Windhorse Zen Community is active on social media, sharing information related to our programs, including special events and general announcements. We also post sittings and dharma talks on Zoom and Facebook Live. You can join us on Facebook (which we use with grave misgivings while seeking out a more socially responsible forum) and you can also follow us on Instagram and Twitter.
In conjunction with our new website, we will be posting more podcasts of teishos – dharma talks given by Sunya-roshi or Lawson-roshi during sesshins and weekly Sunday morning programs. We plan to make new recordings available on a regular basis in 2021.
Windhorse Zen podcasts can be accessed directly through our page on Libsyn.com. There you will also find a link to subscribe directly to the RSS feed. Alternatively you can find them on Spotify, Apple Podcasts and most other major podcast distribution platforms.
Visit our sister website, dedicated to an understanding, and appreciation of, the rich intersection of Zen meditation and Western psychotherapy.
Chanting is an important and powerful element of the training and practice at Windhorse. Many people have asked for a copy of our chant book, so we have made it available online.
Some tips on chanting:
• The best posture for chanting is seiza : kneeling with the buttocks resting on the heels, with or without a zafu (round zazen cushion). If this is not comfortable, one may use a bench, or a zafu turned on its side, or sit in any cross-legged position or, if necessary, in a chair. The most important thing is that the spine be upright, with head up, and chest and lower belly open and relaxed, with no tight clothing constricting those areas.
• Zen chanting is ideally done from the hara, or lower belly, allowing chest, throat and head to become resounding chambers. Be sure, if using a chant book, to hold it up so that the neck does not tilt forward and the throat and chest are open. Listen to the sounds of others’ voices around you, and try to harmonize your tone with the group: a living expression of our fundamental unity.
• While chanting, there is no need to concern oneself with grasping intellectually the meaning of the words. Simply allow the sounds to flow and vibrate through you, without holding on to anything. Gradually, through on-going zazen practice and repeated chanting of these sutras and dharani (strings of mantra-like sounds), the deep meaning of these chants begins to permeate our understanding on a subtle level, and to support and inspire our practice.