Archive for the ‘Retreats’ Category

Charles River Zen Schedule

Please visit the web site of Charles River Zen to learn about the latest events, schedule, and what is going on in our Watertown location.
The calendar of events on is supplied by the same source as CRZ, however, please have a look at the new site.

Hanamatsuri: Buddha’s Birthday Retreat April 2-3

Please join us to celebrate the historical Buddha’s Birthday with a day retreat on Saturday, April 2nd. The retreat starts at 9:00 am with formal tea, followed by morning chanting. At noon a formal vegetarian meal will be served in the traditional manner, eating in the Zendo.The afternoon schedule includes more seated meditation, walking, chanting, and the opportunity to meet with the abbot individually. The day program concludes at 5 pm.

Sunday morning the schedule begins at 9 am with the traditional Sunday program: chanting, sitting, walking. At 11:30 am there will be the Hanamatsuri ceremony, in which the Baby Buddha is bathed in sweet tea by everyone who wants to participate. Please come and participate in this yearly event that has been tradition at the CBA for the last seven years. It is a unique experience that nobody should miss!

Special Program: Buddha’s Birthday, May 2, 2010

On May 2nd we will celebrate Buddhas Birthday with an early start for the Sunday schedule, 7 am. There will be sitting until 9 am, followed by a break with informal, self-serve silent breakfast. The schedule will resume with the usual 10 am sits, and end early at 11:15 am to prepare for the Hanamatsuri Ceremony, which will follow around 11:30 am.

Hanamatsuri (Flower Ceremony) commemorates the birth of the historical Buddha. It is usually held on or around April 8, but some temples delay it. Shuko and Dokuro had the pleasure to participate in Hanamatsuri at Rinzai-ji in Los Angeles on April 8. The CBA Hanamatsuri has been a tradition since Houn-an Dharma Cloud Hermitage started to attend the Zazen-kai.

The ceremony involves lots of flowers, petals on the altar, and the standing baby Buddha in a bowl of sweet tea. In the beginning the Abbot opens the ceremony with prostrations while everybody chants, then four celebrants circumambulate the altar and chant. After each line of the chant the baby Buddha is bathed with a scoop of sweet tea. When the circumambulation ends after the third repetition of the chant, everyone in the community is invited to bathe the Buddha. This is especially popular with the children, who love the color of the flowers and the bathing.

After the ceremony there will be an informal light lunch served. To offset the cost of the food and the flowers a donation for the participation in the ceremony and the early schedule is requested. No sign-up is required, but let us know that you will come so we can prepare enough food.

March Retreat: 3/14, 7 am – 5 pm

Please join us for our first day-long retreat that will be held on Sunday, March 14, from 7 am till 5 pm.

The retreat will be a full day of formal practice, including two chanting services, a formal Mt. Baldy style lunch, a Dharma talk, lots of zazen, kinhin, and the opportunity for an informal meeting with a Zen teacher. In the morning there will be an informal, self-serve breakfast for those who participate in the early morning schedule. The early schedule will continue with the general Sunday morning schedule at 10 am for those who want to join later.

In any case, if you are planning to attend, please let us know so we can plan for the appropriate amount of food for the meals. The suggested donation for the full day (including two meals) is $40, for any part of the day including lunch $30, members receive a $5 discount. Nobody will be excluded due to financial reasons. Please see the vice-abbess or contact us to make arrangements if you experience financial hardship.

The full schedule will be announced in detail. Please remember that registration is required. You can use the contact form on this site or send mail to

December Retreat ’09


Change of plans. The retreat will be on December 12 and 13, not as previously stated on 12/5 and 12/6.

To commemorate Shakyamuni Buddha’s enlightenment, which is traditionally observed on the eighth day of December, we are holding a weekend retreat on December 12 and 13. The retreat begins on Saturday morning at 6 a.m., there will be informal self-serve breakfast, and formal lunch. The first day runs until 6 p.m. on Saturday and the schedule resumes at 6 a.m. on Sunday. The usual Sunday schedule will be held beginning at 9:30 a.m. after informal breakfast for those who participated in the early morning schedule.

Suggested donations for the retreat will be announced shortly on this page.