Posted in Tibetan Buddhism


Tomorrow I’m heading up to Spirit Rock for a week-long retreat: Awakening Through the Sacred Feminine – a Women’s Retreat. It should be interesting since my flavor of Zen teaches “nothing sacred,” and I’m hardly into being a chick.

So how did I find myself in this predicament? Timing. My husband is going to Japan for a week for work (I know, the poor dear!), and I miss him far too much when he travels to want to spend a week alone. So I’m going to a place I’ve never been with a bunch of people I’ve never met. Make that a bunch of women I’ve never met.

I’ve never been terribly in touch with my feminine side. I’m no tomboy, but I’m hardly a girly-girl, either. I’ve always been career-minded and never wanted to have kids. So when I’m around a bunch of women whose lives revolve around their husbands and children, I’ve found we have nothing to say to one another.

Since I’ve become a Buddhist, however, I’ve found a whole culture of female spiritual seekers. There were probably seekers in the Presbyterian church were I grew up, too, but I never found them among the congregation of 2,000. Being outside the mainstream as an American Buddhist only attracts serious seekers; the tourists don’t tend to stay long. The result is that I’ve formed some very close friendships with women in the last few years.

I’m actually looking forward to my trip. It may prove to be “hard training,” as my Zen Master says. But that will be a good thing. I haven’t sat a long retreat since 2004, before I met my husband. It will be good to be unplugged and disconnected for a week. With my husband in Japan, it’s not like we’d have a lot of contact that week, anyway.

It may have started out about timing, but it’s become about what I can learn, how I can serve, and what tools I can bring home at the end of the week.


Ven. Dr. Myodo Jabo (Sandy Gougis) is a Zen Master and Priest in the Five Mountain Zen Order. She began studying Theravâdin Buddhism in 1998, adding Zen in 2003, and Vajrayana Buddhism in 2008. She currently practices in both the Zen and Tibetan traditions. Her Zen teacher is Most Ven. Wonji Dharma of the Five Mountain Zen Order, and her Tibetan guru is Lama Tsultrim Allione of Tara Mandala. In her free time, Myodo enjoys painting, jewelry making, and other creative endeavors.

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