The Buddha’s Enlightenment 7 – day Sesshin is coming right up: December 6 – 13, 2014
The deadline for applications is Wednesday, Nov. 19.
Feel free to call the center a couple of days later, to verify you’ve been accepted. Naturally, full-time participants will be given first priority.
December 6 – 13, 2014
Deadline for applications: Wednesday, Nov. 19
The life and teachings of Layman Pang are brought to life by Sunya Roshi with this pair of teishos. Pang Yun, “Lofty Spirit”, was a lay master of the Tang Dynasty period whose life, like Vimalakirti’s, is considered to be an exemplary model for the non-monastic Chan(Zen) Buddhist.
Layman Pang Part I
Layman Pang Part II
Work on the Windhorse building project has resumed! Workers have just finished the insulation and soundproofing, and already the interior looks transformed. Soon this beautiful building will really start to come to life. Once completed we’ll have a lot more room for people in sesshin, and we’ll finally be able to hold some of the extended workshop-type programs we’ve long dreamt of. For now, though, we just want to share the good news with everyone... Read more [...]
S E S S H I N – A Journey into the Vibrant Core of Being
Windhorse Zen Community will hold a 7-day Zen meditation intensive (sesshin) at its Mountain Retreat Center outside of Asheville, NC.
October 18-25, 2014
Deadline for applications: Wednesday, Oct. 1
Cost: $40/day for members; $50/day for non-members
The retreat includes daily talks and private instruction with Zen teachers Sunya Kjolhede and Lawson Sachter.
All dharma practitioners are welcome to apply for all or part of this retreat. Meals are vegan and organic.
More info and application to download: http://windhorsezen.org/about-windhorse-zen-community/sesshin-about-retreats-at-windhorse
In this teisho, Sunya-Roshi explores the radical way of the Buddha. Shakyamuni's supreme awakening is a complete turning around of the mind - a completely radical way of seeing and being in the world. Radical two and a half millenia ago - and just as radical (and necessary) today. We invite you to sit quietly and listen to this Dharma Talk. Read more [...]
Windhorse Zen Community is inviting to a 3 +2 days long zen retreat (sesshin) from August 19 through 24, lead by Sunya-roshi and Lawson-roshi.
The ‘theme’ for this sesshin will still be “Stillness in Motion, Aliveness in Stillness,” with emphasis on integrating practice in movement, posture and activities. This sesshin will combine periods of structured and self-directed practice, continuing experimentation with a different sesshin rhythm. Weather allowing, we’ll also be doing more practice out of doors.
From Tuesday, Aug. 19, through Friday morning, Aug. 22, we’ll have morning and evening sittings with dokusan available. During those days we’ll be working in semi-silence, with some formal meals and heightened awareness of how we practice “in the midst.” Those who wish to participate are welcome to stay at the center and join us during this time, or simply to come and go according to their circumstances.
Sesshin officially begins Friday late afternoon, August 22, 5:00, and ends Sunday afternoon. On Friday afternoon participants help with the final set up. The full sesshin schedule begins with a tea ceremony in the early evening. On Sunday the general sangha will be invited to the morning practice with teisho, and sesshin will continue in silence, and with dokusan, into the afternoon.
Sesshin applications should be available on line, or can be picked up at the center (pdf format).
People need to apply by Wednesday, August 13.
Usual Read more [...]
Sunya Roshi explores the relationship between Zen practice and activism. She suggests, to paraphrase Thomas Merton, that practice nourishes the root of our wisdom to make activism more fruitful. We invite you to sit quietly and listen to the audio recording. Read more [...]
This year Mother's Day was ushered in by a vast visitation of Kuan Yins, or Kannons, the Bodhisattva of Compassion; and by Sunya-roshi's warm teisho on the great healing power of these mutually-arising archetypes.
(photo by Doshin Cantor)
Kannon, Bodhisattva of Compassion: the living, loving force of the Universe, expressing itself in peonies & iris, in clouds and water and mountains, in the soil that gives birth to fruits and vegetables and nuts that sustain life. Whether we realize it or not, we are immersed, embedded, in this benevolent energy of Kannon. It speaks through our very cells and through the entire structure of the universe . . .
On some level every one of us senses this benevolent force. But in the frenetic pace of most people’s lives and the noise of busy minds, this subtle awareness gets drowned out, in the same way that the songs of wrens and cardinals are sometimes drowned out here when a big truck or motorcycle roars by on the nearby road.
