April 25th, 2020
2–5:00 pm

Xuefeng and The Last Word of Zen with David Weinstein

When Xuefeng was the cook at Deshan’s place, Deshan came down to eat before the meal signal had sounded. Xuefeng asked him where he was going and Deshan turned around and
returned to his room, without saying a word. Later Xuefeng was told that the teacher, Deshan, didn’t know the ‘Last word’ of Zen.

We probably all know somebody who’s an annoying know it all. The person who always has to have the last word. In some ways we are all that annoying person. We think we know it all…about ourselves.

How is it that Xuefeng was told by another student that their teacher didn’t know what the last word of Zen was? How was it that Xuefeng believed it? We will be exploring the journey of Xuefeng and ourselves, from thinking his teacher didn’t know the last word was to responding this way to a question about his teacher: Xuefeng was asked, “When you visited your teacher, what was it that you attained that put an end to your search?” Xuefeng said, “I went with empty hands and I returned with empty hands.”

If only we could live our lives more with empty hands. Knowing what the last word of Zen is can help with that.

—David Weinstein


About Urban Retreats

The Urban Retreat format is a user friendly, easily approachable way of participating in a meditation retreat. Starting at 9:30 we will have three 25 minute periods of meditation with a break in between each. Then we will explore the ‘random meditation’ of having tea and conversation together as we compare field notes about our experience with the koan.

Then we will have a two hour break for lunch, bring your own or explore one of the fine restaurants in Rockridge. In the afternoon we will meditate, hang out with another related koan and have a conversation about our experience, ending at 5:00 pm. There will be opportunities for private conversations about your meditation practice available.

The retreat will be limited to 16 people to preserve an intimate atmosphere for sharing deeply what arises in meditation.


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