Winding Path Sangha History
Winding Path Tendai Buddhist Sangha started in March of 2011 as Nagado Buddhist Sangha. Reverend Shingaku initially chose the name “Nagado” for the sangha based on a dream about a naga. Naga is the Sanskrit term for a Buddhist deity commonly represented as a dragon or serpent and often associated with water. As we began to consider “Naga” as the sangha name, we also examined any Japanese versions of the word since we are a Japanese school of Buddhism. “Naga” is part of the Japanese word 流れ、 pronounced nagare and meaning stream, flow, or current. This is significant because starting off on the Buddhist path is often called “entering the stream.” The idea of the current or stream suggests a flowing or washing away that resembles the gradual washing away of ego that happens in Buddhist practice. The “do” in our original name literally translates into “way” or “path.”
In addition to the symbolic implications, the word “nagado” also suited our sangha’s physical location. Springfield is located on the banks of the Connecticut River, and the city has several smaller rivers and ponds scattered throughout. These waterways (especially the CT River) played an important role in the city’s early growth and have helped shape Springfield into the city it is today. Both the Japanese translation of naga in nagare and the Sanskrit naga are linked with water literally and thus capture the physical geography of Springfield.
Over time we noticed that many people missed the symbolism and inspiration in our original name because it was in Japanese. When we filed paperwork to officially incorporate in the state of Massachusetts, we decided to use an English version of our name. In English, our name can serve as a reminder that we are traveling the “path with no goal.” A winding path is a reminder to have patience in this journey and to be fully aware in the present moment.
Winding Path Temple 流道寺
For our first several years, Winding Path Sangha met in a basement room at Christ Church Cathedral. We also had a brief stint in an office space in an auto mall in Enfield, CT. After years of looking for a suitable dedicated space for the sangha, Reverends Shingaku and Ryushin toured the house on 36 Marengo Park and instantly felt that the large living room and study would make a perfect hondo. They were able to purchase the house in 2018 to provide a permanent meeting space for the sangha.
Our sangha is primarily led by Reverend Shingaku Jenny Henderson. Reverend Ryushin Nick Karapasas assists with sangha leadership. They are supported by our board of directors, sangha members, and two temple cats.
Winding Path Sangha is led by Reverend Shingaku Jenny Henderson, an ordained soryo (Tendai lineage priest). She began practicing Buddhism in 1999. She received doshu (temple assistant) ordination in 2002 and betsuin soryo ordination in 2006 from Ven Monshin Paul Naamon. She received soryo ordination from Ven. Kojitu Kobori in 2015. In addition to leading the Winding Path, Reverend Shingaku currently serves as an Assembly Director for the Tendai Buddhist Institute.
Outside of her role leading the Winding Path community, Reverend Shingaku works full time as a high school teacher at a local school.
Reverend Shingaku is originally from California and has lived in Western MA since 1993 and in Springfield, MA since 2009.
Reverend Ryushin Nick Karapasas is an ordained soryo and assists at the Sangha when possible. Ryushin received doshu ordination in 1998 and betsuin soryo ordination in 2003 from Ven. Monshin Paul Naamon, and in 2010 he again received soryo ordination from Ven. Komori Shukei.
Before his involvement with Winding Path Sangha, Ryushin led a sangha in Buffalo, NY for a number of years. He currently works as a chiropractic physician, running an office in CT. Ryushin was initially led to Tendai through his practice of Bujinkan, and he still practices this when he has time.
Kage and Freckles
Kage and Freckles are the temple cats. They usually stay upstairs during sangha events, but we occasionally let them out to say hello if no one with a cat allergy is here. Every now and then Kage can be heard meowing loudly in the distance during meditation periods–we think she is looking for her Buddha nature.