Our first retreat at the Center at Westwoods was well attended with 17 participants. The weather was mild and outside walking meditation (kinhin) made this an even nicer experience. The Center is a great place with lots of natural light, fresh air, and also close to the city.
Shuko and Myoki served as the Jikijitsu and Joko, the time keepers, Jodo and Taigen helped out as the Shoji and Shoshoji, our tea servers. In a concerted effort we transported 20 sets of cushions, the mokugyo and gongs, a full setup for the butsudan (altar), tea cups, sutra books, food and much more from various locations to the center. A big thank you to everyone who made space in their vehicle to take some of the equipment and to those who shared their ride with other participants.
We will be back at Westwood in June with a longer retreat. For April and May we are planning a similar four to five hour retreat at the Watertown location where we have the weekly sittings. We won’t have the great outdoors like in Westwood, but it will nonetheless allow for some extended sitting, chanting, and all the formal aspects of Zen practice.
Building a sangha that sustains the practice opportunities is an important development of a Zen community. We are grateful for all who participated and contributed to this effort. One day we will be able to raise enough funds to establish our own place for daily practice and longer retreats, which is Charles River Zen’s goal. If you have ideas or can make a contribution to this important work, please let us know.
The retreat also offered the great opportunity for those who can’t attend the weekday evening sittings to reconnect with the group. We were pleased to welcome back a number of our friends who had been unable to join us since we had to discontinue our Sunday schedule. Everyone is looking forward to the next announcement for the series of retreats we are planning and which will be published shortly.