Practicing in the spirit of these words from Bernie Glassman on a Street Retreat is a unique opportunity to experience the energy of the oneness of life. We go to the streets to let the streets be the teacher and to let all the beings and situations we encounter into our lives. We get outside of our “business-as-usual” routines, thoughts, preferences, and assumptions and open up to new ways of seeing and experiencing. We live in harmony with unfamiliar places and people.
Our Boston Street Retreat will be co-facilitated by Joshin Byrnes and Busshin Nash. In Boston, we will search for places to sleep, shelter, and go to the bathroom. We’ll beg for money and food and receive meals at soup kitchens. We’ll wander and find our way with few belongings and no planned agenda. Practicing with Not-Knowing, Bearing Witness, and Healing Action, we experience our interconnection, recognize our common humanness, and realize our responsibilities.
We begin our begging practice before our retreat by assembling a mala, or beads that are strung together and worn like a bracelet or necklace. Each bead represents a person who sponsors you on your retreat. We will wear our malas on the retreat. Money collected through this begging practice will be given away by our group, and it will support social action projects at Bread Loaf Mountain Zen Community.
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Joshin Byrnes is a Zen priest and teacher in the White Plum Lineage and Zen Peacemakers, and is the founder of the Bread Loaf Mountain Zen Community in Vermont. His practice, which is informed by his long experience working in social nonprofits, specifically in HIV/AIDS and community-based philanthropy, is centered around social action, with a focus on economically marginalized communities.
Busshin (Ben) Nash is a novice priest with Bread Loaf Mountain Zen Community and has been a student of Sensei Joshin Byrnes since 2019. He was a resident at BLMZC from 2020-2022 and is now a full-time student pursuing a Masters in Divinity in Boston, MA.