June 24, 2014
Sometimes Slowly: Affliction as Vehicle to Alleviate Suffering

A Weekend Residential Retreat at City Center for People in Recovery, August 8 – 10

You should rather be grateful for the weeds you have in your mind, because eventually they will enrich your practice. —Suzuki Roshi, Zen Mind, Beginner’s Mind

Photo: Shundo David Haye

Photo: Shundo David Haye

Our afflictions and hindrances, e.g., character defects or traits, can be such sources for suffering—for us and others. They can cloud our minds and hearts, or be weeds that grow in the garden of our lives.

Yet they can also be our greatest dharma gates to liberation and transformation. Too often these afflictions become cudgels we use to further beat and abuse ourselves, or they serve as the ever-present unconscious background that we react from out of habit energy. These approaches only further feed and reinforce that which we seek freedom from.

How can we learn to work with these in a manner that allows us to examine them neutrally, work with them productively and ultimately transform them, thus alleviating our suffering? How can we, with effort and patience, trust that they will, in due time, enrich our practice?

Photo: Clare Hollander

Photo: Clare Hollander

During this weekend retreat we will explore skillful and wholesome ways to work with afflictions (kleshas in Sanskrit). The retreat will include talks, zazen, kinhin and the opportunity to settle into a residential schedule. This is a great opportunity to experience the “inside” of a temple as we will follow the residents’ schedule on Saturday. Included will be oryoki breakfast Saturday morning, several periods of zazen and walking meditation throughout the weekend, and dharma talks and discussion on the Brahma Viharas.

This will be a gentle retreat, perfect for anyone who wants to deepen their practice and their recovery. The weekend will end with a twelve-step meeting and tea and cookies Sunday afternoon.


See the Sometimes Slowly page for more information and to register. Residential space is limited. Please call our reservations office at 888.773.9362 to book a room. “Commuters” are invited to attend, assuming they can participate in the full schedule.


Patsy Creedy (Kan Shin Ko Kai) was lay ordained by Linda Ruth Cutts in 2010 and studies with Laura Burges. A nurse, a mother, an avid surfer, Patsy is pursuing her MFA in Creative Writing at SFSU.

Tim Wicks (Gen Gyoko) was priest ordained by Michael Wenger in 2013. Starting in Vipassana, he has been a Zen practitioner for over ten years. Tim is deeply involved with the group, as well as being a sewing teacher.

Cynthia Kear (Horyo Ryotan) has been practicing Zen Buddhism for over 25 years and received dharma transmission from her heart teacher, Darlene Cohen, in 2010. Cynthia teaches throughout the Bay Area, especially from her home temple in Glen Park.

All of the teachers are deeply involved with the Meditation in Recovery (MiR) program at City Center.