A Gift of the Earth: Summer Sesshin at RMERC

Last Sunday morning we concluded our summer sesshin at Rocky Mountain Ecodharma Retreat Center, a simply stunning setting for a week of zazen in the mountains near Ward, Colorado. Really, words cannot express the depth of silence and beauty experienced there, and we can only bow in gratitude to the founders of RMERC and our hosts there (Rosie and Sanshin), to our teachers, fellow participants and sesshin leaders, and to the living earth and great sky.

To recount just one memory among myriad, Friday evening saw a passing rainstorm through the valley. By then we had been sitting in zazen for three full days, and Friday was one of our days of silence: no talks, no chanting, just sitting upright with all senses open, moment by moment. The storm soon passed, and as the evening sitting concluded, a remarkable, vibrant rosy light broke across the valley.

Almost as one body, with no prior agreement or discussion, we all went outside to stand on the deck, and stood gazing in wonder at one of the most spectacular sunsets I have ever witnessed. Resplendent hues of pink and gold played through an ever-shifting cloudscape, while below lay the magnificent mountain vista and a green valley fresh with the rain. Truly it was a gift of the living earth, which offers up its beauty without cease or limit; and I can think of few expressions of sangha more apt than this group standing in purely spontaneous awe and gratitude at the world in which we find ourselves. Svaha!

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