One-day Huatou Retreat with Gilbert

 
One-day Huatou Retreat with Gilbert     
by Barry Wadsworth
 
I've been on several retreats with Gilbert Gutierrez, Dharma heir of Chan Master Sheng Yen.  This was one of the most rewarding. 

Gilbert speaks from direct experience while using writings from Xuyun, Huineng and other past masters to illuminate his very direct pointing to the primordial, unitive awareness that is our true nature.  Gilbert has a wonderful ability to give those new to Chan a peek into the essence of Chan and throw open the gateless gate for those that have been practicing for many years.  This is the mind-to-mind teaching of old being transmitted by someone not at all unlike each of us, a person that has to make a living and deal with all the day-to-day issues all of us face. 

Gilbert rekindles faith that each of us can awaken to the silent awareness that contains and is witness to all experience and he does so in the most humble way.  He inspires through his own example and illumines with humor and enjoyable story telling.  This retreat was particularly good because of the balance between Dharma talks, instruction, and practice sessions geared to directly experience  what was discussed.  As the time keeper for the retreat, I felt the room change from the sleepy morning sessions to silent clarity as the day progressed.