Furnace Mountain
Zen Retreat Center

Newsletter Fall/Winter2011
In this issue:
Wildfires at Furnace Mountain
Wildfires at Furnace Mountain!

Empathic Communication Practice Group

This past October retreat has been a real challenge for everybody attending the retreat.
Wildfires spread on Furnace Mountain!
Wholeheartedly and without hesitation the retreatants participated in whatever was required of them: Whether it was cleaning the area behind the temple and the teahouse from trees, shrubs and bushes that could have caught fire, whether it was signing up for night vigils, or leaving the temple during the day in order to do a “fire-watch-round” – the Sangha members just did what was necessary. No complaints, no hesitation.
Instead of many words we offer some pictures and our deep felt gratitude to all the retreat participants, neighbors and firefighters who so generously helped to support and protect Furnace Mountain.
The fire was a great reminder of how fragile all this life is, how we are never seperate and how we can never achieve anything alone!
Thank you all again for your amazing support!

ZeNVC with Martha Lasley
Teacher Ceremony
Naikan and Zen Day
Abandoned animals - update
Changes in 2012
Conserving the land - Festival of Faiths
What's new at Furnace Mountain?
Editor's note

Empathic Communication (NVC) Practice Group starting in January


On Saturday, January 21st we will start our first of five Saturdays about Non-Violent-Communication (NVC - as developed by Dr. Marshall Rosenberg). There are still a few open spaces, so if you or one of your friends are interested, please register through Myozen and let your friends know. The course is open until after the second Saturday (March 3rd) - after this no more registrations will be accepted.
This ongoing group is designed for people who want to learn and practice NVC with likeminded people in a safe and supportive environment.
NVC focuses on deep transformational listening to ourselves and our fellow human beings. It is a deeply alive practice that helps us connect to our fundamental human nature. NVC as Zen in the beginning might be a "practice", a "tool", but really it is a way of living, of holding ourselves from moment to moment. The course will be lead by Myozen Osho (Daniela Herzog) and Won Do Osho (Karen Bowmer). It will include short Zen-Meditation periods, lots of NVC exercises and space for inquiry and exchange.
Costs are $25 - $50 on a sliding scale, the course will start at 10:00am and end at 4:00pm. A light vegetarian lunch will be provided.
For more information please see here.


2nd Zen and Non-Violent-Communication workshop with Martha Lasley in June

In response to the overwhelmingly positive feedback after last years Zen & Nonviolent Communication workshop there will be another workshop with Martha Lasley, Zen Master Dae Gak and Daniela Myozen Herzog in June 2012. Martha is a certified CNVC trainer, executive coach and founding partner of "Leadership that works", an organization that trains and coaches visionaries.
Theme of the workshop will be "Relationship with Self". More detailed information will follow, please also check our website for updates.
As we have a waiting list from last years workshop, we ask you to register very early if you want to attend the weekend. We expect spaces to fill up extremely fast. The workshop will take place June 8th - 10th. Please contact Myozen if you have any questions or want to register.

Teacher Ceremony at the end of the October week long retreat

Furnace Mountain welcomes two new teachers (Osho´s):
Karen Bowmer (Won Do Osho) and Bob Kohl (Dae Do Osho) received Inka (permission to teach) from Zen Master Dae Gak on October 15th, 2011. Both new teachers are long time practitioners with Zen Master Dae Gak.
As a Sangha we welcome them into their new role. May their practice always be on fire and may all beings benefit from their teaching!


Dae Do Osho grew up in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. He graduated from University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee with degrees in Chemistry and Philosophy. He then traveled to Indianapolis for graduate school and started sittinging with a group that evolved into the Indianapolis Zen Group. Later he moved to Iowa then Detroit to pursue medical school and then a residency in Radiation Oncology. Dae Do Osho lives in Appleton, Wisconsin with his wife and three girls ages 10, 14, and 16.

Won Do Osho holds the position of Laboratory Information Manager at the VA Medical Center in Lexington. She is in charge of the computer systems for the laboratory. She's been married for 27 years and has two children, a daughter-in-law, five cats and two dogs. Won Do Osho has been practicing with ZMDG since 1994. She is the Vice President of the Furnace Mountain Board and the Abbess of the Lexington Zen Center.


1st Naikan and Zen Day at Furnace Mountain


What happens when we take the time to look at our life from the perspective of all that what we have been given instead of all that we have missed? What if we were to stop and consider all that enabled us to get to this moment in our life: all those who have nurtured us, all those who have challenged us, all those who have built the roads we have traveled on, those who changed our diapers as infants, taught us to read or rung up our groceries. These are the kind of reflections that one takes up with Naikan practice.
For one day in early November, ten of us came together to look at these and similar questions. Sitting in silence, we reflected on significant people in our lives and considered what we had received from them, what we had given and what difficulties we had caused along the way. Some of us took up a period of time, perhaps three difficult years, and looked at all the ways we had been supported even in the midst of our difficulties. Some people reported that they were pleasantly surprised to realize that they were able to give to others even in the midst of their own suffering.
A common theme among those who participated was a greater sense of gratitude, a deeper appreciation for those who have cared for us and perhaps a bit of embarrassment at seeing one’s own sense of entitlement. Even after several weeks had passed, some retreatants reported that they were still reaping the benefits of improved relationships and deeper appreciation for each moment as Naikan opened their eyes to all they receive.

The setting for a Naikan retrat differs from our usual setting for a Zen retreat: Each participant has their own enclosed space to sit and inquire. In addition there is time for group inquiry and discussion. Retreatants also meet with the teacher for short reports about their practice.

