find out about our related sites, and also get a little background on the monastery
Welcome to the monastery.
We are located in California, and have members throughout the United States, as well as international followers. Our Order is small, and founded on the notion that you can be a monk or nun in everyday life, devoted to those things you hold sacred.
A new form of monasticism
The monastery is open to anyone — including whether you are religious, an agnostic or an atheist — because we practice an inclusive style of spirituality based on universal truths and universal principles.
The monastery is a singularly unique representation of the emerging monastic model called The New Monasticism. While the basis of our founding the monastery was not New Monasticism (which is based in Christian thought and tradition) it may help provide some intellectual framework for gaining an understanding to our approach, which is focused on everyday life integration.
The monastery was founded in 2012, as the Monastery of Nothingness. In late 2017 we changed our name to The Little Creek Monastery. While the monastery’s name has changed, the names of our Orders remain intact.
We have three Orders: The Monastic Congregation, The Order of Nothingness and The Order of Consciousness.
The Little Creek name
We like to think of ourselves as everyday life vagabonds, wanderers, seekers and philosophers. The kind of people who just might find themselves a quiet creek somewhere, plop down and soak some bare feet. In addition, our lineage descends from Great River Jiu Jitsu, so we perceive our monastery as a quiet tributary off the main river, an entirely suitable retreat for everyday monks and nuns. And finally, in the Norfolk/Virginia Beach area the Navy has a base called the Little Creek Amphibious Base. Our founder was in a Boy Scout troop sponsored by the base.
Diato-ryu, founded 780–1200, reformed c. 1888
Hakka-ryu, founded 1941
American Kobe, founded 1975
Chokken Shin-ryu, (unknown)
Great River, founded 1991
Little Creek Monastery, founded 2012
The main emphasis of the monastery is our writing. To keep up with our writings, please follow us at A Monastery for Everday Life and Leisure, where most of our essays are published.
Our writings focus on practical philosophical and experiential essays, including supporting insights from the martial arts, consciousness research and similar studies.
Our meditative practices focus on deepening our individual and collective consciousness and awareness.
Our daily practices focus on developing mindful, intentional balance in our daily life, in the life around us, in our situations and encounters, and in the environments in which we find ourselves.
Publications and Sites
- The Little Creek Monastery — our website
- The Little Creek Monastery — our home site on Medium.
- A Monastery for Everyday Life and Leisure — the main place we publish.
- The Dude-Jitsu School of Self Defense — Dudeism is the world’s slowest growing religion. Dude-Jitsu is about slowing things down to the speed of relax. This aspect of our monastery provides modest support for 450,000 Dudeist priests worldwide.
- River Mushin — a publication of poems, koans and fables written or collected by our barefoot monks.
- The Library of Little Creek — many of our writing collections end up here.
- The Archives of Little Creek — somewhere a little deeper in the catacombs for our scribes to file things.
- The Center for Eternal Awareness — introduction to the teachings of Great River Institute, a place for deeper or more advanced studies.
- The Monastery Forum — discussion forum (in development)
If you would like to write for or contribute to the monastery, please let us know.
The monastery’s main focus
Over the centuries, monasteries have often served as scribes, people who would copy and preserve important documents and sacred texts, as well as serve as guardians of esoteric truths. In addition, many monasteries have traditionally served as a quiet, isolated place for prayer, meditation and deeper studies in consciousness.
Monasteries view themselves as serving humanity.
Our monastery both about preserving and about creating work that contributes, in our own modest ways, to discussions in consciousness, awareness, and the path of the student or initiate. Since monasteries include organizing and preserving work, you may want to check out this small essay.
Our focus is also related to the manner in which we use the term ‘monastery.’ We are fond of saying that “the monastery is in each of us.” In that sense, we hope that the monastery is able to contribute, in some small way, to the opening of individual and collective monasteries all over the world.
NOTE: The Little Creek Monastery is quite possibly Jiu Jitsu’s first monastery ever devoted to the art and, more specifically, to its everyday life cross-applications. If it is not the first, it’s likely the only one currently in existence. We also believe it is the first monastery serving the religion of Dudeism.
From time to time we have hosted master teachings. Scott Walter, Sensei, is the founder of Great River Institute, located in the Blue Ridge mountains of southwest Virginia. He is a Shihan in the martial arts of Jiu Jitsu. His representative work is used here with permission. The monastery founded The Center for Eternal Awareness in 2009, to share a sampling of his teachings. Mark Walter, founder of the monastery, is the brother of Scott Walter.
The monastery figuratively models itself on the Komusō monk.
These zen monks were poor, itinerant beggars. They wore basket-like hats over their heads, implying the losing of the ego and the obscureness of that which is hidden.
They were also known for playing solo pieces on the shakuhachi (a type of Japanese bamboo flute). These pieces, called honkyoku (“original pieces”), were played during a meditative practice called suizen, for alms, as a method of attaining enlightenment, and as a healing modality. — Wikipedia
Life as a contemporary Komusō
We see ourselves as the invisible, behind-the-scenes monks and nuns of everyday life, characteristically with little to no recognition. We fit in, so to speak. And, similar to the traditional poor beggar monks, it should not be surprising if we find ourselves living the kinds of lives which tend to be obscure and ignored. This is the nature of the Komusō way of life.
Komusō monks and nuns strive to improve the world in quiet but effective ways that lie within their modest abilities.
The root derivations of the word Komusō is highly appropriate to one of our Orders:
- 虚無僧 (komusō) means “priest of nothingness” or “monk of emptiness”
- 虚無 (kyomu or komu) means “nothingness, emptiness”
- 虚 (kyo or ko) means “nothing, empty, false”
- 無 (mu) means “nothing, without”
- 僧 (sō) means “priest, monk”
Relaxing and taking it a bit slower
Nothingness is not about being lazy, although it’s always important to save yourself some time to relax and hang out. It’s more like this: whenever you are doing something in your life, anything really, make sure you have some Nothingness sprinkled in — you know, to kind of offset all the I’m-really-Somethingness going on in the world.
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Copyrighted ©, 2005–2019, The Little Creek Monastery. Our first blog was published on April 29, 2005. The Little Creek Monastery was formally established on July 4, 2012.