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Oaxaca Retreat Participants



D began leading meditation sessions and retreats in Oaxaca 20 years ago. In 2017 he founded Oaxaca Zen which grew later to include an english speaking group and two small centers.

"My delight is to accompany others as they discover what it is they love and who they are. That discovery is awakening. The path where this happens is the path of entering into the lives we already have, into this present moment, even when it's dark and difficult.

"It's not about fixing anybody. It's about the unique you that you already are and the vastness that you already are. Zen meditation and koans are about exactly this, with all its facets. And everyone already knows how to meditate. It's just that you might not have noticed you do."

D has been on the path for 50 years and has benefitted from Zen and Tibetan teachers as well as unaffiliated teachers like his root teacher Toni Packer of Springwater Center who died in 2013. His main practice home today is Flower Mountain Zen where he works with Rachel Boughton, Roshi. He also participates at Pacific Zen and Ordinary Mind Zendo.  He has been equally enriched and awakened by the many friends and companions who are doing together this work of waking up.


Virginia studied biology and worked in science for 17 years. It was not until she left her career and faced difficulties in her life that she began to explore different spiritual traditions and techniques to  come out of her suffering. She first studied the Course in Miracles and later she found her way to Vipassana meditation that she practiced for many years in the tradition of D.H. Goenka. For ten years she went periodically to India and studied  in the Shivananda ashram, in the Osho center and with Anadi. Finally she encountered, through D Allen, the Zen tradition, and in these teachings she continues to deepen further. Zen attracted her because she felt these teachings were in parallel with her scientific training, since zen does not allow adornments or concessions. It only confronts us with reality as it is and, surprisingly, reality as it is, is infinitely vast. 

For three years she has been co-teaching with D Allen meditation with koans in the Oaxaca Zen group .She continues to learn about koans with D and David Weinstein.

“Gradually and without  a major effort koans have been integrating into  my life. They are like entities with a life of their own that come to me at unexpected moments. They pat me on the back and say: 'Look, this is what it is! This is for you!' "


We're an always changing group of Oaxacans, expats and visitors meditating and exploring together this difficult and amazing human life. The meetings at our two locations are informal and welcoming. Silence, conversation and insights happen. Our lives open up. Officially, we are affiliated with Pacific Zen Institute and Flower Mountain Zen, both based in California. Meetings are free and open to everyone. We depend on donations to keep our doors open. 

We hold regular meditation and conversation meetings at both our centers, in Spanish and English. Meditations are lightly guided, mostly in silence. Our conversations center around zen koans, vessels for discovering who we are and what we really love. Down through the centuries starting in ancient China, people have used koans for navigation and transformation through the predicaments and impossible situations of this human life. 


From time to time we come together for retreats, workshops or social events. Through our affiliation with Oaxaca's Casa del Angel, yoga classes, movement sessions, and various therapies including acupuncture are available. 

Oaxacan Buddha in the Arquitos Center
KOANS? What's that?

Koans are brief phrases or stories that we use in our conversations. Most of them come from centuries ago in China when people had to live with the same kinds of predicaments and impossible situations we face today: inner confusion, loss of a loved one,  political and economic insecurity, war and plagues. "Step by step in the dark, since my foot is not wet I have found the stone" is one example. Is your foot wet?


Every koan is about you and about this vastness which is everything. It's always about right now. And there's often silence in it, a stillness, a wild peace beyond understanding. And it's already all yours. Koans are like that.

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