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Zen Workshop 2021

Image by Lanju Fotografie


Sunday, January 31, 2021 (1:00 to 3:00 pm)


1:00-1:15 pm: Welcome to the Workshop and Introduction (Sabine Grunwald and Valerie Forstman)

1:15-1:45 pm: Talk: Introduction to Zen Practice

1:45-2:05 pm: Zazen/silent sitting (I will guide at the beginning)

2:05-2:15 pm: Guided movement (Shana Smith)

2:15-2:40 pm: Q&A

2:40-2:55 pm: Zazen/silent sitting

2:55-3:00 pm: Closing comment

This workshop is freely offered, with no obligation to pay any fee. Should you feel inspired to make a donation of any amount here.

Valerie Forstman (Meikô-an; Keiun-an) is an Associate Zen Master of the Sanbo Zen lineage. Her first teacher, with whom she continues to work, was Ruben Habito Roshi. Since 2003, she has also trained under the guidance of Yamada Ryoun Roshi, current abbot of SanboZen. Valerie is co-teacher of Mountain Cloud Zen Center in Santa Fe, New Mexico, as well as guiding teacher of Florida Sanbo Zen, based at the Gainesville Retreat Center.  She joins Florida Sanbo Zen with a shared vision of the core of the Zen path, a way of coming home to who we truly are. This includes koan training, “just sitting” practice, and breath awareness practice, and what it means to undergo the immense change of heart implied by the term “awakening.” What a joy and what a long road it can be, not just to taste this, but to embody it and live it out in lives of compassionate service.  She comes to Gainesville Retreat Center several times per year to lead Zen sesshins (retreats). A first-career classical musician with degrees from Oberlin Conservatory and the University of Stony Brook in New York, Valerie changed course in response to her practice and went on to earn a Master of Theological Studies and Ph.D. in Biblical Interpretation (Hebrew Bible). She recently retired from her work as Associate Dean for Admissions and Common Life at Brite Divinity School in Fort Worth, TX.

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