I was visiting my mother recently in the house where I was raised and where the family has lived since 1958. While I was browsing the web on the laptop she keeps in the kitchen, she saw the Samadhi Cushions website and asked me what it was. Then she told me there was an old meditation cushion in an upstairs closet. Turned out to be a zafu that she gave me for Christmas back in 1982 or so.
My name is written on a label that was added to the carrying strap, so I must have needed it at a group meditation retreat. Maybe this was the Shambhala Buddhist Seminary which was held in Bedford Springs, Pennsylvania, 1982 to 1984, in an old ocean liner of a hotel built before the Civil War when the area served as a summer retreat for President Buchanan.
On the underside of the carrying strap is a Samadhi Cushions label featuring Karmê Chöling’s name and phone number — which indicates the venerableness of the cushion, since the the cushion workshop hasn’t been at Karmê Chöling since 1996, when it moved to its current location in the village of Barnet and acquired its own phone number and street address.
I have it from Sumner (the Manager at Samadhi Store) that the retail store followed the workshop to Barnet village about a year later, when Karmê Chöling’s old barn (Samadhi Cushion’s former home) was moved and transformed into the Pavilion practice space at Karmê Chöling — no one is exactly sure how this happened, but the Pavilion is nothing like the barn. It is a wonderful place to practice (or dance or drum or conference).
Anyway, my old cushion looked pretty lonely up in that closet, with its only company some tacky kids’ encyclopedias and an old US flag. So, I brought it back to Vermont and put in my meditation room where it’s been getting along famously with my zabuton and gomden. Be nice if I could wash it — too bad it doesn’t have a removable cover.
Although it has flattened somewhat over the years, my zafu still provides a nice height when combined with a support cushion. If you’ve got an old zafu, chances are it has a little more life in it, a little more to give. Don’t let it languish. Rescue it.
The Pavilion at Karmê Chöling.