Serving the Bodhi Manda Zen Center, Jemez Springs, NM
"Make your life a rose that speaks silently in the Language of fragrance." - Sathya Sai Baba
The Sathya Sai Baba Center members from Santa Fe and Albuquerque, NM, have been hosting an annual retreat on Labor Day weekend, since 1983, at the Bodhi Manda Zen Center in Jemez Springs, NM, a tiny mountain village in northern New Mexico.
Service has always been a pivotal part of the weekend retreat. During the mornings of the retreat weekend, a “White Tornado” of 50 to 90 Sai devotees set to work, cleaning, pulling weeds, painting, digging, and carrying out whatever tasks the Abbess and staff at the “Bodhi” request. Over the years, some very large projects have been accomplished by the retreat attendees. For example, one year, a team of strong young adults dug up, crushed, and disposed of an unused huge septic tank and system. Another year, the group painted all the outside walls of the 4 structures. Yet another time, retreat attendees dug up and replaced the Geothermal pipes that heat the facilities. Each attendee can sign up for service that is appropriate for their age and abilities. Some may choose heavy labor and lifting/hauling, while other choose tasks where they can sit and sing devotional songs while sewing or chopping vegetables.
A deep love has blossomed between the devotees and the Buddhist community. The joy with which we all work graces us, and has transformed us over the years. Abbess Juin Hosen commented, “The energy of the community coming together is so transformative. To have seen the growth and maturation, the compassion and wisdom develop in each of these individuals for more than 30 years is very touching. I look forward to many more years to come, of the Sai Baba group serving with us.”
The Bodhi Manda Zen Center (“The Bodhi”) aims to promote universal well-being, helping people to experience their true, selfless and symbiotic nature through providing training in Rinzai Zen Buddhist practices for the immense benefit of current and future generations.