In 2018, there will be two “Wild Dharma” backpacking expeditions. In April, Zenki Roshi will lead an expedition into the Dirty Devil Canyon in Utah, followed by a trip in August into the Sangre de Cristo Mountains, the extensive and rugged mountain range where Crestone is located.
These expeditions are an opportunity to embed Zen practice within the field of interconnected activities from which all life arises: wild nature. For more information on Zen practice in a wild nature context, read an interview with Zenki Roshi in Tricycle Magazine.
The daily practice includes walking, zazen, sense awareness and mindfulness practices, chanting, ecological literacy, and dharma discussion. Participants also learn best practices for wilderness travel, including orienting with topographical maps, food preparation and storage, safety precautions, and Leave No Trace ethics.
April 23-28, 2018
The route stretches from mountain to desert through some of the most remote and rugged wild lands in southeast Utah. We will ford muddy rivers swallowed by high canyon corridors and camp beside ancient cottonwoods. Solitude is the norm in the Dirty Devil – a tributary of the Colorado River, located adjacent to the Maze district of Canyonlands National Park. We walk an average of 6 miles per day, dropping into the canyon on the first day and climbing out of the canyon on day five.
Teacher: Zenki Roshi
Sliding Scale Fee: $900 to $550. Please use the sliding scale according to your financial situation and membership level. It is customary to make an additional teaching donation. (Member Discount: 10-20%)
The Practice of Being Alive
We are fascinated and nourished by wild nature, yet we are strangely alienated from it by our civilized, sheltered human lives. How will we come to recognize ourselves as one of the many life forms that co-create the beauty and ordinary magic of planet earth, our home?
Buddhism, we can say, is to study and practice how to be fully alive.
Dharma practice is to actively investigate that aliveness through still sitting, through studying wisdom teachings, and through entering the moment-to-moment appearance of the world with our whole body and mind.
The brewing ecological crisis of our times urgently calls for our response. We feel the tension between the enormity of the peril and our perceived powerlessness as individuals. Yet we must respond if we want to be fully alive.
Being alive means being alive with and through others, with and through mountains, rivers, oceans, rocks, pebbles, plants, animals, the sun, the moon, the stars – and with and through other fellow human beings.
If we don’t want to be stuck in a separate self looking out at the world as an assemblage of objects that are more or less useful to us, we need to get out there and immerse ourselves, and learn to see the earth as an intimate communion of life forms that not only includes us but generates and sustains us – is us.
This is what Wild Dharma Practice is about. It is responding to our longing for wonder, beauty, joy, and connectedness. It is awakening to how we belong and are at home in the universe.