Anattasati Magga is a Soto Zen Buddhist Sangha for the Laity in Asheville and Bryson City, NC, and in Sonora and Lotus, CA. Our Sangha house in Asheville is located on 7 quiet acres in West Asheville surrounded by trees. Our Sangha exists to develop the practice of Zen Buddhism for the Laity.
We follow the teachings of Shakyamuni Buddha as developed and practiced in the Soto tradition, including The Four Noble Truths, The Eightfold Path, and Preceptual Living.
Nancy Spence founded Anattasati Magga in response to the needs of those laypeople seeking no limits to the depth of their practice.
Visiting the Sangha
We welcome new visitors to the Sangha. To make your first experience most pleasant, we would like to let you know ahead of time about how to conduct yourself at the Sangha.
Approaching and Entering the Sangha
- To reinforce our practice and to support the practice of others, we maintain silence as much as possible.
- When you are ten minutes away from the meditation hall, begin silence. Turn off any audio and silence your phone. If you are driving with another person, stop conversation.
- Leave your shoes and coat where you see others have left theirs.
- Please do not wear fragrances of any sort.
- As much as possible, avoid direct eye contact.
- Quietly ask someone to point out the guest master for this service.
- Ask the guest master to show you how to enter the meditation hall and set up your meditation position.
For our meditation periods we always face the wall (Soto Zen practice of serene reflection meditation).
Approach your meditation place. Make gassho (bow) to your place; turn clockwise and make gassho (bow) across the meditation hall, whether anyone is there or not. (Click here to watch a short video on how to make gassho). Continue turning clockwise until you face your meditation place again, and then sit down. Meditators sitting near you will know when to turn and face into the room for services. Follow them.
When meditation and any service are over we proceed out of the meditation hall in a particular order. Everyone moves clockwise around the hall following the person on your left. The person nearest the door walks to the doorway and turns back to make gassho (bow) to the altar. The next person in the line makes gassho (bow) to the person leaving since s/he is making gassho (bow). The second person then moves to exit the hall and the process continues until all have exited. The whole group will be gathering in the reception room for announcements from the guide.
Here are several instances where we always make gassho (bow):
- Entering and leaving the meditation hall
- To our meditation place
- When crossing in front of the altar
- When offering incense
- When the meditation bells ring
- When someone gives guidance or makes a request of you
- When meeting or leaving someone