Saturday, June 23, 2007

Mountains and Waves: Wilderness & Continuum

Click here for more photos of our group: Workshop Photos

Each year for 22 years I have co-lead a workshop at Esalen with my sister Susan Harper (seated front 3rd from right). Each year it is such a gift to be able to work with her... this year was magical. I want to personally thank each of you for the manner in which you participated. We were blessed with so many special moments... sounding in the big redwood, condors out of the fog, deep dives into the inner world as somanauts, solstice ceremony made genuine... "Thank you for being here... Thank you for being here..."
Gratefully, Steven

Friday, June 01, 2007

Walk on the Wild Side: Hiking the Big Sur Country

photo by Danny Bianchetta
For more photos of our group click here: Workshop Photos

"Climb the mountains and get their good tidings. Nature’s peace will flow into you as sunshine flows into trees. The winds will blow their own freshness into you, and the storms their energy, while cares will drop off like autumn leaves."
John Muir

A week filled with walking, silence, conversations, new friendships made, old friendships deepened and renewed. Walking with the words and inspiration of John Muir's life we stepped for a moment into wilderness for as Muir says, "Everybody needs beauty as well as bread, places to play in and pray in, where Nature may heal and cheer and give strength to body and soul,"
We were touched by beauty, and certainly had chances to play and pray. I hope we were at least touched by some essential "seed" moments that will continue to grow and nourish our body and soul. With Gratitude... Steven

Wild Mind, Zen Mind: Tassajara Zen Center

At the Wind Caves near Tassajara Zen Mountain Center
For more photos of the three-day retreat click here: Workshop Photos

The retreat simply offered the finest of Tassajara— Buddhist practice, wilderness walks, wonderful meals, hot springs, and silence. We explored Zen practice and the natural beauty of Tassajara through daily meditation, group discussions, and day hikes on wilderness trails. We were blessed by near perfect weather and only a few bugs. During one of the talks Leslie told a version of this Zen story...

Is That So?
The Zen master Hakuin was praised by his neighbors as one living a pure life.
A beautiful Japanese girl whose parents owned a food store lived near him. Suddenly, without any warning, her parents discovered she was with child.
This made her parents angry. She would not confess who the man was, but after much harassment at last named Hakuin.
In great anger the parents went to the master. “Is that so?” was all he would say.
After the child was born it was brought to Hakuin. By this time he had lost his reputation, which did not trouble him, but he took very good care of the child. He obtained milk from his neighbors and everything else the little one needed.
A year later the girl-mother could stand it no longer. She told her parents the truth—that the real father of the child was a young man who worked in the fishmarket.
The mother and father of the girl at once went to Hakuin to ask his forgiveness, to apologize at length, and to get the child back again.
Hakuin was willing. In yielding the child, all he said was: “Is that so?’

From: Zen Flesh, Zen Bones compiled by Paul Reps