Residential training at Windhorse gives people the chance to enter into a full schedule of daily zazen, work practice, sesshin (Zen retreats), and ceremonies, with dokusan generally available twice weekly (twice daily during sesshin).
People may participate in this training for a day, a week, a month or longer. A residential training application is required for any training program lasting one week or more. Someone who has been in residence for at least one year may apply for a staff position; more information about staff is available upon request.
Another alternative for those who would like to maintain on-going Zen training, and to support the Dharma work here, is to apply for either a non-residential staff position or our part-time residential program. These options involve a regular work and practice commitment (which in some cases might be done at home or even in the larger community), and are direct ways of strengthening one’s practice while supporting the spirit of training at Windhorse and also helping the community.
From early spring to late fall, organic gardening may become a major focus of such work-practice commitment. If you’re interested in exploring any of these ways of being involved at Windhorse, please contact us.
Residential Training Program Guidelines and Application Procedures
The following guidelines are not intended to cover all circumstances, but reflect our intent to strike a balance between the operational and financial needs of Windhorse, and the life circumstances—financial and otherwise—of each trainee. These may be interpreted or modified by the Board at its discretion, according to the situation.
An applicant who accepts a position for a particular period of time will be expected to honor that commitment. Upholding one’s commitment to the training program is important not only for an individual’s practice but also for the strong impact it has on others in the training program, and on the sangha as a whole.
Because residential training at Windhorse involves commitment to personal as well as group practice, those accepted into residential training are expected to attend all formal sittings and retreats, and to uphold a daily zazen practice outside the formal structure. At Windhorse, residential training also includes a commitment to interpersonal work, and Residents’ Circle is a regular and important element of the training program. Maintaining a healthy lifestyle is also an essential element of training. Applicants should note that alcohol, smoking, and meat eating are not allowed on the premises.
To ensure that training programs are functioning well, one or both Windhorse teachers will meet regularly with each trainee in residence. At a minimum, these meetings will occur at the end of the first month, and after the first three months. After the initial 3-month trial period, these mutual reviews will be held every 6 months.
Room assignments will be reviewed on a regular basis — possibly every few months, but at least 2 at the beginning of each calendar year — to determine whether changes are necessary or desirable. The teachers, working with residents in a spirit of fairness and according to the changing circumstances at the Center, will be responsible for all decisions regarding room assignments.
Training Responsibilities and Fees
We will do our best to balance an individual’s circumstances with the financial resources and operational requirements of Windhorse, taking into account fairness to others in the training program. All of this will be done within the context of upholding and strengthening the spirit of training for the group as a whole.
No one receives pay at Windhorse, and we have no financial endowment to fall back on. We must, therefore, charge a certain amount for training. At the same time, if someone is serious about practice and wishes to participate in residential training, we would not want to refuse them simply on the basis of financial constraints. With this as background, the following general guidelines relate to fees for residential training:
- All applicants to training programs three months or longer must be Windhorse members in good standing. Training program fees can be considered as membership contributions.
- Full-time trainees are expected to attend all formal sittings and sesshin (unless otherwise worked out with the teachers), as well as to maintain a sitting practice of their own outside the formal structure (e.g. on days off).
- Program participants are required to maintain their own health insurance.
- The fee for full-time training is $400 per month, which includes all retreat fees.
- In addition, we ask those applying for residential training to put $500 in reserve, as a safety cushion, should a resident need to leave for health or other reasons. This money will be held at the Center, and will be returned in full when a person leaves. In other words, we want to be sure that anyone leaving the program is able to move ahead in his or her life without great financial strain.
- The fee for part-time residential training is $500 per month. Part-time trainees are required to attend all formal training events, sittings and sesshins, and to take part in sangha workdays unless cleared with the teachers.
- Applicants who are unable to pay the full training fee may submit a written proposal to the trustees requesting a reduced fee, deferred payment, or time off for work. The proposal, along with personal and financial information, will be held in strict confidentiality.
- The teachers and trustees may make flexible or alternate training and/or financial arrangements to accommodate special needs due to life circumstances (e.g., students), or to facilitate the participation of individuals who bring specific skills deemed to be important to the Windhorse community.
Application Process for Residency
The application process for residential training at Windhorse includes:
- Application form
- Insurance form
- Medical form (same as for sesshin)
- Emergency contact information
- Familiarity with the Training Program Guidelines
If It Doesn’t Work Out
A residential training program is not appropriate for everyone; for some, it simply may not be the right ‘fit.’ Not everyone who applies will be accepted, or someone may be accepted for a certain period of time without that time being extended. A person may also feel a need to leave before meeting his or her agreed upon commitment. Leaving early should be cleared with the teachers, and possibly also with others in the training program. Finally, circumstances might arise that would cause the teachers or the Board to ask a resident to leave. Such circumstances include:
- Not upholding the spirit of training
- Not attending sittings
- Undermining the practice of others
- Stealing or misusing funds
- Engaging in sexually inappropriate behavior
- Misusing computers, (e.g. for pornography)
- Reflecting poorly on WZC (e.g., being cited for drunk driving, etc)
- Having a medical or psychological condition arise that cannot reasonably be accommodated
- Being involved in destructive, irresolvable interpersonal conflicts