A Zen Center in Asheville, NCNavigation
Windhorse Zen Community is a group of Dharma practitioners dedicated to a dynamic, engaged Zen practice, on the mat and in the world. The Windhorse is an ancient symbol of the boundless freedom and energy of our own intrinsic nature, and the fundamental perfection of all existence. With the Three Jewels of Buddha, Dharma, and Sangha on its back, the Windhorse carries this teaching of Original Perfection to beings in all directions. At Windhorse, located in the Asheville area of North Carolina, we work to support each other in the challenging task of bringing this teaching to life in the midst of our daily lives. More about Our Community Founded by Lawson Sachter and Sunya Kjolhede, Windhorse relocated from Upstate New York to the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina, just outside of Asheville. Both Sunya and Lawson are Dharma heirs of Roshi Philip Kapleau and have been practicing Zen for over 30 years. Married and ordained, with four grown children, they’ve been exploring ways of integrating traditional Zen practice within the context of family and relationship, social and environmental activism, and group and intrapsychic dynamics. The basis for this exploration is a zazen (meditation) practice that integrates the concentrated energy of Rinzai Zen with the deeply rooted faith-mind of Soto practice. Daily sitting and extended retreats, or sesshin, lay the foundation for seeing into the root illusion of a fixed, isolated self, opening the way for genuine and lasting change—in Read more […]Read More
Dokusan, or private instruction, provides an opportunity for Zen students to work directly with a teacher in a confidential, face-to-face setting. In the early days of Buddhism in Asia, interactions between Buddhist masters and their students usually occurred in public gatherings of the monastic community, or in spontaneous interchanges during work and other temple activities. Over the centuries, particularly in Japanese Zen, such interactions became increasingly private and formalized. In time, these private meetings, known by the Japanese term dokusan, became an integral aspect of Zen training. Today in the West, dokusan has become an essential element of practice for many Western Zen students, and is especially emphasized in the Rinzai tradition. In Zen retreats, or sesshin, dokusan is usually offered 2 or 3 times each day. During dokusan, students may bring up questions relating to practice, may demonstrate their breath or koan work, or may simply sit quietly with the teacher. Dokusan may be brief or it may last a while, the length of time being no indication of the quality of the encounter. Maintaining clear boundaries and a respectful confidentiality in the teacher-student relationship, both inside and outside of dokusan, helps to establish the trust so essential to working closely and deeply together. This unique relationship, grounded in the fundamental integrity of Mind itself, can be a great help to the student in dealing with inevitable difficulties and doubts that Read more […]Read More
Together, teachers Lawson and Sunya lead a residential training program at the property in Alexander. Some residents work full time at the Center, and some part-time. Members of the larger sangha attend sittings here. Non-residents are also welcome to participate in the training program at Panther Branch, and may spend periods of time living, working, and sitting zazen with residents according to the daily schedule. This schedule includes morning and evening zazen and chanting, dokusan (private meetings with a teacher) several times a week, vegetarian meals, circle practice, and samu, or work practice – a way to deepen ones practice and integrate it into daily life. Work activities include everything from housekeeping and meal preparation to organic gardening and building. Windhorse Zen Community has a strong commitment to examining our environmental impact on the planet, and to exploring alternative, more sustainable ways of living together with all beings. Recognizing the law of interdependence, we’ve made this area of research a high priority, and are grappling with concrete ways to reduce consumption and lighten our ecological footprint. To apply for the residential training program, please read our guidelines first, then fill out the application online or download it and hand deliver or mail it to us at: Windhorse Zen Community 580 Panther Branch Rd. Alexander, NC 28701 Read more […]Read More
View Larger Map Please contact us with any inquiries at email: firstname.lastname@example.org phone: 828-645-8001 or 828-645-8003 Location Our location and training center (Panther Branch Zendo) is located at 580 Panther Branch Rd. in Alexander, NC. It is about 20 minutes north of Asheville. Our address is: 580 Panther Branch Rd. Alexander, NC 28701. Directions to Panther Branch Zendo From Loop I-240 in Asheville: Take future I-26 (Rt. 19/23 and US 70) north towards Weaverville for 8.4 mi. Exit 19A onto Rt. 25/70 west towards Marshall for 4.45 miles Turn left onto Jupiter Rd., at the 4th stoplight from Exit 19A, and go 0.9 mi. Turn left onto Flint Hill Rd. (Jupiter Road curves right, go straight ahead, a left turn, onto Flint Hill Rd) and go 0.75 mi Turn right onto Panther Branch Rd., the 2nd street on the right, and go 0.35 mi. 580 Panther Branch Rd. is on the right Read more […]Read More
Located in Asheville, NC area.
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 to embody it in their daily lives.
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 practice, using breath, open awareness and koan-based 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.
We live simply, heating with wood collected from our woods, and trying to live in harmony with the earth and each other. 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 retreats, we offer residential training that makes it possible to be immersed in the practice here at Windhorse for longer or shorter periods of time.
With the Spring Equinox Sesshin now over, and the April Contemplative Photography Workshop filled, we’re looking ahead to our May ‘Zentensive.’ Led by Roshi Lawson Sachter and pre-approved by NASW* for CE credits, this workshop and retreat will include a more open schedule than our traditional sesshin, with greater emphasis on the psychodynamic dimensions of Zen practice.
This retreat is geared toward those interested in developing a greater experiential understanding of unconscious dynamics as they unfold during intensified periods of meditation; it is particularly designed for 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 and key element of deepening meditation, the Zentensive offers a unique context for clarifying and deepening one’s inner work.
Those not interested in obtaining CE credits may wish to use some of the professionally-required didactic periods for self-directed practices, such as yoga and other forms of bodywork, walking meditation, and solitude in nature.Read More