Food serving also differs from our usual four-bowl-style meals we serve during Zen retreats:
We did our best to support the gratitude and appreciation practice Naikan encourages by providing the participants with food that would touch all their senses through color, smell, taste, touch and presentation.

Please contact Mary if you would like to receive information about future Naikan days to be offered at Furnace Mountain in 2012.


Abandoned animals at Furnace Mountain

Sadly we mourn the loss of Senge, the little snowshoe-cat we cared for and had adopted as a baby.
She unexpectedly died in a car accident.

This little black and white cat (in the picture) was left at our gate too. She has found a good home with Won Do Osho, her husband and their family in Lexington.

Grey, Senge's mother is fine. She has healed well from surgery and has put on enough weight to get her through the winter....


Changes in 2012

Because of increased costs we have moderatly raised our retreat fees by $5/day. Fees for 2012 are as follows:

Retreat Fees: $75.00/day.
(beginners-only-day: $55.00)
Weekend retreat: $225.00
Week-long retreat: $525.00
Month-long retreat: $1600.00
($900.00 for 2 weeks)

Day workshop costs and special workshop costs may vary. Scholarships are still available, please apply here.

We are entirely dependent on retreat fees and donations to pay for the maintenance and operating expenses of Furnace Mountain. All fees and donations also help to provide retreat oportunities for people that otherwise could not join a retreat.

We want to remind you again that we have closed down the aol-address.
To register for retreats please use office@furnacemountain.org
Further information about the changes can be found on our website under "contact Furnace Mountain".


Conserving the Land - Festival of Faiths, Louisville


The Festival of Faiths in Louisville observed its 16th anniversary in November 2011, "(...) reaffirming our commitment to come together as many faiths, united in our mutual respect for each other, so that we can engage in common action on behalf of our community."
This years focus was on Sacred Air: Breath of Life. Zen Master Dae Gak was invited to give a talk about breath and meditation.
Together with Jigetus Osho and Myozen Osho he also participated in the "Conserving the Land" - Conference that was an integral part of the Festival.

Inspired by the conference, Furnace Mountain is exploring ways to be more sustainable stewards for our land.


What's new at Furnace Mountain?


Furnace Mountain welcomes Mary Kamien from Washington, DC for a three month residential stay. Mary has already arrived and will stay with us through March.

Our Sangha member Craig Carver donated two beautiful handcrafted tables he made from cherry wood. One is sitting in our kitchen now and is a real help during retreats and everyday life. The other one sits in one of the bathhouse rooms.
Thank you, Craig. Your work adds beauty to the Mountain every day!

Small things can have huge effects.....
Our old teahouse refrigerator broke during the holidays and everything in there went bad....
A generous donation from an anonymous donor made it possible for us to buy a refrigerator that hopefully meets our retreat needs in a much better way than the old one did.
The refrigerator is also highly energy efficient, so we hope to reduce our CO2-footprint a tiny little bit.....


In order to meet the needs of handicapped guests and residents both the temple and the teahouse recently got equipped with wheel-chair-accessible ramps.


Editor´s note


Recently I read about a woman who for years had worked in palliative care. She reported that most people share five common regrets when they realize they are about to die. The most important one is this:

"I wish I’d had the courage to live a life true to myself, not the life others expected of me."


2011 has been a year with an abundance of change happening to me personally and to Furnace Mountain:
In March with heavy hearts we gave our "Farewell" to Kosen Osho and Soen Wol Osho who after five years of wholeheartedly giving their life to the Mountain have moved to Australia. Their leaving went along with my arrival into an entirely new life, with lots of necessary and not always easy adjustments - to a new language, new roles and a life without all the people I love and care for in Germany. During this past year we also have tried a lot of new things at the Mountain: The Zen & NVC workshop with Martha Lasley in April, regular Zen-Days for new students, a Naikan-day in November, our community days for the residents..... not all these changes came easily.

Over the almost 25 years that Furnace Mountain exists, lots of people have contributed and shaped the face of Furnace Mountain as it is today. They all had the courage to pursue their dream, to live a life true to themselves, a life committed to the dharma and to serving others. We can practice at the Mountain because so many others before us have paved the way for us. They have paved the way because they had the courage to pursue their hearts and not what was expected of them by convention, society, family or friends...... The Buddha was the first one in this "stepping out of the prescribed order".

Having the courage to live a life true to oneself is not necessarily easy going.
Living at Furnace Mountain is not easy.
Living a spiritual life is not easy.
But what life is easy?!
We only have limited control over what happens in our life. But we have freedom to choose how we hold what happens in our lives because we have the capacity to listen: In each and every moment we can listen to what is.
This listening includes listening to the call in ourselves, the call to live a truly unique human life, to express our Buddha nature by coming forth as who we are.
Who am I? At any given moment we are capable of listening and it's when we listen that answers appear. Possibility appears. The capacity to listen is what makes us human. How often do we forget? How often do we live as if we can start listening tomorrow, next month, in the future.....
This life is fragile.
This body is finite.
It will end.

It might end today.

Someone once said: "Your life is your message to the world." May 2012 be a year where we all dedicate our life's energy to living a life that is true, not a selfish, egoistic life but a life that honors our human nature and our interconnectedness with all existence. Practicing Zen is an invitation to come to the complete realization of what we fundamentally are: Interconnected. And from this realization action arises naturally - compassionate action for all beings. May we all find our deep compassionate humanness. And may we stay healthy, so that we are able to contribute to community, our Sangha and to this suffering world.

Liberation does not follow rules.
Awakening does not follow rules.
This precious life is short.