Please notice updates for specific events, at https://vairochanafarm.wordpress.com/2016/04/.
This was sent to Zen practice centers. It’s the same 40-day gathering, with slightly different language.
Tentative dates are April 15-May 25. Here are the details we have now, with more to be added. The vision is below.
- Retreat times: April 16-19 and May 21-25. Saturday April 16 is a time for clarifying intention, including zazen, walking outdoors, council gatherings, and simple ceremony. April 17 is a chanting workshop with Myo-O Marilyn Habermas-Scher, a Zen priest and voice teacher. May 21 will include good-byes, some work practice, and sitting. Both lead in to our usual longer “just sitting” retreat. Other guest teachers, dates unknown: Martin Bulgerin, subtle energies and flower essences, listening to the land. One or two teachers on woodland conservation, restoring the balance of species. And some experimenting.
- Daily morning zazen.
- Most days involve 4-6 hours of work, with these as examples:
- Caring for the woods, including removing buckthorn and other problematic plants, planting friendly plants in the woodlands, and perhaps erosion management
- foraging for food
- Caring for the farm: berry patch, weeding and transplanting and more; orchard, weeding, enhancing
- Planting and/or preparations for the annual garden
- General land care and other maintenance.
- Community support: cooking, cleaning, and so forth.
- Additional weekend retreats or workshops on special topics, such as plant identification, permaculture, earth spirits, chanting, and we will see.
- Free time to wander the land and listen.
- Community gatherings for listening and conversation.
We dedicate some time, next spring, to listening and connecting with the spirits of this place. This would include walks in the woods and by the river and creeks, under the pines. We might create shrines. We might create camping spaces and sleep on the earth. We would surely work in the woods, tending to the movement of water and erosion, bringing in beneficial species and removing invaders, while ourselves learning intimacy with these places, place spirits, beings. And we would tend to the orchard and berries and gardens in the spirit of communion rather than profit. We might live very much as community. Surely we would do formal meditation, traditional ceremony, as well as creating our own as we listen to the spirits of this place. We would invite teachers, teachers of plants and wilderness, of Dharma, of chanting and ceremony, of gardening, of subtle energies – and their teaching would enrich the community.
We do this after the bitter cold is gone and before the mosquitoes arrive. Some of us are here for the whole time, some come for weekends, some come as they can. We hold council from time to time, both as needed for the human community, and as called for to find alliance.
That thought, alliance, was once translated into the Dakota language as “We will hold you forever in our hearts.” From this, appropriate response can arise.