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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. 

Right after sesshin
Post-sesshin lunch in the zendo
In January we also used a talk & discussion format for a couple of the Sunday programs instead of a regular teisho, with positive feedback from the sangha. Sangha members chose the subject, with people expressing a need to investigate the meaning of the precepts in light of our present global situation. Questions came up: Can murder ever be justified? Is ahimsa, the teaching of non-violence, still an effective method for changing the world for the better when technological developments magnify the scope of destruction humans can inflict on the planet? People were interested enough that they decided to continue online - click here to go to a special blog focusing on this topic. This Sunday, we'll return to the usual format: 50 minutes of zazen (bell at the halfway point for posture change or brief standing), chanting and teisho.
On a walk with Polish Sangha members
Ania and Lukasz in their pantomime show
Meanwhile, when in Poland, Sunya-sensei conducted a 6-day sesshin in a fairly small zendo at the Bodhidharma Zen Center on the outskirts of Warsaw. Over 40 people attended (more applied, but had to be turned down for lack of zendo space). In some of the rooms mattresses were laid out with only a few inches of space between! In her teishos  Sunya-sensei focused on Affirming Faith in Mind.

The time outside sesshin was very busy too, with many meetings with residents and the board, and of course formal and informal sittings. Fortunately Sensei did get a chance to get out, attending a special contemporary Polish ballet, and taking a walk with a group of sangha members in the snow-covered forest near the Center. (Some days the temperature dropped to 10 degrees Fahrenheit!) After the sitting and teisho last Saturday there was a lively good-bye gathering with music and a wonderful pantomime show performed by two sangha members who do this as a profession -- and who also attend every sesshin.
The next trip to Poland, with a 7-day sesshin, will be in July. Here at Windhorse we're  really very fortunate to have sesshins every two months and dokusan twice a week! 
Sunya-sensei at the Polish airport on her way back 
Speaking of sesshin,  preparations are now underway to get ready for the February sesshin (11-18). If you're able and willing to help us with this in the next week, please do!
Note: soon after sesshin, Vlastik, our Czech resident (and a great chef!), will be going back to Europe after his 3-month stay here. Make sure you get a chance to say goodbye!

1 comment:

  1. Great photos and article----- now if only folks would cheer up a bit.....


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