NOTICE: Visiting In A Different Way...
We’re posting our revised website in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic. The crisis has forced us to close our physical doors, while inspiring us to open up virtual ones to support each other’s Zen practice in new ways.
This strange time, fraught as it is with suffering, division and uncertainty, offers a unique impetus and opportunity to reflect deeply, to creatively re-imagine our individual and collective ways of being, and to begin anew. May we all come together to pool the healing energies of our own buddha-heart, and to keep the dharma wheel turning for the well-being of all!
Please note: the following does not apply during this period of self-isolating due to the pandemic. Also, the lodge is now open as a Zen Airbnb, which gives people visiting the area a beautiful, meditative place to stay and, if they wish, an introduction to Zen practice. This arrangement, of course, also helps to sustain our dharma community.
Sangha members coming from a distance for a retreat, sesshin, workshop, celebration, or even a Sunday program, may choose to spend time at the center before or after. Others, both from Asheville and from out of town, may apply to stay at Windhorse for a period of time without a full residential commitment, to deepen their practice and experience residential life.
As always, please contact the center with any questions, or to reserve a space for your stay.
Getting to Windhorse
If you’re coming by car for your first visit, please try to arrive at a reasonable hour that doesn’t conflict with a scheduled period of meditation. Always let us know beforehand what time of day you plan to arrive, so that we can be sure someone is available to greet and orient you.
Please park your car in a parking spot on the grass, to the right as you enter the driveway. If you’d like to unload your car first, it’s fine to drive up closer to the house to do so, then to immediately re-park it in the parking area.
If you plan to fly to Windhorse and will arrive and depart at reasonable hours, we will most likely be able to arrange rides to get you from, and to, Asheville Regional Airport (about 40 minutes away). If you must arrive late or leave very early, arrangements can be made with a ride service. There is usually no need to rent a car just to get to the airport and back.
Regardless of whether you’ll need transportation, please send us your flight information well in advance of your trip.
Most Windhorse guests stay in the retreat lodge behind the main house: the lodge has a couple of private spaces as well as dormitory-style rooms. In good weather, the property also has many beautiful spots for tents.
If you are coming for an event, chances are others will be coming as well. We make an effort to make sure everyone is comfortable, but be aware that accommodations are retreat style, and you may be asked to share a room.
While You’re Here
Visitors are expected to fully participate in the Windhorse work and sitting schedule, unless they’ve made other arrangements with the teachers. For formal sittings, please familiarize yourself with our zendo guidelines, and ask any questions you may have beforehand. Before your first formal sitting at Windhorse, you will be given an orientation.
In general, the workday begins at 8:30AM with a meeting in the dining room, and ends at 3:30PM. We have a communal main meal at 12:30, with a rest break after the group cleans up. Work may include cooking, housekeeping, building and grounds maintenance, research projects, or anything that arises.
We are located a 20-minute drive from downtown Asheville, in a region with bountiful opportunities for outdoor recreation. Please feel free to explore the surrounding areas outside of the Windhorse schedule.
We provide wholesome, organic, vegetarian meals for residents and guests. Breakfast options are made available before our morning meeting. Most of the food we serve is vegan, with gluten-free options. Please let us know in advance if you have any dietary restrictions.
Most days we gather at around 12:30 to enjoy a freshly prepared community meal. After the work day ends, leftovers and other food is generally available for an evening snack or meal on your own.
Guests may also store their own food items in the outdoor refrigerator, keeping in mind our policy of minimizing plastic packaging.
Please note: We do not allow meat, fish, alcoholic beverages, or smoking on the Windhorse property.
What to Bring
When visiting Windhorse by car, please bring your own twin-sized sheets, a pillow, pillow case, towel and toiletries, and an umbrella.
To those arriving by plane, we will provide bedding and any larger items.
You will want to have clothing for zazen (see zendo guidelines), and also for work. Please bring clothing and shoes appropriate for a range of work activities. We do not wear outdoor shoes inside, so you may wish to bring a pair of slippers or house shoes – especially for spending time on the kitchen’s tiled floors.
What to Offer for Your Stay
Windhorse Zen Community’s primary commitment is to the Dharma. With that in mind, we will never turn a serious practitioner away for financial reasons. We hope you will experience the benefit of this teaching and community, and that you will choose to support us generously within your means. Once the pandemic threat passes, if you are interested in visiting, please call us to discuss donations and arrangements.
Explore Our Airbnb Apartments
Forest’s Edge Apartment
White Pine Apartment
Windhorse Zen Community is a non-profit religious corporation (501 (c) 3) that relies entirely on the generosity of its members and others, in order to maintain the buildings and keep programs and activities going.