Join the Red Cedar Zen Community Wilderness Program for a 3 night campground base-camp wilderness meditation, ritual, and nature awareness retreat at famed Mt. Rainier National Park. Red Cedar Zen Community has practiced wilderness meditation retreats for over fifteen years in the Pacific Northwest, and has developed a vibrant synthesis of backcountry travel and living, combined with traditional Soto Zen meditation and rituals.
Standard arrival (preferred) 5pm Friday. Late arrival (if need be) no later than 12noon Saturday. Program ends 11 am Monday but some can stay on for Monday afternoon outing with sack lunch (provided) and restaurant dinner (at own expense) on way back.
Mt. Rainier is the highest mountain in the Pacific Northwest and most heavily glaciated land mass in the continental United States, standing 14,411 ft. above sea level in a majestic volcanic cone, and surrounded everywhere by expansive forests and stunning high alpine terrain, making the national park an incomparable center of botanical, biological, and geological diversity.
Red Cedar Zen Community "opened" the 100 mile ritual circuit around the mountain via the popular Wonderland Trail several years ago, and continues to perform this major circumambulation every few years as an affirmation of world peace. This year we are revisiting the mountain with an accessible base camp experience that will allow people with wide ranging abilities to participate in rituals and experiences viewing the mountain as a sacred center, a natural stupa, a manifestation of awakened presence, and symbol of world unity and enlightenment.
Our theme for the weekend will be "Meeting the Mountain." We will be exploring, through meditation, close daily living in the outdoors, discussion, and experiences in nature, how to access and practice dignity and peace as it is reflected in the presence of one of the world great mountains. Our days will begin and end with meditation at our Cougar Rock camp. A dharma talk will be part of our evening programs Saturday and Sunday. During the days we will have explorations, walks, hikes, and nature awareness activities led by various Red Cedar Zen Community teachers and leaders. Sunday's hike will be a ritual four mile circumambulation loop on one of the parks most popular and accessible trails up to Panorama Point at over 7000 feet. Those not able to do this hike can participate in the beginning and ending ritual of the hike and spend the hike time relaxing at the historic lodge at Paradise. Other walks and activities during the retreat will be short slow explorations on wide and accessible national park trails. These experiences should be accessible to a wide range of abilities.
The campout will be at Cougar Rock Campground, at a group site at the far end of a very quite loop in the campground. This is a largest and quietest group site in the park. There is space for a number of vehicles, as well as overflow parking nearby. The camp site can accommodate up to 40 people. The campground has water and flush toilets, but no showers.
A rotating set of chores will employ everyone in the daily functions of the ritual and practical life of our camping group. Our days will begin and end with group meditation practice and chanting rituals. Breakfasts and lunches will be conducted ritually in silence with chants offered. The morning, through breakfast, and the evening after dinner, as well as portions of the days where we will be walking or hiking, will be conducted in noble silence. Other portions of the day involving camp chores will allow cheerful discussion. At the end of each day we will have a social, informal dinner before resuming silence for evening dharma talk and meditation.
An advance group will begin setting up the camp at noon on Friday. Early arrivals may come by 5pm Friday evening for dinner and evening program. Late arrivals should arrive no later than noon Saturday. We will break camp and pack up by noon on Monday. Some may choose to leave then, but others are welcome to stay for additional hiking Monday afternoon and a group dinner at a nearby restaurant on the way back home that evening. PLEASE INDICATE YOUR PLANNED ARRIVAL AND DEPARTURE TIMES ON YOUR REGISTRATION FORM. BE SURE TO ALLOW AMPLE EXTRA TIME FOR TRAVEL SO AS TO ARRIVE BY YOUR PLANNED TIME.
The camping area allows tents only. Red Cedar will erect covering tents and structures to protect our meditation and kitchen areas, as well as some limited large scale sleeping tents with raised folding cots or air mattresses. Red Cedar will supply all cooking and eating gear. All meals at the campsite, as well as trail snacks for our walks and hikes, are included in your registration. You must reserve space for one of the folding cots/mattresses. Most participants will want to bring their own tents and sleeping pads. Everyone must bring their own sleeping bag. A full gear list will be forwarded with your registration.
Participants for this retreat should be in good health, be able to walk for periods of time carrying a light day pack, and ideally have a somewhat established meditation practice. Additionally, it is essential that participants should be very comfortable working in an intensely group-oriented camping environment, requiring close communication and living. Please answer all the questions during the registration process, and be sure to include a phone number. The trip leader will contact you for a short phone conversation to discuss the program.
Registration required, please click the "Register" button on the left to being the process.
There will be an opportunity during registration to make a dana offering if you choose (details on Dana Paramita here) and you may also make a dana offering at any time on the Dana page. Unlike our "indoor" retreats dana is not generally collected during the event.
Contact Wilderness Programs Coordinator Bob Penny at email@example.com or 360-927-5702 with questions and see our Wilderness Programs webpage for an overview of this program.