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People of all faith traditions who seek to deepen their experience of reality through the practice of Contemplative and Zen meditation are invited to join us for this silent meditation weekend retreat. Beginners and experienced meditators are welcome.

We invite you to join us for a four-day online East-West meditation retreat, hosted by Mercy Center in Burlingame, CA. This year’s retreat is special, in that it will involve the participation of three Dharma heirs of Fr. Greg Mayers, C.Ss.R., who directed the Mercy Center East-West Meditation Program from 2005 to 2019. Nona Strong will lead the retreat, and the Rev. Alice Cabotaje and Tony Tackitt will both present Dharma talks during the retreat.

We will use online technology to conduct a virtual gathering in which we can practice “alone together.” Of course, we would all prefer to sit in a proper meditation hall (zendo) and benefit from the physical presence of others, but this year, we will use the tools that technological innovation has so brilliantly provided.

Note that this retreat will be conducted online-only, using the Zoom video-conferencing technology.

We will open with an evening of welcome and orientation. The remaining days will allow for structured sitting and walking meditation (kinhin), plus breaks for rest, meals, and time spent on your own. The retreat will begin at 7 p.m. Pacific time on Thursday, December 28, and will run from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Pacific time through December 31. Participants will enjoy nearly seven hours of silent meditation (zazen) per day, including a Dharma talk (teisho) each day, as well as private meetings (dokusan) with Nona.

Making an East-West retreat is an inspiring spiritual experience, regardless of your religious affiliation. The days of silence and concentrated meditation allow you to connect with your own inner being and with what Zen practitioners know as your True Nature.


Nona: “Embracing the Way of Zen, we concentrate our search for answers into a practice of silent meditation, in community when possible, through which the questions (if not all the answers) become increasingly clear. And through our practice, we put all our care for ourselves and others into a boundless medium that can help us carry that search, that practice, and its fruits into the larger world. In Zen, everybody benefits, including ourselves.”

Tony: “Through Zen practice, Tony has learned that all of his previous existential questions just didn’t seem to be ‘problems’ anymore. Although the practice of Zen doesn’t specifically ‘do’ anything at all, there can be a sense of liberation and freedom from convention that is associated with the practice. When the heart and mind are bending more towards silence, and one is listening without trying to make things any different than they are, there’s a kind of opening and renewal.

“Then we can see what is true about life, and it is that truth, that vision, that brings us freedom.”

Alice: Alice began koan study with Fr. Greg in 2004, and in 2019 received full transmission as an Authentic Zen Master in the Empty Cloud lineage. Alice is also doing koans with Ruben Habito Roshi in the Sanbo Zen lineage and the founding teacher of Maria Kannon Zen Center in Dallas, Texas. In 2003, Alice started sitting with the Mercy Center East-West Meditation group, then led by Fr. Thomas Hand, S.J. In 2004, when she met Fr. Greg, Alice recognized him as her second spiritual teacher. “Zen has become my practice of integrating koans into daily life for the benefit of all.”


For further assistance, contact us at (650) 340-7474 or mc@sistersofmercy.org
For more information visit: www.mercy-center.org

These are unprecedented times. If finances are an issue, please fill out a learning grant form here for a grant. We want to make sure our offerings are available to everyone.