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!

From the Mud, a Temple Blooms

Wow! After years of working and waiting, suddenly a temple springs from the muddy ground like an eager spring flower. This morning, with tremendous excitement, our members for the first time walked through the ground floor of our new practice center on Columbine. We found it even more than we had imagined – spacious, meticulously considered and perfectly constructed for our practice needs and community. From the wide-open zendo to the cozy dokusan rooms, the building promises to be a Zen refuge like few others, our lasting home.

As it happens, this follows on our largest-ever introductory seminar, with dozens of people learning how to meditate for the first time. What an auspicious time for a new start!

Laying the Foundations

 

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At long last, we’ve begun construction in earnest! In fact we broke ground (not just ceremonially) some weeks ago, and construction crews have been busy excavating and laying the foundation. Barring any further delays, we expect to open our doors sometime in fall 2019. The end (and a new beginning) is in sight!