Zazen gives us a wonderfully simple and effective way to clear that noise, to tune our being to this compassionate force within our own hearts, so that we can express it more truly through our own thoughts, words, actions.
(Listen to Sunya's Teisho Here) Read more [...]
Last Sunday, Windhorse celebrated Buddha's Birthday (Vesak) and it was, yet again, a definite success! A number of people and families showed up and partook in the festivities. We began by listening to Sunya-roshi tell the fantastical story of the Buddha's birth, which was followed by chanting the Heart Sutra. Then we took hold of our noise-makers and traveled outside, chanting and circumambulating the baby Buddha and making all sorts of noise. We took turns pouring tea over the baby Buddha, which symbolizes the rain of sweet tea that is said to have fallen when the Buddha was born, while chanting the Ten-Verse Kannon Sutra. After concluding the more formal festivities, we Bubbled-the-baby-Buddha, shared an amazing potluck lunch, played music, competed in badminton, and lost ourselves in the magical realm of Giants, Elves & Wizards!
(Pictures by Doshin Cantor)
Read more [...]
On July 21, 2014, Windhorse Zen Community will be offering its first Zentensive Workshop and Retreat at its 16-acre facility outside of Asheville, NC. This six-day Immersion will combine the deep stillness of Zen meditation with a dynamic understanding of the Unconscious based on the teachings of Dr. Habib Davanloo.
Intensified Zen practice embodies a remarkable paradox. On the one hand, as the more superficial chatter of the mind quiets down, we naturally open to deeper, non-dual currents of awareness. The edges soften, our hearts open, and we touch into a more natural, universal flow. At the same time, though, the unconscious becomes mobilized, much as it does during the more pressured stages of psychotherapy. Left unchecked, this mobilization often takes the form of obstructive mind-states that can interfere with deepening meditation. For those who gain an understanding of how to work skillfully with the dynamic unconscious, however, this fluid state offers a rich opportunity where life-changing insights and even unlockings can break through.
This retreat will be moving into uncharted waters: it will be neither a traditional meditation retreat, nor some kind of intensified group therapy. Rather it will be a chance to see into, and work directly with, our own restrictive conscious and unconscious patterns, and for grasping the self-isolation embedded in the structures of dualistic thought. It will be a time when we can explore and weave together two immensely Read more [...]
Fukushima Informational Resources:
Recently we sent out a sangha-wide note of concern, and we’re finding that the more you learn about the Fukushima situation, the scarier it gets. What makes it even more painful is that there really are things that can be done to prevent what is already a massive disaster from becoming many, many times worse. The problem is that we are not doing them, but you can help.
Information about the extent of this crisis is available below, and contact information for public officials is available here.
Sign the petition here
Fukushima Disaster Reaches Epic Proportions
Christina Sarich NationofChange / News
Consuming cesium-tainted fish is probably about to be one of your least concerns. Most of us were already aware of the generalities of Fukushima’s defunct nuclear reactor seeping tons of toxic and radioactive iodone, cesium, and strontium-89 and 90 into the Pacific Ocean. We perhaps said a prayer and vowed to start consuming fish from other oceans. Now, there is news of Fukushima’s damaged Unit 4 pool, that a Yale professor warns “is in perilous danger and could threaten all of humanity for thousands of years.”
This is one of the biggest crises we’ve faced as a human race, as some have put it, since the disarming of the Soviet Union or the Cuban Missile Crisis. We need every activist to call for immediate action and all resources Read more [...]
Jaded about life and fed up with each other, Al and Zoe decide they will either work out the problems in their marriage or call it quits after many years. The only thing they can agree on is to hike the Appalachian Trail and try to talk things through.
While in nature, the couple keep separate journals of similar experiences. Written in elegant prose and poetry and illustrated with vibrant sketches, the authors present timeless wisdom drawn from many sources…
Wondering what a fiction book review is doing on the Windhorse blog?
The book was written by Paula and her former husband, the late Phil Koso Gable. Paula, a Windhorse member, has generously offered to donate all proceeds from the book to the “Koso Gable Memorial Fund,” which will support our building project.
You’ll find the official website for the book here: http://sourcebygable.org/
We hope Paula and Phil’s collaborative work brings inspiration and enjoyment to many.
