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#2 of 2 hotels in Jemez Springs
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the public is invited in when there is not a program in process. Bodhi Manda is primarly an education and training center but there are rooms to rent when you are there. You can also use the hot springs for a donation. the people are wonderful, and the facilities are conatantly being upgraded. come chill and take some quiet time..
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I stayed overnight at the Bodhi Zen Center for a seminar unrelated to the center, yet the ‘Zen thing’ is omnipresent. The center has a list of ‘guidelines’ about how to be which suggest a 'big brother' outlook. For example, “Don’t make small talk, don’t whistle, don’t hum”. However, the center does allow tobacco and alcohol in ‘moderation’. I had to eat vegan meals in the community dining area because they are all vegetarian at the center and a couple people were vegan. Participants of seminars or retreats will enter the common dining hall--feet flat on the floor, backs straight as an arrow. We’re told we should eat this way, NOT that we must. The service is superficially friendly. The dining room is pleasant and comfortable and there is also a small conference room adjacent to the dining hall. It’s a nice big community table. Many people from Santa Fe by way of elsewhere will be there in the dining hall talking about how ‘money’ really isn’t what life is about. My experience is that the Bodhi Zen Center is a magnate for floundering folks who left the east coast and spent a few years flapping around in Santa Fe. They call themselves ‘spiritual’ folks and speak to “Getting back to the earth”. The folks you will spend time with arrive at the Bodhi Zen Center to “re-connect” (i.e., couldn’t make a relationship work in the real world). So they spend a few days being vegetarian and working in a community garden. They smile with that insincere New Age wave movement that was born when Easy Rider came out. The Meditation Room is actually a wonderful piece of architecture. It is said that Zen is misunderstood by many because it’s all “really just an illusion” and “language “is an inadequate form to express true Zen. While Zen adheres to no ‘doctrines’ or ‘scriptures’ this “Rigorous” program begins several hours before dawn where the East Coast misfits wear sweat pants and meditate. Participation is voluntary of course. The meditation room I did like just as a quiet beautiful room. But not as a pre-dawn meditation. The bathrooms are community, which is fine. They are clean and there’s plenty of hot water. Yet I notice the community shared array of body products from Whole Foods including fragrance free, paraben free lotions and salt rock earth friendly deodorant. (Bought with money). So it’s paradoxical to say money doesn’t matter. The grounds of the Bodhi Zen Center are beautiful and the hot springs are there baking in the full mountain sun. As another reviewer mentioned. There is no shade by the springs. I’m surprised no one got around to erecting a sun shade or gazebo. The temperature was nice and hot the day I visited. When I arrived, one of the folks running the center or who stays there a lot greeted me. It feels very guarded even though they act like they are welcoming you. This makes the place not my favorite for the seminar I attended although the place is naturally beautiful. The rooms are community with shared doors connecting to the front room. Some have private toilets. Choose a room on the backside to look at the river and mesa! The price was reasonable. Rustic rooms. Basic. At the Bodhi Zen Center there is talk of “service to others” and selflessness, but they still take your checks and make money with the center by renting it out for retreats. Which is ‘COMMERCE’…. which sounds almost like….’capitalism’ in a monk outfit. Because it’s easy to be a monk when you already had health insurance from a European country and you already had a commercial career and spent some decades making bank). Now it’s time to “Get back to the earth” and “Renounce, Renounce, Renounce”. I disagree with the entire Zen Buddhist mind, but again the natural environment you will find beautiful. Bodhi Zen Center takes away the joy of eating a meal. In my mind, food is a celebration of life and connection and conversation. Like a dinner of banter with the Mexicans and the Italians. This place has many lost souls. Upon my departure, I said “Thank You” to one of the folks working in the garden. The person looked at me like I was from Mars. It was like they did not understand me being polite or basic social skills. So my spiritual, Zen, New Age, East Coast MISFIT, New to Santa Fe, Birkenstocks still rock, plant based protein friend, may you find whatever mesa monk wisdom you didn’t find in New York at the Bodhi Zen Center in Jemez. I think it is better to just go hike into some of the other hot springs if that is what you are looking for. Or I would like to try one of the other near by hotels/spa places another time. I am turned off ever doing another seminar or retreat here again because I find it upsetting to be corrected on my diet (which is NOT vegetarian) and I dislike their list of judgemental guidelines of being there. The starry nights are beautiful, the rhetoric was NOT.
