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Rohatsu – Street Retreat

December 1 - December 8

Join Joshin Byrnes for the 2022 Annual Rohatsu Street Retreat in San Francisco

Street Retreat:
December 1-8, 2022
Start Thursday December 1, 2pm
End Thursday December 8, 10am

*This street plunge will proceed barring unforeseen spikes in Covid among vaccinated people. You must be fully vaccinated to attend. We’ll all be watching the course of Covid unfold in the coming months, and will make decisions about going ahead with the retreat as realities unfold. 

2,500 years ago Shakyamuni Buddha led his monks each day in the practice of begging for food, receiving whatever was offered with gratitude. In this retreat we will plunge into a variation on this early Buddhist practice of letting go of attachments. At Rohatsu, we also remember and explore the Buddha’s – and our own – awakening to the oneness of life.

We will plunge into life on the streets: begging for money, finding places to get food, a place to sleep, shelter, public bathrooms, and practicing with seeing ourselves as other and others as ourselves. We wander and find our way with few belongings and no planned agenda. In this way we practice the three gates of liberation – emptiness, signlessness, and aimlessness.  By embedding ourselves within life on the streets we start to directly see our impulses, assumptions, prejudices, and boundaries. Practicing with Not-Knowing and Bearing Witness we experience our interconnection, recognize our common humanness, and realize our responsibilities.

We begin our begging practice before our retreat starts by assembling a mala, or beads that are strung together and worn like a bracelet or necklace. Each bead represents a person who sponsors that participant’s street retreat, and the entire mala represents the community of support. We will wear our malas on the street retreat. Money collected through this begging practice will be given away by our group, and it will support the social action projects at Bread Loaf Mountain Zen Community.

“When we go… to bear witness to life on the streets, we’re offering ourselves. Not blankets, not food, not clothes, just ourselves.” – Bernie Glassman, Bearing Witness

For registration, please fill out this form.
Click here for info on Preparation, Logistics and Guidelines.


December 1
December 8
Event Category:


Streets of San Francisco