Issue 18;

Retreat Report

Warminster Weekend Retreat 20-22 April 2012

By Michael

This peer led retreat was held in Warminster Wiltshire at The Centre for Addiction Studies (an apt name for a place to sit zazen!! Thanks to Devin for organising this superb venue to practice together. These weekend retreats have grown out of the monthly SKYPE conferences of the group who came together as a result of their commitment to work on the formal/legal development of Dancing Mountains and its constitution. It was recognised early on that sitting together as regularly as possible was a vital part of this process.

At present the group consists of Frances Collins Co Chair, Devin Ashwood Co Chair, Chris Brown Treasurer, Michael Elsmere Secretary, Wendy Klein Membership Kath Bennett, Gill Jackman,  Lucy Ellis Fundraising.

We were also joined by Francoise Elvin and Lloyd Skett.

It was decided that we would be in silence from after dinner in the evening to breakfast and that we would sit formally with morning and noon services and refuges in the evening.

On the Saturday morning we listened to one of Tenshin Reb Anderson’s talks on Genjo Koan given in 2006 at Gaia House. There was discussion and questions based on this afterwards.

One of the central purposes of this particular weekend was to further consider the wording of the precepts within the constitution. There had already been considerable discussion of this and we hoped during our retreat to develop these ideas further. Gill had taken the opportunity to develop novel ways of opening up solutions around the precepts. This resulted in a wide number of suggestions regarding their length and wording which ranged from the view that the precepts should be worded as concisely as possible whilst others considered it important to include the wider meaning of them as in the San Francisco Zen Centre version. Other suggestions were that we should study Tenshin Reb Anderson’s book ‘Being Upright’ to help inform our decisions. Some draft precepts have also been sent to Reb for his comments and advice. After much debate and discussion Chris Brown offered to collate the varying ideas and to present them at the next SKYPE meeting on 27 June.

Many thanks to Kath and Gill for arranging the catering  with so much flair and efficiency.

Deep bows to all those who participated especially those from the north who travelled a long way to be at this weekend.


Michael Elsmere

Kogan Muju










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