Open Retreat is on

The details for the upcoming two day open retreat in the East Bay of California have been updated and somewhat finalized. I am still looking for three or four teachers to cover the morning and afternoon talks/practicums/teachings on each day. Even if they can only come for that time period or that half of the day, it would be great to get some local, Bay Area, teachers to come out and teach.

The organizational site for this event is I plan on additional quarterly open retreats and, probably, a monthly day-long sit on a weekend day.

You can RSVP on if you’re local and want to attend. Please consider joining our e-mail list as well.

I include the details below.

This is a open retreat, unaffiliated with any specific organization or tradition of practice. This is occurring on November 19 and 20, 2011.

This is a 2 day, community organized non-residential retreat. This retreat will be a collaboration of practitioners from the varied Buddhist traditions and will consist of periods of sitting and walking meditation, group discussion, and recorded Dharma talks from known and respected teachers. We are also seeking a local teacher who might wish to share live teachings, in person.

This retreat will be primarily facilitated by Al Jigen Billings, but will ultimately be community directed, according to the needs of the present participants. We hope that each person will bring something to add to the altar, and an intention or aspiration to share with the group for these two days of shared practice. This retreat will be suitable for students of all levels of experience, and we welcome people from all traditions. However, only basic instruction will be offered, so please contact us ahead of time to find out if this retreat is right for you.


The daily schedule will look something like the following, with the caveat that this is a more "Zen" version and the actual schedule may be more diverse than this:

The idea is to alternate periods of meditation that occur for most of two hours with other practices or talks.

We would love to see meditation methods, such as Vipassana techniques, explained and led for any of the larger block meditation sessions by other community members.

This should not be a "top down" style of event but one with just a couple of facilitators. We can do what the people who arrive want to do with a schedule planned ahead of time, loosely, to frame things if people do not feel an urge to diverge.

Who: Meditators from all traditions and all levels of experience

What: A 2 day, community organized, non-residential retreat

When: Nov 19 & 20th  9am-7pm (both days)

Where: Bear Oaks Practice Center, 315 Bear Oaks Lane, Briones CA, 94553

Why: to share two days of practice with a diverse community of practitioners

What to bring: Lunch and snacks, warm comfortable clothes, a shawl or blanket if desired for sitting, a rain coat in case of inclement weather

Price: $20-$40 suggested dana (for both days). No one is turned away for lack of funds.

For more information: Please contact Al Jigen Billings at</p>

About the Location, Bear Oaks Practice Center:

BOPC is a newly formed retreat/home in the hills of the Briones Regional Park Area. Set on 2 quite acres of land amidst horse farms, rolling hills and pastures, there is a peaceful and sizeable meditation hall,  room for a vast garden, and a wooded hillside on which meditation platforms will soon be built. BOPC offers various programs ranging from non-residential retreats, day-longs, workshops, short/long term classes, and other events that support the arts, awakening, spiritual practice and healing. Outside groups are welcome to rent the BOPC meditation hall/community room for private or public events.

The stewards and residents of BOPC have committed  their efforts to the co-creation of a Dharma inspired refuge, which welcomes people of all spiritual traditions. They welcome the participation and presence of people of all levels of experience and interest in spiritual practice, and hope to support the intersection of the varied and diverse communities of the Bay Area.

To help initiate BOPC, DANA (generous giving) is welcomed in many forms: financial donations, toilet paper, garden assistance, tea and food supplies, garden tool donations, etc. When giving generously please consider yourself a member of the BOPC community. BOPC has been created for the purpose of supporting the awakening of all beings.

BOPC is13 miles east of Berkeley, 10 miles south of Martinez, and 6 miles west of Walnut Creek. For further information about BOPC please call 360-622-6388 or email