Ordinary Mind Zendo’s Retreat Center
We like to upkeep the center with an attitude, which we describe as “radical hospitality”. In practice this means that we welcome anyone, anyone can pay us a visit and be welcome. Also, it means that we can rent the center to almost anyone, with an open mind.
The building is very suitable for having different kind of workshops, art- or exercise workshops for example. We can rent out the center also for different kind of meetings or gatherings.
A few words on what we have to offer:
There are approximately 20 bunkbeds, so we can accommodate 40 sleepers. There are four small bedrooms with 2 bunkbeds and also two big dorms, where there are five bunkbeds.
In our center it is easy to make large amounts of food. The Kitchen is modern and spacious with two big refrigerators, a quick dish washer and pots and pans from teeny-weeny to extra large ones! If you come with a large group, you may want to utilize our separate storage room for storing bigger amounts of food. We also have a new washing machine and dryer , several showers – and of course, our own sauna. For organizing meditation retreats, we have 28 zabutons and 20 plus zafus in the center. The plan is to get more in the future.
We use the former school’s gymnasium as a zendo during our Ordinary Mind Zendo retreats – so there’s plenty of space! Outside there are swings, a sand field for outdoor games, not to mention the silent rural landscape all around, which really is a treat for one’s eyes and ears.
Birth of the center:
In the beginning, there was a pretty, yellow village school.. It sat in the middle of a small Southern Finnish village, surrounded by cornfields and forests of birch and pine. As years passed, the world changed around that little yellow village school, and fewer and fewer children came to sit in her rooms each year. Finally, the school was no more, only the yellow building remained, witnessing the ever ongoing change around her.
Then there came a group, who had recently gathered because they all liked to sit in silence silent and stare at walls. (Well, some didn't always like this, but they did it anyway). These folks called themselves, Ordinary Mind Zendo. Sometimes, the Ordinary Mind Zen folks felt that looking at a wall for one hour wasn't enough (”it felt more like just a glimpse”), so they rented a quiet place in the country and stared at the wall for sometimes a few days or even as much as a week. They called those periods s 'sesshins'. So far, renting a place had worked fine. But some thought it might be a good idea to have a place of their own instead of always renting a place. So they started looking around.
Then one day, they finally met each other, the yellow village school and this group of people who liked to take good long looks at walls.
To the group those yellow walls looked really good. It was love at first sight. Both ways. Papers were signed quickly and in June 2013 the yellow village school of Kataloinen was bought from the city of Hämeenlinna. To check how those yellow walls had withstood time, the first sesshin was organized in July right after a hectic preparation period. She was in excellent shape and clearly happy to have found a new raison d'être, purpose for her life. After decades of children running around, there was now a group of people who found pleasure in looking at her walls. One could almost see that yellow school village school getting younger day by day. Not bad considering she is almost 80.