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Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Sunday Afternoon with Sangha

This week after the Sunday program and the usual potluck lunch we'd like to invite you to a Sangha afternoon. Let's do something together in this gorgeous spring time! Depending on the weather and people's moods we have two options: a hike in the wild or the film "How to Cook Your Life".

"How to Cook Your Life," a film by Doris Dörrie, features Soto Zen teacher and cookbook author Edward Espe Brown. It's based on Dogen's famous "Instructions to the Cook," and will hopefully help to nourish both our everyday practice and also - via our kitchen behaviors - our physical well-being.

As to the outdoor option, we would probably be heading in the direction of Douglas Falls in Barnardsville, but may well take a turn before we get there to walk in some less known areas of the mountains. Don't be concerned about hours of driving or heavy climbing - we'll try to find a trail that will suit us all.
So, rain or shine, see you on Sunday!

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Spring Equinox Sesshin

Looking for a way to deepen your Dharma practice in the midst of a busy life? Whether you’re just starting out in Zen or have been practicing for years, the upcoming three-day Step Into Spring Sesshin at Windhorse offers a chance to dive right in.

If you’ve had little or no sesshin experience, this shorter retreat will give a good grounding in the basics, to help you get going.

If you’re a veteran of many sesshins, this extended weekend of zazen is an opportunity to refresh your practice and to further deepen and integrate it into your life.

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Goodbye Vlastik!

Trainee and center's cook Vlastik Karlik is leaving Windhorse to return to his home country of the Czech Republic. The morning before his flight, Dana Lundquist, also in a training program at Windhorse, sat down with him for an interview about his three-month stay with us.

DL: When did you first come to Windhorse?

VK: I was here for the first time in 2010. This is my second visit to Windhorse, and I came at the end of November.

How did you enjoy being the head cook?

It was great fun! It's wonderful to cook for a bigger number of people; then you can have a well-equipped kitchen and play with new food. I'll really miss some ingredients that are rare or unavailable back home: sweet potatoes, squashes, avocados.....and bananas are much more pricey.


Thursday, February 23, 2012

Honoring the Buddha’s Parinirvana this Sunday, February 26th

11th century Japanese illustration of Parinirvana
This Sunday at Windhorse we’ll hold our first Parinirvana ceremony, commemorating the death of Shakyamuni Buddha.  While the traditional date for this celebration is February 15th, and in some places February 8th, here at Windhorse we're having it at our first opportunity after last week’s sesshin.

Parinirvana Day gives us a chance to look into the deeply moving (and at times surprising) story of Shakyamuni's passing as well as the verbal teachings that he gave during these last weeks and hours of his life. The story itself comes in different versions, but all of them bring to our awareness the fact of our own mortality and that of everyone we love and care about (a fact from which we so gladly escape). In Asian countries it is traditional, on this day, to remember relatives and friends who have passed. 

We’ll hold to our basic Sunday morning schedule, with zazen, kinhin, chanting and a teisho focusing on this crucial last chapter of the Buddha’s life. People will also have the chance to make incense offerings before the beautiful painting depicting this event and chant the Mantram of Shakyamuni Buddha: Om Muni Muni Maha Muni Shakyamuni, Svaha! Afterward, of course, we’ll have our usual potluck lunch, sharing whatever food offerings people may bring. If you can bring something, great -- if not, come anyway! 

Friday, February 3, 2012

January at Windhorse - and at Bodhidharma in Poland

Bodhidharma Zen Center in Poland
January was a pretty quiet time here at Windhorse, with Sunya-sensei and Magda K. traveling to Poland, and Lawson-sensei focusing on some of his writing projects. However, things did happen: painting projects got started thanks to Dana, and the first-floor bathroom now has a fresh new look. This is just the first step to a bigger project: painting the kitchen and the alcove where the big Florida Buddha is sitting. We're in the process of choosing colors for these areas. Also during this time, Matt Sweger, in temporary residence at Panther Branch, completed another major project: designing a staircase for the new building. 

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Abbreviated Ancestral Line - Part II

Dazu Huike
After about 900 years of teacher-to-student transmission, the practice that was to become what we know as Zen Buddhism moved from India to China. This happened somewhere around the 5th or 6th century CE with Bodhidharma's arrival. This doesn’t mean, however, that the Dharma was unknown in China before that time. Buddhism in various forms had already been in that country for centuries by the time the Western Barbarian arrived (although that didn’t necessarily make Bodhidharma’s work any easier).
Read on for the continuation of the Ancestral Line essay.
 To read Part I, click here. click here.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

New Year's Eve at Windhorse

These ceremonies and celebrations are a great way to end one year and begin the new! Here's what's happening at Windhorse:

On Saturday, Dec. 31, the Center will open at 7:00pm.  Tea will be available as people congregate, with a fire in the hearth if it’s cold enough outside.  Formal zazen begins at 7:30, followed by all the ceremonies—quiet and noisy—that will help us enter 2012 feeling renewed, with cleansed minds and open hearts. We end with a candlelit circle, everyone reading a few lines of the New Year's Prayer (see below), together beaming out many wishes for peace and happiness for all on the planet.