Beginner's Mind Zazenkai

3/12/2021, 7:00pm - 3/14/2021, 8:00am at Online

As in our previous Beginner's Mind Sesshin over the years, we especially encourage those new to retreats with GPZC to join us for the Beginner's Mind Zazenkai, March 12 2021. While this retreat is open to everyone, this retreat provides special opportunities for those new to doing retreats to meet with Roshi and ask any practice questions they have. Some have found the online format to be a little less intimidating way to become comfortable with group practice than the formality of an in person zendo. For all of us, this zazenkai provides an opportunity to let go of our preconceived ideas, patterns, limitations and plunge into Not Knowing, as though attending zazenkai for the first time. All are welcome to participate in this monthly practice opportunity.

We are pleased to announce that GPZC member John Genshin Knewitz will be giving the talk at 10:50 on Saturday morning during this retreat. Many may know Genshin, who has been with GPZC since 2013. Genshin serves as steward of the GPZC Service Circle and is a member of the Racial Justice Circle.

Genshin did over 20 years of informal practice before becoming a sangha member of the Udumbara Zen Center in Evanston, Illinois, in 2003. He came to the Great Plains Zen Center in 2013 and has been a regular participant in GPZC activities since that time. He took the precepts in 2016. His professional background includes 39 years working in public education as a school psychologist and administrator. He retired from St. Charles, Illinois, District 303 in 2013 where he served as Assistant Superintendent for Student Services. We look forward to his talk.

Beginner's Mind Zazenkai follows a format similar to the recent zazenkais. We will begin on Friday March 12 at 7 PM with three periods of zazen and end on Sunday March 14 at about 8 AM following the Gate of Sweet Nectar. After registering, you will receive instructions on how to participate in the retreat from home. You are welcome to participate in as much or as little of the retreat as is desirable/feasible for you. The following is a summary of the basic schedule.

Friday evening, there are three periods of sitting, including some brief precautions and opening remarks by Roshi. New students will meet with Roshi during third period in a breakout session and will also have the opportunity to arrange a face to face meeting (dokusan) on line with Roshi if they would like to throughout the zazenkai.

On Saturday morning, we begin at 6 AM with the chanting of the Verse of Atonement and Three Refuges and two sitting periods. Morning service (as well as noon and evening services) consists of a group reading, followed by a breakfast break. There are two late morning sitting periods starting at 9:30 AM, followed by Genshin's talk at 10:50 and lunch service (online) and lunch on your own. There is a self care period at 2 PM followed by a work period, during which you can do a work task of your choice at home, followed by a period of zazen and then evening service. After dinner break are three more periods of sitting (online) beginning at 7:00 and ending with the Four Bodhisattva Vows. On Sunday morning, we have two periods of zazen starting at 6 AM, followed by the Gate of Sweet Nectar. Participate as little or as much as you are able. During the sitting periods, we will turn off our audio and video.

There will not be a formal charge for the Beginner's Mind Zazenkai. Instead, we invite you to make a free will donation of any amount you would like on our Dana page. Please indicate in the comments that your donation is for the Beginner's Mind Zazenkai.
Registration by Thursday, March 11th is requested. For more information or questions about the zazenkai, email Roshi at