Online Meditation Retreats

Next Retreat
Saturday, September 21, 2019
10:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. (Nova Scotia)
9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. (Ontario)
8:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. (Manitoba)
7:30 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. (Saskatchewan)

Community Practice Led by Jack Risk

For persons who have previously been trained in meditation by Jack Risk

Typical Schedule

  • Log on ten minutes before start time by clicking the blue button below
  • Welcome and introduction
  • Teaching by Jack (15 minutes)
  • Qigong (20 minutes)
  • Meditation (45 minutes)
  • 15 minute break
  • Qigong (20 minutes)
  • Meditation (45 minutes)
  • Sharing (10 minutes)
  • Closing chant

How to Take Part

  • Notify Jack ahead of time, if possible.
  • Log onto the session a few minutes before the start time by pressing the button below.
  • There is no charge for this retreat but dana is practiced.

Dowload Reading

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Click Here to Join Online Session

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Get Yourself Ready

  • Try to meditate regularly leading up to the retreat
  • Read over any materials provided for the retreat
  • Technical:
    • Highspeed internet access and valid email account
    • A device capable of processing HD video
  • Good to have:
    • Quiet, undisturbed space
    • Enough space to do qigong
    • Chair or cushions for seated meditation
    • Water, thermos of tea etc.

Retreat Presentations and Outcomes

Online Meditation Retreat, 22-Jun-19 Fukanzazengi by Dogen

Click on the link below t open the slide presentation from the retreat.

Online Meditation Retreat, 27-Apr-19 Bodhidharma's Two Gates of Practice

Click on the link below to open the slide presentation from the retreat.

Online Meditation Retreat, 26-Jan-19 The Meaning of Suffering

Click on the link below to open the slide presentation from the retreat.

Online Meditation Retreat, 27-Oct-18 In Praise of Zazenby Hakuin

Click on the link below to open the slide presentation from the retreat. This presentation contains the slimmed-down notes on Hakuin's Zazen Wasan

Click on the next link to open the larger commentary by Jack Risk on Hakuin's Zazen Wasan

Cultivating Quiescence, July 2017

Click on the link below to open the slides from the retreat on Cultivaging Quiescence that was held in Winnipeg July 21 and 22, 2017.

In this retreat I am well aware that I was presenting a lot of material and that some of it was a bit complicated. However, my attitude was that I might not get another chance to work with the people in Winnipeg and I wanted to leave them with principles that would stand them in good stead.

The section on the benefits of meditation ought to provide you with some motivation. Don’t turn these into goals or you will short circuit your meditation by striving to attain something, i.e. letting your meditation be steered by desire and willfulness. Just keep meditating.

Stability and clarity are the criteria against which to evaluate your meditation. You need both.

The concepts of laxity and excitation provide you with tools to work with in your meditation. Meditation is a matter of balance — as soon as you veer off course in either direction you are in for trouble. Of course, we all do on a regular basis but it doesn’t take much to recognize that this is where we are falling short. If you are able, for a while, to maintain the point of balance between laxity and excitation, you will almost certainly notice the sorts of things that can happen in that meditative state. As well, you will be helped to make quick progress in your practice.

The list of the nine stages of progress in meditation is the work of scholars in a university setting — Buddhist universities in which thousands of students practiced on a daily basis. As such, it is hair-splittingly precise. Please, don’t waste much time trying to fit yourself into the list. But it is good to look it over on an occasional basis to see whether and where you are making progress.

Almost all of what is in our minds is karma — the accumulation of experience and memory. Thoughts and emotions arise on a continual basis and are fuelled by karma. Virtually always, they are problematic and unhelpful. They keep us rooted in the past. The best thing to do is to get out of them. This allows the healing process to take place unfettered. It also permits the underlying goodness of our natures (buddhanature; prevenient grace for Christians) to emerge and for our lives to be changed by it. To get out of thoughts and emotions learn to hold the attention on “sheer awareness and sheer clarity of experience.” Some might call this “nothing in particular.” As the mind begins to settle down and become quieter you will be able to see more clearly the extent to which you can hold the mind in balance. Hold it in balance and pay attention only to the work of keeping it there. This is practice.

Heart Sutra Retreat, April 2016

Click on the link below to open the slides from the retreat on the Heart Sutra that was held April 29 and 30, 2016 at St. Matthew's West End Commons.

Compassion Training Workshop, February 2016

Click on the link below to open the slides from the compassion training workshop/meditation retreat that was held on February 26 and 27, 2016 at St. Matthew's West End Commons.

Outcomes of Mini-retreat, February 2014

What is Meditation For?

Responses to “What Is Meditation For?” Shared by Participants at a Meditation Mini-Retreat, 21-February-14


  • Why do I meditate?
  • What do I think meditation is for? Why is it important?
  • What does meditation do for me? What have I noticed?
  • What do I hope for from my meditation?
  • Why do I think I ought to practice more than I do?


  • To find inner peace
  • To be more relaxed
  • I feel good—physically and emotionally
  • To get rid of blockages, karma
  • It reduces my anxiety
  • It lightens the mental load
  • I am able to recognize habits, habitual thoughts
  • To quieten the internal chatterbox
  • To build presence, stay in the present moment
  • To reduce ego
  • It lowers blood pressure
  • To gain insights, solve problems
  • To think more clearly
  • I find I am able to communicate better with others and the relationships go better
  • To be more compassionate
  • I am less reactive
  • I feel more grounded
  • Life has a sense of flow, things are more fluid, I don’t worry about big decisions
  • It helps you not to want more than the Joneses, to be happy with what we have
  • It helps me be less judgmental
  • Meditation is the bridge between the physical and the spiritual worlds
  • Your vibrations are infectious, others see changes in you and they are motivated to change
  • Meditation is time for “me”
  • I want to be able to die well—calm and confident, looking forward to what's ahead of me

Some Answers from the Tradition

The linked document provides notes on:

  • Reasons to Practice
  • The Two Wings of Training in Meditation
  • How to Meditate
  • The Path of a Bodhisattva

download article

Outcomes of Weekend Meditation Retreat June 6–8, 2014

Advance Reading: Xin Xin Ming (Verses on the Faith Mind) by Sengcan

This is a classic written in the seventh century by the Third Patriarch of Chinese Chan Buddhism. You can find an interesting set of materials about the poem at http://www.sacred-texts.com/bud/zen/fm/fm.htm.

download pdf

Presentation Powerpoints

You can view the slides for Jack's talks.

download pdf


What People Say

Daily practice is not enough. You need periodic, concentrated practice as well....Group practice provides a safe, focused environment where practitioners can help each other.

- Chan Master Sheng Yen

Contact Jack

(204) 298-8586

(902) 680-0372


Kentville, Nova Scotia, Canada




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