Sunday, September 22, 2013

Zenwest: October workshops & courses

Zenwest is offering a special workshop on compassionate communication in October, as well as two courses:

Compassionate Communication
with Ven. Daitetsu Hull

Saturday, October 5, 9:00-4:00 PM
Kokizan-ji (Red Flag Mountain Temple) in Sooke
Open to all
Bring a bag lunch. The cost is $75 for the day. Nobody will be turned away for lack of funds. Please contact to register.
Speaking Freely
It’s easy to feel frustrated about communication in your relationships with family, partner, friends, and co-workers. For many of us, no matter how carefully we try to speak we find we still encounter conflicts and misunderstandings.
This workshop will offer a different way to communicate, based on the tools of Compassionate Communication (also called Non-Violent Communication, or NVC). This approach is effective and open hearted, direct and compassionate. Each of us will be challenged to be honest, open, and courageous. You don’t have to be a genius to attend this workshop, but you do have to be brave.
The day will include an overview of the work, some teaching, and then a chance to practice with real live challenges drawn from the participants lives. We can only learn so much by understanding concepts. When we actually experience something directly for ourselves we can deeply know and integrate it.
In the workshop you will:
  • Learn an effective, compassionate, and direct way of communicating.
  • Begin to transform your inner dialogue from one of judgment and blame to one of understanding and connection.
  • Enjoy a safe space to work with issues in your relationships and see them in a new way.
  • Gain insight about how meditation practice can support you in creating more peace and connection in your relationships.
Ven. Daitetsu’s Bio:
Daitetsu Hull graduated Lewis & Clark College with a BA in Psychology in 1994. He spent the next six years travelling overseas, teaching English in both Venezuela and Japan. In 2000 he entered residential training with Chozen and Hogen Bays, and was ordained as a Zen priest in 2003. Daitetsu lived and trained at Great Vow Zen Monastery under these two teachers from September of 2000 through September 2013. Daitetsu has been attending meditation retreats with the Zen teacher Genjo Marinello, Osho in Seattle since 2009. In addition to his Zen practice, Daitetsu has a passion for tools that maintain psychological health and skillful communication. To that end he has been receiving training in Compassionate Communication (also called Non-Violent Communication or NVC) since 2003 and in Voice Dialogue since 2005.

Intensive Preparation

Saturday mornings, 9:00-11:30 AM
October 12 & 19, 2013
Kokizan-ji (Red Flag Mountain Temple) in Sooke
Open to Zenwest Members who have completed the free online Orientation to Zen and a practice assessment.

If you have successfully developed a stable daily practice of Zen meditation, and are wondering how to go further with our Sangha, this course is your next step. Participants will be introduced to the subtleties and differences involved in intensive training, and will receive an orientation to, and experience of, practices that are specific to intensive training in the Zen tradition. The Intensive Preparation course is the gateway to deepening your practice.

For Full members of Zenwest, the course fee is included as part of membership dues. For Basic and Distance members the course fee is $95. Course fees includes a course manual and materials.

For more information, or to register, please visit the Intensive Preparation course page.

Fundamentals of Zen Practice

Wednesday evenings, 7:30-9:30 PM
October 2, 9, 23, and 30, 2013 (no class Oct 16)
Kokizan-ji (Red Flag Mountain Temple) in Sooke
Open to Zenwest Members who have completed the free online Orientation to Zen and a practice assessment.

Building on the foundation of training established through the Orientation to Zen, you will be introduced to some of the fundamental teachings of Zen Buddhism. Group activities and training assignments ask that we take these teachings out of our head and engage them in the day to day unfolding of our lives.

This course also provides you with the opportunity to explore the ceremony of Jukai, which is commonly considered formally “becoming Buddhist”. The Jukai Ceremony consists of four distinct aspects, each of which is introduced and discussed in an intimate environment of friendship and community. The four aspects are:
  1. Sange (repentance/purification).
  2. Taking the Threefold Refuge.
  3. Receiving the Five Sila (precepts).
  4. The Four Bodhisattva Vows.

