Four Lakes History

History of Four Lakes Sangha

Four Lakes Sangha manifested in the fertile soil that has been lovingly tended by SnowFlower Sangha. Four Lakes Sangha is a vital part of SnowFlower Sangha and SnowFlower’s family, kid-friendly and outdoor branch.

After many years of practicing with SnowFlower, a few dedicated practitioners decided to begin laying the foundation for a practice space where our families and children could be integral aspects of our practice, as well as being in touch with nature. What started as a few families with small children meeting outside has blossomed beautifully into a weekly gathering where all are welcome. Our space is a space where we all can experience the power of intentionally breathing and walking and coming back to the present moment while being in nature with our blood and spiritual families.

The name Four Lakes was chosen, as it is the English translation of “Dejope”, which is what the Ho-Chunk and other American Indians have called the Madison, WI area for thousands of years. Dejope simply means Four Lakes. Four Lakes also has a deeper meaning in our tradition, as the Plum Village tradition is a “Fourfold Sangha”, which means it is traditionally divided into monks, nuns, laywomen and laymen.

While the term “fourfold” is very gender exclusive, Plum Village has been making a diligent effort at having a multifold Sangha to be gender inclusive, specifically on the lay-practitioner side. Since Four Lakes practices at Lake Wingra, and Lake Wingra is not officially one of the Four Lakes, we like to think of our Sangha as a fifth lake and part of the multifold, as well as being the fifth gathering of SnowFlower and part of the multifold Sangha of SnowFlower.

SnowFlower Sangha

SnowFlower Sangha has been practicing together in Madison since 1991. There are five weekly gatherings at SnowFlower (including this one with Four Lakes), and we encourage you to attend the other offerings if you haven’t already. In addition to Four Lakes’ gathering on Sunday, there are weekly in-person gatherings on Tuesdays and Wednesdays (both offer hybrid options as well), and Zoom only gatherings on Fridays and Sundays. Specific gathering information for the other four offerings can be found on the SnowFlower when and where page.

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