Welcome to Windhorse Zen Community

Rooted in the ancient mountains of western North Carolina near Asheville, Windhorse Zen Community is a group of people who come together to practice Zen, to wake up to the deepest truth of the Buddha’s teaching and embody it in the context of daily activities and relationships.

The teachers at Windhorse, Sunya Kjolhede and Lawson Sachter, were ordained and sanctioned by Roshi Philip Kapleau. The training at Windhorse blends the strengths of both Rinzai and Soto schools, using breath, open awareness and koan inquiry practices in zazen meditation. We also work with unconscious forces that deep practice may bring to the surface – both those that are creative and inspiring, as well as those that stir up painful mindstates that may undermine one’s Dharma work.

Recognizing the vital role of authentic relationship, we set a high value on sangha as the living expression of Zen teaching and practice. Along with daily meditation and regular sesshin, Windhorse offers residential training that gives people the chance to immerse themselves in practice at Windhorse for longer or shorter periods of time.

Windhorse News

New Talk by Sunya-roshi: “In the Eye of the Storm”

Posted on Sep 14, 2017 in Sangha Blog | 0 comments

On Sunday September 10th, Sunya-roshi gave a talk on how Zen practice informs the ways we navigate the storms of our lives individually and collectively.

Find it on our Dharma Talks page or listen to it directly here.

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Lawson-roshi Radio Interview this Monday!

Posted on Jan 20, 2017 in Sangha Blog | 0 comments

This coming Monday morning, January 23rd, at 11:00 Lawson-roshi will be a guest on Dr. Bob Hanna’s AshevilleFM’s Living Well radio program. The conversation will no doubt touch into aspects of compassion, intimacy, loneliness, grief, rage and guilt; the imperative of relationship; the dynamics of self-transformation; and the power of the sacred. In other words, it will be about our lives and the world, about Psychodynamic Zen, and about a range of other issues that can be found in AwakeningZen.org.

Living Well is hosted by Dr. Bob Hanna, a therapist with a heart-centered, mindfulness approach to helping adults, couples, and families in the Asheville area. An archive of Living Well podcasts, including Dr. Bob’s earlier interview with Sunya-roshi, can be found at his website: bobhannaphd.com. You can tune into Living Well at 103.3FM, or find it on-line at ashevillefm.org.

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Living Dharma in Challenging Times

Posted on Dec 27, 2016 in Sangha Blog | 0 comments

Living Dharma in Challenging Times
Dear Sangha and Friends, As this tumultuous year of 2016 comes to a close, we wanted to reach out to you, and not only to ask for financial support. We’re also feeling the need to share with you our deep concern and hopes as we find ourselves at what appears to be a decisive tipping point in human history. It’s strikingly obvious: we live in a time of increasing polarization, fanned by the rhetoric of anxiety and alienation. We seem to keep repeating deeply destructive patterns that have led now to global suffering on a scale almost impossible to grasp. Somehow we must find our way back to the essential unity and wholeness at the heart of it all. It’s time for real change, and there’s no time to lose. As Einstein said, “You cannot solve a problem from the same level of consciousness at which it was created.” We completely agree. And we also believe that Windhorse can help bring about the shift in consciousness so needed now by providing a place where people can come to understand, train, and transform their lives in the context of the Buddha Way. Over the past year we’ve seen many fine changes at our center: the retreat lodge is now in regular use, sesshins are strong and on-going, and the new, accredited Zentensive trainings have also been very well received. Along with radio interviews and talks, we’ve been doing a series of weekly programs in Asheville, and are looking ahead to our Third Annual Contemplative Photography Workshop this spring, Read more [...] Read More

Ceremony of Gratitude this Sunday

Posted on Nov 17, 2016 in Sangha Blog | 0 comments

Ceremony of Gratitude this Sunday
This Sunday, November 20, we’ll have our annual Ceremony of Gratitude at Windhorse and we’d love to share this special event with as many of you as possible. Especially now, in this time of widespread uncertainty and unrest, it is so important to come together as a sangha for zazen, ceremonies and celebrations like this one and the others following it next week: the Famine Relief Ceremony next Tuesday evening, and our festive community Thanksgiving potluck on Thursday.        Please join us for whatever you can, so that together we may touch into and bring forth the healing powers of Buddha, Dharma and Sangha for the sake of all!       With warm regards (it’s good to be back!),       Sunya and Lawson   Reminder: Children are welcome to attend this Sunday’s events – just let us know in advance if you plan to bring them, so that we can arrange a place for them in the retreat lodge during the initial period of zazen.  And please bring a brunch dish to share afterward if you can.   Read more [...] Read More

Zentensive Workshop and Retreat October 2016

Posted on Jun 9, 2016 in Sangha Blog | 0 comments


We are pleased to announce that our upcoming October 2016 Zentensive Workshop and Retreat has been pre-approved by The Washington School of Psychiatry for 30 CEs (including 2 for ethics) for a range of professionals, including physicians, psychologists, and social workers. This Zentensive, led by Roshi Lawson Sachter, will place a greater emphasis on the psychodynamic dimensions of Zen practice, and will offer a more open schedule than our traditional sesshin.

Zentensives are specifically geared toward those interested in developing a greater experiential understanding of the unconscious dynamics as they unfold during intensified periods of meditation; it is particularly designed for experienced practitioners and mental health providers who wish to expand their work on both personal and professional levels. With a more open structure, and its focus on the unconscious as an often-unrecognized yet central element of deepening meditation, the Zentensive offers a unique context for clarifying and deepening one’s inner work.

For more detailed information, or to register click here.

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Buddha’s Birthday: May 29th!

Posted on May 16, 2016 in Sangha Blog | 0 comments

Buddha’s Birthday: May 29th!
WINDHORSE CELEBRATION & OPEN HOUSE: COME ONE, COME ALL! Members and Friends of Windhorse of All Ages -- and your Friends and Family, too (children most welcome!): Please join us on Sunday, May 29, 1:00-5:00pm and beyond, for a FESTIVE DAY & OPEN HOUSE, celebrating the Buddha’s Birthday and our newly certified residential building! Although the Dedication and Grand Opening of that space will take place at a later time, we can finally report—with great relief, joy and gratitude to so many—that we have just secured the long-sought certificate of occupancy for this building.  Although much remains to be done to finish, furnish and landscape the beautiful space, the LIGHTS are on at last, and we can use the building for sesshin and for this Spring Gathering on the Sunday before Memorial Day! ____________________ SO -- We plan to start at 1:00 on the afternoon of May 29, with the story of Buddha’s Birth and the traditional pouring of tea over the Baby Buddha, followed by bubble-blowing, games, face painting and badminton, etc, etc.  We’ll eat around 4:00, so please bring vegetarian food to share. Also bring, if you can, dishes and eating utensils for your personal use, to help us cut down on paper and plastic waste. You may also wish to have some ground cover for sitting outdoors, as well as a Flower Offering for the Baby Buddha altar. Those who wish to stay on into the firefly-lit evening are very welcome to do so. AND – on Saturday, May 28, Read more [...] Read More