For Full members of Zenwest, the course fee is included as part of membership dues. For Basic and Distance members the course fee is $295. Course fees includes a course manual.

For more information, or to register, please visit the Fundamentals of Zen course page.

Questions? Email

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Daoist Qigong Levels 1, 2 and 3
with Eva Wong
October 5th—October 13th
Room: Nanaimo and Victoria

The Victoria Shambhala Centre and the Canadian Tai Chi Academy, Nanaimo Branch are pleased to sponsor this teaching visit by Eva Wong. Eva will teach Daoist Qigong Levels 1 and 2 in Nanaimo on October 5–6 and Level 3 at the Victoria Shambhala Centre on October 11–13. The program in Nanaimo is open to all—no previous experience is necessary.
Cultivate strength of body and calmness of mind through the healing Taoist practice of qigong. Take this rare opportunity to receive instruction in two unique lineages, the Pre-celestial Limitless Gate School (Xiantianwujimen) and the Yiquan School, neither of which have previously been fully transmitted to students in the West.
Xiantianwujimen was founded in the Song dynasty (circa 10th to 12th centuries) by Taoist sage Chen Xiyi, who is recognized as “the father of qigong.” This lineage specializes in using qigong techniques to build the foundation for sitting meditation.
The Yiquan School was founded by Wang Xiangzhai in the early 20th century. Yiquan is most well-known for its standing qigong postures called Zhangzhuan, which are designed to still the mind while simultaneously gathering and circulating internal energy.
In Level 1, students will be in instructed in various techniques of outer and inner qigong. Outer qigong is concerned with strengthening the muscular-skeletal system—joints, muscles, tendons, bones, and spinal column. It includes techniques of tendon changing, marrow washing, self-massage, and calisthenics. Inner qigong is concerned with nourishing the internal organs and cultivating qi, or internal energy. Students will learn Chen Xiyi’s sleeping and walking qigong and Wang Xiangzhai’s standing qigong.
In Level 2, students will learn the Nine Self-Massage Technique and the Twelve Devas Tendon-changing system in their entirety. The Self-Massage Technique focuses on stimulating the meridians and acupuncture points and the Twelve Devas forms focus on recovering flexibility, strength, and softness in the tendons and muscles. In addition, students will continue to learn new forms of Wang Xiangzhai’s standing qigong that are designed to preserve, gather, and circulate internal energy.
In Level 3 students will learn:
  Hua Tu’s Five Animals Calisthenics and tendon-changing Techniques. The five animal forms covered are tiger, bear, deer, monkey, and bird. The tiger form trains tendon strength, the bear form trains bone strength, the deer form focuses on preserving generative energy, the monkey form trains agility, and the bird form trains balance.

