Many Sanghas are finding ways to practice in natural settings during these summer months. I found it encouraging to read about the two sesshins described below, one that already took place and the other scheduled for September.
Myoshin Kate McCandless and Shinmon Michael Newton, guiding teachers of Mountain Rain Zen Community in Vancouver B.C. wrote, “Recently twenty-two of us practiced at Sea to Sky Retreat Centre for our first full-week Mountains and Waters sesshin, and experienced the elements, the plant and animal inhabitants of that beautiful environment in a very direct way. Each morning and afternoon we had a period of outdoor practice, meditating while sitting, standing, walking, and lying down in the forest, present and awake to the sights, sounds, smells, tastes and textures around us, and our body/mind responses to them. The koans of mountains, waters, and the great earth from the old Chinese Zen masters, Dogen Zenji and contemporary poets resonated strongly and supported us to go beyond the habitual contracted view of self vs. everything-else.”
Seattle Soto Zen is holding an in-person five-day Fall Sesshin September 16 to 21 co-led by SSZ’s Kanshin Allison Tait and Red Cedar Zen Community’s Shudo Chris Burkhart, at Camp Indianola on Puget Sound. Logistic details and registration are available on the SSZ calendar. Due to COVID protocols, space is limited to 20 total participants. The 2022 Indianola sesshin will be the first opportunity for many months for the Seattle Soto Zen sangha to join their heart-minds together under the same roof and practice intensively as a community.
On another note, here is an invitation from Jan Chozen Bays at Great Vow Monastery in Oregon to participate in a five-week online course called Healthy Boundaries. This course provides Buddhist leaders with the tools and knowledge to understand the importance of healthy boundaries in spiritual communities and to critically discern the complexities of boundaries, power, and vulnerability in spiritual teacher-student relationships. The course also addresses practices for responding to misconduct by spiritual teachers as well as the importance of self-care and peer support as preventive measures. The course is being offered three times in 2022 and 2023: October 17-November 18, 2022, and January 9-February 10 and March 6 – April 7, 2023. You can register through www.buddhist healthy boundaries.org.