We Are Building American Buddhism

Frederick P. Lenz Foundation Women in Buddhism Grant Supported Lotus Lounge: Spiritual Practice for Evolving Women

By Diane Musho Hamilton
Two Arrows Zen

In the fall of 2013 Two Arrows Zen received a generous grant from the Lenz Foundation to support a women’s meditation and practice in Boulder, Colorado. The retreat was called the Lotus Lounge: Spiritual Practice for Evolving Women, and was in keeping with the Lenz Foundation intention to promote American Buddhism, in this instance women’s practice.

 

I was honored and delighted to lead a retreat that was a wonderful combination of sitting meditation (zazen), dialogic teaching grounded in Buddhadharma, and daily yoga sessions with the teacher and musician, Wah, who is a very sensual and talented kirtan singer. Movement sessions were led by Brooke Teisui McNamara, a stunning performer, and teacher of dance and movement at the University of Colorado.

 

The Boulder event was designed to appeal to younger women, particularly students and under-30, who may have a limited ability to pay for a weekend like this one, especially one with two well-known teachers.  

 

We engaged relationship practices, devotional chanting, and teaching on the Integral approach to taking perspectives. The practice of perspective taking was a major focus for this weekend. We encouraged perspectives shifts through the Big Mind practice, inviting the young women to move beyond limited views to experience the open ground of being.

 

Women’s events are unique in their capacity for heightening our sensual experience and beautify the space of awareness. Wah is particularly skilled at created a mood that opens the heart, and allows practitioners to experience deeper levels of communion.

 

No women’s event is ever complete without a good dose of dancing. We danced to all the best pop hits including “All The Single Ladies” and “Lady Marmalade”. We don’t want anyone to get the idea that Buddhist practice in America doesn’t include a DJ.

 

A big thank you to the Lenz Foundation for letting us experiment with the traditional modes of practice joined with innovations that are true to our time and place!