Posted in Zen Buddhism

Deer Park Retreat 2004, Prologue

I went on a retreat to Deer Park Monastery in Escondido, CA in 2004 to study with Vietnamese Zen Master Thich Nhat Hanh. It was the “rainy season” retreat. All the monks and nuns from both of Thich Nhat Hanh’s monasteries were in residence: about 250 of them. There were also about 250 lay people. The retreat lasted three months. Some few lay people were there the entire time. I got to go for a whole week, and it was a mind-opening experience.

I kept a journal then, and I’ve decided to publish it here for what it’s worth. As always, to practice right speech I may censor people’s names. (For example, you won’t find which of my roommates snored.) I was rather opinionated in parts of my journal of 4 1/2 years ago. I’d like to think that I’m less so today. Whether I’ve grown or not, I submit my journal “warts and all.” Perhaps there’s something to be learned here.


Ven. Dr. Myodo Jabo (Sandy Gougis) is a Zen Master and Priest in the Five Mountain Zen Order. She began studying Theravâdin Buddhism in 1998, adding Zen in 2003, and Vajrayana Buddhism in 2008. She currently practices in both the Zen and Tibetan traditions. Her Zen teacher is Most Ven. Wonji Dharma of the Five Mountain Zen Order, and her Tibetan guru is Lama Tsultrim Allione of Tara Mandala. In her free time, Myodo enjoys painting, jewelry making, and other creative endeavors.

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