Mercy Center



Voices of the East-West Meditation Program

Mercy Center's East-West Meditation Program has been in existence for more than 30 years. Spiritual talks recorded at Zen sesshins, silent retreats, evening meditation and Center Day, are available for listening online and downloading to your computer.

Please do not upload these recorded talks to other websites. If you would like to share a talk during a meeting of your meditation group, contact us for permission. All rights to these recorded talks are reserved by Mercy Center Burlingame.



Nona Strong


Nona Strong is a Zen teacher studying under Fr. Gregory Mayers C.Ss.R. She began Zen koan studies with Fr. Greg in 1996, and in 2019 received full transmission as an Authentic Zen Master in the Empty Cloud lineage.

"Embracing the Way of Zen, we concentrate our search for answers into a practice of silent meditation, in community when possible, through which the questions (if not all the answers) become increasingly clear. And through our practice, we put all our care for ourselves and others into a boundless medium that can help us carry that search, that practice, and its fruits into the larger world." Nona Strong

Nona Strong

August 2019 East-West Retreat


The Fruits of Practice

At the start of a retreat, we may wonder, why are we here? One answer: to harvest the fruits of practice.

Thoughts on Equanimity

Personal recollections and spiritual reflections on the meaning and importance of equanimity.


The Rev. Alice Cabotaje


The Rev. Alice Cabotaje, MDiv, BCC, ACPE, is a Zen teacher studying under Fr. Gregory Mayers, C.Ss.R, who directed the Mercy Center East-West Meditation program from 2005 to 2019. Alice began Zen koan studies with Fr. Greg in 2004, and in 2019 received full transmission as an Authentic Zen Master in the Empty Cloud lineage.

In 2003, she started sitting with the Mercy Center East-West Meditation group, then led by Fr. Thomas Hand, S.J. In 2004, when she met Fr. Greg, she recognized him as her second spiritual teacher. Through Fr. Greg, Zen has become her practice of integrating koans into daily life.

Reverend Alice Cabotaje

June 2019 Zen Sesshin


Sitting with Questions, Sitting with the Self

In this talk, The Rev. Alice Cabotaje traces the course of her own journey along the path of spiritual practice.


Tony Tackitt


Tony Tackitt is a Zen teacher who lives in Amarillo, Texas, with his wife Lisa and son Ian. Tony began Zen study with Pat Hawk Roshi in 1992 and became a Zen student of Fr. Greg Mayers Roshi in 1998. In 2019 he received full transmission as an Authentic Zen Master in the Empty Cloud lineage of Willigis Jäger, Roshi, OSB.


Through the practice of Zen there can arise a feeling of liberation from the conventions of ordinary thinking and knowing. When the heart and mind are bending more towards silence, and one is listening without trying to make things any different than they are, there's a kind of opening and renewal.

Tony Tackitt Roshi

June 2019 Zen Sesshin


I Don't Know

What happens when we experience I don't know... and how is this different from not knowing?



Sr. Judy Cannon


Sr. Judy Cannon, RSM, leads Wednesday evening meditation. Sr. Judy has been studying and practicing meditation since 2000. She has made silent retreats at Mercy Center Burlingame with Fr. Thomas Hand and Fr. Greg Mayers, and also at The Insight Retreat Center and Spirit Rock Meditation Center.

An Inquiry into Karma

As meditators, how do we understand the concept of karma, and how is it relevant to our practice?


Margaret Gainer

Margaret Gainer leads Center Day at Mercy Center. Margaret began Buddhist meditation practice in 1995. She completed Sati Center Buddhist Chaplaincy Training, and since 2005 has taught weekly meditation classes in a county jail. Margaret teaches at several Bay Area meditation groups and churches.  

Tilopa's Six Nails

Six precepts to transform your practice: Don't recall. Don't imagine. Don't think. Don't examine. Don't control. Rest.

print Tilopa's Six Nails




Mercy Center maintains an archive of recorded talks by emeritus East-West Meditation program director and teacher Fr. Gregory Mayers. A selection of Fr. Greg's talks from 2019 will be available soon. Click the links to view and listen to talks by Fr. Greg.

2018 retreats

zen sesshins

silent retreats

on the triune

self and other

emptiness and love

what is kensho?