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I happened upon the Bodhi Mandala Zen Center in Jemez Springs, when traveling from Chaco Canyon to Santa Fe. Being early April, I didn't consider that the national forest campgrounds would still be closed for the winter, so I began looking around this quaint funky little town (nice galleries, two commercial hot springs, and a great coffee shop and bakery at the south end of town) and found myself at the Bodhi Mandala Zen Center. Upon arrival, the Abbess could not have given a warmer or more generous welcome. It were as if she were welcoming a dear friend home, and I felt immediately at ease. The dorm I stayed in is very conveniently located adjacent to the hot springs. So I could open my back door and simply step down a few steps and be in the springs. The water temp was very pleasant, hot enough to warm my core enough for a cold water plunge in the adjacent Jemez River. The only small drawback was the naturally occurring algae growth in the pools. I was to learn they are continually cleaning the pools of algae. which is not particularly pleasant, but it's also not harmful. Much rather a natural algae to chemicals. I didn't let this get in the way of my enjoyment of this place. The accommodations are simple and clean, and the staff is helpful and inclusive. I joined several mediation practice sessions and thorough enjoyed them. (Hosen, the Abbess, made sure my needs as a newbie meditator were considered and that I felt comfortable. I was also invited to join in meals. The food was again, simple, yet delicious, especially as it was eaten with contemplation and gratitude. As another reviewer said, one need not be buddhist to enjoy a soak or to stay here, however, I believe it helps to be open, to a buddhist frame of mind. For me this means taking joy in simple things, counting ones blessings, a heart of gratitude. The Bodhi Mandala Zen Center was a lovely place to rest my body and soul. I will return, and soon. Namasté.
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I was here for a seminar. It was not a seminar directly related to the Center, however the Abbess made us feel really included, and offered us special meditation sessions. These are my major take aways: 1. AMAZING food. You will never realize that you're not eating meat (if you're not a vegetarian). It is all fresh, scrumptious, filling. 2. Beautiful location. It is nestled between two mountains, walkable to the few, yet charming places Jemez Springs has to offer. 3. Hot Springs YES! I was there in the winter, and to be in the hot springs, with the snow falling. If they're too hot, they can regulate the temperature, and if they know people are coming, they make sure there isn't too much moss. 4. The spirit. The abbess has an amazing spirit that will fill your heart and ease your soul. The meditation room is amazing, and the temple is a place in which you can be healed. Yes, the place is a little mismatched. The furniture is mostly donated pieces, you have to help change your sheets, and any kind of service to support the upkeep of the place is highly appreciated. But this is a place where the people who are there love being there, and love having you there. If you've never experienced Zen Buddhism, this is a place for your first experience. Welcoming, understanding, open. I don't have enough words!
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When a friend from out of town came to visit, a friend from Taos suggested we all go to the Bodhi Mandala Zen Center to soak in their hot springs. (NOTE: on the Zen Center's website, they call their place the Bodhi Manda Zen Center.) My Taos friend had visited here to soak a couple of times over the course of several years and wanted to share the experience with us. First of all, the scenery on the way to the Center is FABULOUS! The road we took brought us past entrance to the Bandelier National Monument. We saw lovely rock formations as well as folks climbing a sheer rock wall. We passed elk viewing areas (but did not see any elk). That said, in some places, the road is VERY narrow and very steep, and it seems doubtful that two cars going in opposite directions will be able to pass each other (but they can and do). Once at the Zen Center, my friends and I headed directly to the hot spring pools (located behind the Center's buildings.) I was quite disappointed to find there was no shade over the pools. I am quite sensitive to the sun, so decked out in my bathing suit, I was hopping to sit in some shade while I soaked. Nope! The water was very hot. It would have felt great in the winter or at night, but on a sunny June afternoon, it was too much for me, although I typically enjoy really hot water. There was some algae in the pools. Not a terrible lot, but it was kind of slimy and gross looking. What was really gross was the tampon floating in the far pool. Yuck! How did that even get in there? I'm not squeamish, but it really grossed me out. Between the too hot water, the unrelenting sun, and the floating tampon, I didn't spend much time in the water. I sat on the front porch, cooled off, dried off, and read a book. I enjoyed my porch sitting and book reading very much. It costs $10 to soak, and for that price a person can stay all day long (and possibly into the night...I'm not sure what time they want day soakers to leave). Payment is on the honor system. One places one's payment in a wooden box near the door of the room one passes through to get to the restroom/changing room. If I were going to visit the Bodhi Manda Zen Center again, I would go when the weather is much cooler, and I would arrive much earlier in the day.
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United StatesNew MexicoJemez Springs
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