  Part 1 of the Immortals’ Guide to Self Massage and Breath regulation. This system combines self-massage and breath control to facilitate the conservation and circulation of internal energy.
  Part 1 of Chen Xiyi’s Red Phoenix Calisthenics System. This system combines tendon-changing, calisthenics, self-massage, and breath regulation. Originated in the 11th century, the Red Phoenix Calisthenics is unique to Xiantianwujimen qigong. 
Both sets are used to familiarize the practitioner with different forms of breath control to open blockages in the meridians, align the spinal column for circulation of qi from the base of the spine to the crown of the head, and enhance tendon, bone, and muscular strength. Both forms have not been taught outside of Hong Kong, Taiwan, and China.
  Four more standing qigong postures from Wang Xiangzhai’s Yiquan System
Prerequisites: There are no prerequisites for Level 1, the prerequisite for Level 2 is completion of Level 1, and taking both Levels 1 and 2 is recommended. The prerequisite for Level 3 is completion of Levels 1 and 2. Students are also expected to understand that they should not teach any form of Xiantianwujimen or Yiquan Qigong without permission from Eva Wong.
  Level 1 in Nanaimo: Saturday, October 5, 9:00 AM – 5:30 PM
  Level 2 in Nanaimo: Sunday, October 6, 9:00 AM –  6:00 PM
  Level 3 in Victoria: Thursday, October 10, 7:00 – 8:00 PM (refresher); Friday, October 11, 7:30 PM – 9:00 PM (opening talk); Saturday, October 12, 9:00 AM – 6:00 PM, and 7:30 – 9:30 PM (mandatory evening session—required text: Nourishing the Essence of Life: The Outer, Inner, and Secret Teachings of Taoism, by Eva Wong); and Sunday, October 13, 9:00 AM – 6:00 PM
Required reading: Nourishing the Essence of Life: The Outer, Inner, and Secret Teachings of Taoism, by Eva Wong. Copies will be available at the programs.
Prices: $200.00 for either program; $300.00 for both programs ($150.00 for each); half price for students repeating the programs. A 50% deposit is requested to hold a place in a program.
About Eva Wong: Eva Wong is author and translator of 13 books on the Taoist arts of health, meditation and qigong. She is the 19th-generation lineage carrier of Xiantianwujimen Taoism (Pre-celestial Limitless Gate School of Taoism) and 3rd-generation student of Wang Xiangzhai, founder of Yiquan martial arts and Zhangzhuan (standing qigong). Eva is also a lineage holder of the Hsüan-k’ung (Mysterious Subtleties) school of traditional Chinese feng-shui as well as a practitioner of the San-yüan (Three Periods) and San-ho (Three Combinations) schools. She is offering these programs at Shambhala Centres at the request of Sakyong Mipham Rinpoche.
To register for Levels 1 and 2, please send registration information and payment to: Canadian Tai Chi Academy, Nanaimo Branch, 1555 Scarlet Hill Rd, Nanaimo, BC V9T 1J2. Click here to learn more.
To register for Level 3, please use the “Click Here to Register” button below, or send registration information and payment to: Victoria Shambhala Meditation Centre, 1-2033 Belmont Ave, Victoria, BC V8R 3Z7
Questions? Contact Charles Blackhall at

Monday, September 09, 2013

Beginners Meditation Drop- in

New to Meditation?

Unsure where to start or want to learn how to meditate in the Insight Meditation tradition?

Monthly Introductory Sessions will be held at

Lynn Wylie-Helga Beer Yoga Studio

#202 1600 Bay St. (use Shakespeare St entrance):
Street parking on Bay Street.

-Sunday October 6th  , 5:30 – 6:30 pm

-Sunday November 3rd, 5:30 – 6:30 pm

-Sunday December 1st, 5:30 – 6:30 pm

Drop in; no preregistration required.

This session is open to absolute beginners, those new to Insight Meditation or those wanting a refresher course.  There will be short periods of practice and time for questions and answers.

Brock Brown or Margo McLoughlin, Community Dharma Leaders will lead the session.

There is no charge to attend but you are welcome to make a  donation to help cover the associated costs.

Sponsored by the Victoria Insight Meditation Society

Saturday, September 07, 2013

September Zenwest events and announcements

Pilgrimage - September 15

Pilgrimage is a sacred practice in many traditions, including Zen Buddhism. Join us for a day to experience the deep silence and companionship that develops on this one-day pilgrimage. The route from downtown Victoria, to Kokizan-ji (Red Flag Mountain Temple) in Sooke is approximately 36km and begins at 8am, so bring good shoes, a good lunch, plenty of water, and a walking stick helps. If you plan to take part please contact Ven. Eshu at

Osho Ceremony - September 28

On Saturday September 28, 2013 Ven. Eshu will be acknowledged as an Osho by Ven. Genjo Marinello, Osho of Dai Bai Zan Cho Bo Zen Ji in a ceremony to be held at the UVic Interfaith Chapel at 3:30pm. Everyone is welcome to attend this ceremony, which is a celebration not only of Ven. Eshu, but of the entire community that has been built here on Vancouver Island, and indeed the Zenwest Sangha around the world.