Two Sundays ago, on May 26, Windhorse celebrated Vesak - the birthday of Shakyamuni Buddha - for the first time in a while. Those who were there, or who have been to previous Buddha's Birthday celebrations at Windhorse, know that it is quite a time here! From the intense preparation to the raucous festivities, the wondrous story of the Buddha's birth and the deeply joyous ceremony - all of it flowed beautifully. If you couldn't make it, or you want to return to the memory of it, here are a few pictures taken by some of our residents: Enjoy!
Sandra begins work on treasure map
Treasure map before being turned into puzzle pieces
Hut-dwelling clue giverTreasure chest found!
Story in zendo
Circumambulating the front yard
Making offerings to baby Buddha
Impromptu cello-guitar concert on porch Read more [...]
by Marnie Downs
We just had our “family” day at Windhorse and my sense of it is that we all want a whole lot more of them! It was just the most delightful day and here is what we did:
We started our day at around 10:30 with a gathering of parents with their children (ages ranging from 3 ½ to 7 with a toddler in there too) in the zendo. We all gathered around Sunya who told the most thrilling story of the Buddha who had turned herself into a parrot. And lo and behold “our” Ginger actually had her very real parrot on her shoulder the entire time! So very fun! And I want to say how wonderful it was for me (who lives in the body of an elder with a very strong heart of a child) to sit and avidly listen to a story - told, not read - by a once-professional storyteller. True joy.
Then there was a bit of being outside and the children running around shortly before we gathered at the large table in the living room, while our neighbor Su Chen and her friend Duncan taught Origami. It was surprising just how well we all did folding and making little boxes and some actually making cranes. The children were very patient along with their parents, as it was clear we were all beginners.
Then we ate a beautifully prepared vegan meal (our wonderful residents did it all) outside on the back deck. The weather was balmy and lovely. The children were buzzing with a kind of excitement as they found others their own age and began roaming about, carrying sticks, ready to get into the woods! Read more [...]
This Saturday we’ll be hosting a program for parents and children at the Windhorse center at 580 Panther Branch Rd in Alexander, near Weaverville.
Activities will include storytelling, seed-ball making and throwing, learning how to fold origami cranes (for those old enough to do that; parents of younger children can do the folding themselves), quiet listening and brief meditation. Weather permitting, we’ll be hiking in the woods and down to the pond, listening and watching for birds as we go, and visiting friendly neighbors (including two horses and some chickens) along the way.
Lunch will be a vegan, gluten-free Mexican meal. Pleae leave your dogs at home, but do bring binoculars if you have them, and rain gear if rain appears likely that day. All are welcome; please let us know as soon as possible if you plan to attend. We’re looking forward to seeing you here!
New Year's Eve is one of the highlights of the year at Windhorse. The Great Turning is always a potent time for practice, and resolutions take on new meaning when made in the atmosphere of deep liturgy and meditation. Each year we set the charged energy of the evening with zazen, which then gives way to a sangha circle centered on the themes of clearing, reflection, and renewal. The New Year invites us to reintegrate these crucial elements of practice into the moment-to-moment rebirth that constitutes our lives, and this circle will be an opportunity to do so with the shared support of the dharma community.
The big night officially begins at 7:30, giving people time to gather and talk a bit beforehand, with tea (and possibly coffee too) available and the zendo open for informal sitting. Formal zazen begins soon thereafter, to be followed by circle, chanting and a number of ceremonies, some loud and lively, others deep and solemn: altar purifications, Noisemaking/Driving Out the Demons, Ringing of the Bells, Taking of the Buddhist Precepts (jukai), annual participatory reading of the New Tear's Prayer for All Beings, and more. We'll have a quiet break in the middle, with tea and fruit, and then at the very beginning of the brand new year, we’ll cap the night off with music and a vegetarian potluck brunch.
It all moves along much more quickly than you might expect, and we enter 2013 feeling surprisingly refreshed and cleansed. If you're interested in coming, please let Read more [...]
Dear Sangha and Friends,
(Please also read through to "Brief and Excellent News" at the end of this posting.)
With David Loy’s powerful workshop and the Thanksgiving festivities behind us, and with the Ceremony of Gratitude, Buddha’s Enlightenment Sesshin, and New Year’s Eve just around the bend, it feels time
to offer up an overview of where things stand here at Windhorse, and to ask for your on-going support.
It’s no secret that we took a big chance getting this amazing property, and how could we have passed it up? It continues to feel like such an exceptional place for the Dharma to grow and deepen, and we’re profoundly grateful for the generous support that made it possible!
