev. Elliston can answer more questions you may have relating to Zen and your personal meditation practice. On Sunday morning, March 22, Rev. Elliston will give a public talk on Zen during the service at AUUF beginning at 10:00 am.

If you have considered such a retreat in the past, this is a wonderful and rare opportunity to have your practice supported by others and in turn support their practice. For more information, contact Tom Hodges at 742-9495 or

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