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The way of the Seasons: How do we keep track and stay aware?

  • Blue Mountain Zendo 29582 Berg Ave. Mission, BC Canada (map)
Holding a bowl of tea whisked to a fine froth... Such a simple thing: yet filled with a spirit that reaches back more than a thousand years.

This retreat will include the history and a “how-to” of three Buddhist ceremonies that rely on seasonal shifts and nuance to color their flavor.

Together we will dip into

1.    Way of Tea (making and serving matcha)

2.    Chabana (arranging flowers for tea practice)

3.    Saijiki (ancient form of journal keeping for each 5-day season)

Part of the daylight and twilight will be spent in the gardens. The time of day we have chosen also has a seasonal bias with the long light. Our meal at the end of the day will have a kaiseki aesthetic.

What to bring: comfortable shoes. Clippers to cut flowers with.


Marcia Lieberman is a long-term Buddhist practitioner who has been at San Francisco Zen Center since 1989.  She has been a resident at all three SFZC practice centers.  During this time she received training in the various doan positions regarding service and practice.  She is a devoted beginning student of Tea Ceremony.  As head gardener at City Center, she also has been Flower Chiden (gathering and arranging flowers for the altars) for many years.  Together with the City Center Ino, a book was produced on the forms and preparations for the various services throughout the year.  She served as Shuso in the spring 2017 Green Gulch Farm practice period.

Prior to residing at Zen Center, Marcia taught at UC Berkeley and at California College of the Arts.  Some of the courses she taught include: theory on space and time, aesthetics of dwelling, and photographing people.  This teaching experience has helped her develop skills to communicate ideas and concepts to students.  As an artist, her affinity for the beauty and form of Zen ceremony has been a guiding part of her practice.  She has in recent years increased her focus and study of the basic Zen temple arts and their place in every day zen practice.

In the SFZC Zen community, she has given instruction on altar care (chiden), Japanese garden aesthetics, and gardening and beekeeping as devotional practices.

Mobility has been a part of Marcia’s choices and lifestyle and she has traveled widely to enrich her sense of history and tradition.  While teaching at the American University in Paris, she lived and practiced for 3 months each year at a Korean Zen center; in Japan she did research at Kyoto University on Dogen and lived at Rinso-in for 2 months.

Marcia has completed graduate studies at the Institute for Buddhist Studies at UC Berkeley Graduate Theological Seminary.  Her third photographic book is forthcoming, entitled: CLEAN SLATE: IMAGES FROM DOGEN’S GARDEN.

Marcia has spent time as gardener in all three centers of SFZC. She also tends to the tea garden (roji) at GGF as part of her tea studies. Her time in Japan included studying and practicing all three of these ceremonies.


  • Retreat fee: $40

  • Reduced fees are available to those on a limited income. Please complete the Day Retreat Reduced Fee Request form (click the link to access the form).

Dana (Donations to the teachers)

  • Retreat fees cover expenses and support Mountain Rain Zen.. There will be an opportunity to give a donation/dana to the teachers at the retreat.


If you have questions or concerns, please contact the registrar at


The Way of the Seasons