In terms of the new building, we have been able to move ahead with construction this year, but our limited funding has made progress painfully slow. The problem is two-fold. On one hand the unfinished project continues to draw our attention away from teaching matters.
At the same time, the lack of this additional space limits our ability to house retreat participants, and to hold a variety of workshops that would help us grow and generate more income. If we had had any idea, when we started this, of the general economic downturn to come, we probably would not have begun a project on this scale.
Nonetheless, it’s still clear that we need the space, and if we can finish this large, beautiful building it will be a tremendous asset for many, many years to come.
Actually, Read more [...]
As many know, Windhorse co-sponsored a series of talks this past weekend by author and Zen teacher David Loy along with Urban Dharma and Malaprops. Thankfully, each talk was a thorough success, generating impressive turn-outs and inspiring some vitally important discussions.On Friday night at Malaprop’s Bookstore & Café, David gave a talk to a large assembly of listeners crammed into virtually every space available. He spoke on the intersections of Buddhism, social activism, and the modern world. Malaprop’s events are known to draw hard-hitting and difficult questions and here it was no different. Meeting the challenge, David gave insightful answers, and delivered what was ultimately a fitting preface to the deep explorations that took place in the following day's workshop.
The workshop, which is to be the first in our "Gold in the Midst of Fire" series, was held at Urban Dharma on the next morning. In this event, David returned to the theme of the previous night's talk and entered into greater depth on such topics as Buddhism's appropriation into the corporate world, the institutionalization of suffering, and the reasons behind our collective, perpetual sense of lack or dissatisfaction. Emphasizing the transformative possibility of Buddhism beyond the personal, the workshop stimulated discussions that were alternately foreboding and empowering. These conversations also served to foreshadow an expanded vision of Windhorse's place in the future of Dharma practice.
To Read more [...]
Personal Reflections by Sensei Sunya Kjolhede
Here in the idyllic beauty of these ancient mountains, with rolling fields and green pastures all around, we’ve just passed through the Agony of the Cows. For those who’ve never lived with cows as close neighbors, let me explain. For months we’ve watched some of these lovely brown or black cows--proud, doting and protective mothers--with their babies, who nurse and sleep and jump around in the grass with other calves, and grow bigger. Then, in spring and autumn, the time arrives: farmers separate mothers from offspring, no doubt permanently. Deep and powerful bellows fill the air, answered by the higher pitch of the young ones: gut-wrenching calls to each other for two full days and nights, barely pausing for breath, frantically trying to locate each others' voices across the sudden distance. Finally, after days of this, the anguished cries gradually subside.
It’s quiet here again in these picture-perfect mountains. But the air still reverberates with last week’s ordeal. And questions remain:
Do they truck the young ones away? Or the mothers? These are, after all, mostly ‘meat’ cows who live near us. Do they forget, these gentle beings, or just give up? One of the ways we rationalize cruelty to animals is to deny their sentience – their ability to feel and care and remember. That was the old refrain about fish, if you recall, that they can only remember something for about 5 minutes (or was it 5 seconds?)—a Read more [...]
Windhorse, in collaboration with Malaprops and Urban Dharma, is proud to announce a talk and workshop on November 16 and 17 with David Loy, the well-known and prolific author on such topics as ecology, psychoanalysis, philosophy, and in particular on the confrontation between Buddhism and Western modernity. An authorized Zen teacher in the Sanbo Kyodan lineage, David is a close relative in the dharma, having trained under both Yamada Koun-roshi and Robert Aitken-roshi. He began his practice in 1971 with a sesshin led by Yamada-roshi, a first step that would eventually lead to intensive full-time practice under the same teacher in Kamakura, Japan in 1984 . Having completed his training in the formal koan curriculum in 1988, he received the dharma name Tetsu'un, meaning "Wisdom Cloud."
Along with his years of Zen training, David Loy also brings to his written work an exceptional academic background, having worked as a scholar and professor of Buddhism and comparative philosophy in various universities all around the world. His most recent book is The World is Made of Stories, a provocative collection of essays on the personal and social narratives that constitute our society and our own identities. Following up on the project he began in 1996 with Lack and Transcendence: The Problem of Death and Life in Psychotherapy, Existentialism, and Buddhism, he locates and examines the ways in which we collectively attempt to find a ground for what the Buddha taught is totally groundless Read more [...]