Bringing Zen to Life

A Six-Part Series Beginning April 7

With Roshi Sunya Kjolhede and Roshi Lawson Sachter


Thursday Nights at 6:30pm
at Jubilee!, Downtown Asheville

  Our lives are faint tracings on the surface of mystery.
                                                                — Annie Dillard

bringing zen to life posterClick Image for Larger View

         Over the past 50 years the term Zen has been increasingly used and misused in the West. It has been culturally co-opted to sell everything from perfume to software, and has become narrowly linked in many people’s minds with stress reduction or a stripped-down kind of mindfulness. No wonder so few people have any sense of what Zen really is.

         Zen, in fact, is a profound and ancient tradition firmly rooted in the Awakening of the Buddha himself, and pointing directly to the universal truth at the heart of every great religion. The spirit of Zen has been kept alive through the centuries by those who directly experienced this truth for themselves — those who, through their vibrant teaching and example, ensured its transmission from one generation to the next.

         Historically, authentic Zen has had little to do with the passive forms of sitting and observing so prevalent today. Living Zen offers a dynamic and penetrating practice — a simple, time-proven way to help us dive beneath the churning waves of thought, to personally experience the beauty, dignity and wholeness of our own fundamental nature. Thus it presents a powerful antidote to the gnawing sense of alienation underlying so much suffering and violence in the world today.

         Authentic Zen practice is not easy, but these are not easy times. This work makes fundamental change possible, helping us break through the cycles of fear, helplessness and despair. It opens the door to a truer and more joyous life. Ultimately, Zen gives us a way to liberate and embody our own intrinsic wisdom and compassionoffering profound hope for our own lives and for the generations to come.

“A human being is part of a whole, called by us the ‘Universe,’ a part limited in time and space. One experiences oneself, one’s thoughts and feelings, as something separated from the rest – a kind of optical delusion of consciousness.  This delusion is a kind of prison for us, restricting us to our personal desires and to affection for a few persons nearest us.  Our task must be to free ourselves from this prison by widening our circles of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature in its beauty.” 

                                       — Albert Einstein

Series Details

Dates: Thursdays– April 7, 14, 21, and 28, May 5 and 12.   We recommend full attendance, but it is not mandatory.  Feel free to attend any session and begin on any date.

Time: 6:30-8:00pm.  You are welcome to come early to socialize and get oriented, and to stay after for tea.

Location: The meetings will be at the Jubilee! Community Church, located at 46 Wall Street in Downtown Asheville.  Click here for a map. We will be downstairs, look for signs.

Parking: The closest city-owned garage is Wall Street garage, which has its entrance on Otis Street.  At the garage, the first hour is free, and the cost is $1/hr after that. In addition, street parking is available throughout downtown Asheville.

Cost: All donations are greatly appreciated.  However, please do not let financial concerns limit your participation.

Agenda: Each session will include a brief zazen (Zen meditation) period, a Dharma talk by one of the teachers, and a facilitated discussion.  Afterwards, the discussion may continue informally as we enjoy tea and fellowship.

What to Bring:  You are not required to bring anything!  We will have tea and water available. If you have cushions and/or a mat for sitting, you are welcome to bring your own.  We will have some cushions, as well as plenty of chairs available.  You may bring note taking materials if you like, but most people find that simply and deeply listening to a Dharma talk is the best way to experience it.  Trying to capture and write things down can be a cumbersome distraction.

About the Teachers:  Sunya Kjolhede and Lawson Sachter are co-abbots of Windhorse Zen Community near Asheville. Sanctioned to teach by their teacher, Roshi Philip Kapleau, each has practiced Zen for over 45 years. More information about Sunya- roshi and Lawson- roshi is available here.