Zen Mind, Writer's Mind — 2014

A Zen Writing Retreat for Women. When we write from our body's center within a safe and supportive circle of women we release our creativity and express our truth.

Deck at Great Tree

August 1-3, 2014

Great Tree Zen Temple

Alexander, North Carolina

Alexander is 15 miles north of Asheville, NC.



Sign for Great Tree"To control your cow, give it a wide pasture." Shunryu Suzuki expressed this thought and now you can explore its meaning in this Zen writing retreat for women. Take down the fences around your definition of "writing" and explore what it means to you.  In writing, most of us are bound up by shoulds learned from teachers, parents, and our own self-doubt.  What if we had beginner's mind and simply befriended the words?  
We will write and read in circle in the morning. You will have afternoon time to explore writing on your own. Silence, solitude, community, and practice (both meditation and writing practice) are the 4 pillars of the writer’s life.

Tenzo Diane  smilesYou need not be a writer and no meditation experience is required to attend or write.  Come with an open mind and empty notebook and leave with an open heart and a notebook of inspiration.  

Accommodations limited to 10 women.
Commuters are welcome for this retreat.



Misty barn view Great TreeGreat Tree Zen Temple is located 20 minutes north of downtown Asheville, North Carolina, surrounded by the southern Appalachian Mountains

Great Tree is a residential Zen practice for women under the direction of Teijo Munnich, disciple and dharma heir of Dainin Katagiri Roshi.  Directions can be found on the Great Tree website by clicking here.

Accommodations and Meals

August TomtoesDormitory-style rooms and vegetarian meals, beginning with Friday dinner and ending with Sunday breakfast.


Check In: Friday, August 1st from 3-5;
Check Out: Sunday, August 3rd by noon.


meditation bellRegister online here. (Open April 1st.)

If you have questions or a problem with registration, please call 828/645-2085 or email at info@greattreetemple.org.

Sign-up remains open until spaces are filled.


Zendo at Great TreeFees: $225

All fees and personal information forms due by July 25th.

Deposit of $100 accepted until July 1st; the balance is due by July 25th.

Whether lodgers or commuters; food is included in the cost.

Teacher Compensation: Generosity is shown toward the teacher for the effort she/he has made to study, learn, and share the teachings. At the retreat's end, students are asked to contribute dana. Dana is a Pali word (the language spoken in India during the time of the Buddha about 400 BCE) meaning "generosity." 

Abbess Teijo Munnich
Abbess Teijo Munnich

Dana for Great Tree Zen Temple is also appreciated. Great Tree is a non-profit and relies on financial support through charitable contributions.

Writing on deck


"Material goods, the teachings.  Both are perfectly complete offerings, the value of which cannot be measured."


We shape clay into a pot, but it is the emptiness inside that holds whatever we want.

—Lao Tzu

breathe.jpgSo the most difficult thing is always to keep your beginner’s mind… This is also the real secret of the arts: always be a beginner. Be very very careful about this point… It is the secret of Zen practice.

—Shunryu Suzuki

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The way Peggy structured the daily routine, combined with her teaching, led me to some of the most creative, inspired and imaginative moments I’ve experienced in my writing.
Becca Groves, Minnesota
Becca is a retreat participant who collected and wrote family stories to celebrate her grandmother’s 90th birthday in 2007.