Genjo Osho describes the ceremony:

"Osho is the Japanese Zen word for temple priest so this is a ceremony acknowledging and affirming Eshu Martin as a temple priest and Dharma Teacher. This is not the same as Dharma Transmission which may come after years of additional training. As an acknowledged temple priest, Eshu will have the authority to give Dharma talks, do one on one Dharma interviews and ordain priests in training (Unsui in Japanese). Eshu has been in acting in this capacity already so this ceremony is more of a celebration and acknowledgment of this fact. At the ceremony, Eshu will re-affirm the Four Great Bodhisattva Vows, give himself more fully to the Three Treasures, re-commit to the Ten Precepts, and do prostrations to the Rinzai/Hakuin Dharma lineage. He will receive various articles signifying the affirmation of Eshu as Osho, including an extension to his Dharma Name, brown robes, red Japanese fan, long Buddhist prayer beads, and a staff. He will then give a brief Dharma Talk on a subject of his choice. Following this there will be a reception to celebrate this event."
The ceremony will be followed by a reception potluck at the Oaklands Community Centre at 5:30-9:00pm.

Several guest priests will be in attendance, and it will be a rare opportunity for everyone to enjoy the company of experienced practitioners and teachers from many traditions.

Kokizan-ji Hermitage Project


Our Kokizan-ji (Red Flag Mountain Temple) Hermitage project is under way! Working with local talent, designers, builders and artisans in our own community, we continue to make Zen come alive by offering more and more opportunities for Zen practice available right here on Vancouver Island.
Our vision is to create small hermitage buildings, with just enough room to sleep 2 for short term visitors or students at Zenwest.
The initial fundraising for the first hermitage building was a huge success, and now the real work of taking it from vision to reality begins!

There is no Zenwest Work Day scheduled in the month of September (given the number of other events this month), but there are many small jobs to do in order to prepare Red Flag Mountain Temple for the building. Ven. Eshu will be working away at it all month, so if you have a few hours that you would be willing to dedicate this month to helping get things ready, please contact Ven. Eshu

Some jobs include:

  • Bucking some downed trees
  • Splitting and stacking firewood (we have an electric splitter)
  • General bush clearing and piling for burning/chipping
If anyone has, or knows somebody that has access to a mini-excavator, please let Ven. Eshu know, as this would be a big help as we prepare and level the area before construction. 

For more information about this project, see

Wednesday, September 04, 2013


Zen practice helps us to become intimate with ourselves, and through this, with the world at large. Few joys are greater than practicing this with others.
-->— Peter Levitt                                                    

Salt Spring Zen Circle, which practices in the lineage of Shunryu Suzuki Roshi, author of the classic Zen Mind, Beginner's Mind, will be offering our annual Autumn Retreat, called sesshin, at the beautiful Gatehouse and gardens of Stowel Lake Farm on Salt Spring Island in British Columbia. The retreat begins at 7:00 PM on Thursday, October 31st, and ends at 3:00 PM on Sunday, November 3rd.

Beginning and experienced meditators are most welcome to attend. We encourage participants to maximize the benefits of this sesshin by making this a residential retreat at Stowel Lake Farm. In addition, a limited number of free billets are available for off island participants who would like to stay with sangha members.

Known for his warmth, humour, clarity and the depth of his teachings, poet and founding teacher of Salt Spring Zen Circle, Eihei Peter Levitt, will guide this traditional Zen retreat. Author of fourteen books of poetry and prose, he also served as Associate Editor of the Zen classic, The Treasury of the True Dharma Eye: Zen Master Dogen's Shobo Genzo (Shambhala, 2010), and coeditor, with Kazuaki Tanahashi, of The Essential Dogen: Writings of the Great Zen Master.
In keeping with our tradition of offering authentic practice for the least possible fee, the cost of the retreat is $130 - $170 (sliding scale) for the entire sesshin, including all eight meals, plus voluntary dana (donation) for the practice and teachings Peter will provide. The cost of accommodation at the farm is separate. More information about this sesshin, accommodations at the farm, or billeting can be obtained by contacting our Registrar. Please see below.  
We encourage those who want to make this a residential retreat, and off-island visitors who may want billeting, to register early since such accommodations are provided on a first come first served basis.

For details and to receive a registration form, please contact the Registrar, Ann Colburn at or call our Retreat Steward, Judith Daylen, at 250-537-2062. Judith may also be reached at You may also fill out the registration form online by going to