Twenty-two students and faculty of Seattle University headed for the deep woods of the Cascade foothills on Saturday, May 10, for EcoSangha Seattle’s first all-day sesshin retreat.
The sesshin took place at The Homestead, a retreat property owned by the university in North Bend, WA. Despite forecasts of rain, the weather was perfect for the sesshin, allowing for walking meditation in the woods between sittings, cool enough for a roaring fire in the hearth. Open windows allowed meditators to hear the rushing water of the mountain stream down slope.
The sesshin was opened by the chanting of the Vandana Ti-Sarana by White Cloud priests Bill Hirsch and Joe Schwab, and the chanting of the Heart Sutra in Japanese by the entire sangha. A traditional Zen one-bowl lunch of miso soup, brown rice, vegetables and tea was served to the sangha by their leaders. The day was enjoyed by all, and plans are in the works to make this a regular event.
EcoSangha is based on the teachings of Rev. Don Castro, of the Seattle Betsuin Buddhist Temple, that to be a Buddhist is to be an environmentalist. The Seattle University sangha has come together through the fusion of those teachings with a Soto Zen meditation group led by philosophy professor, Jason Wirth, and with the participation of the White Cloud Buddhist Society. EcoSangha Seattle is sponsored by the Seattle University Campus Ministry Office.
During the school year, the sangha meets every Monday night for meditation in the on-campus Chapel of St. Ignatius, with lectures on Buddhist and Ecology themes held one Monday each month.
For more information please visit the sangha's web site, www.ecosangha.com
Contributor: Bill Hirsch
Photos: Yvette Cardozo