Greatwoods Zen Community

A serene retreat and mindfulness community nestled in nature, promoting inclusivity and healing.

Greatwoods Zen Community, located in Charlotte, North Carolina, is a mindfulness community and retreat center dedicated to fostering harmony, compassion, and engaged mindfulness practice. This community is situated on a 28-acre forest, adjacent to a 200-acre state preserve, offering a tranquil environment for meditation, mindfulness practices, and connecting with nature. The origins of Greatwoods Zen trace back over 40 years when Roger Grosswald began acquiring forest land with the vision of creating meditation gardens and a mindfulness community that could benefit future generations. This vision came closer to realization in 2018 when Grosswald partnered with David Viafora, who had been organizing retreats in New Hampshire, to establish a mindfulness residential community and retreat center to serve the greater Charlotte area. In 2023, Viafora moved to Charlotte to join forces with Grosswald, and they were later joined by Nick Neild, further solidifying the foundation of the Greatwoods Zen Center​​.

Greatwoods Zen Community is committed to diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging, aspiring to be a refuge for all people. It actively engages in anti-racism work, white awareness training, and supports BIPOC empowered initiatives, ensuring accessibility and inclusivity for LGBTQIA+ and gender diverse individuals. The community offers a range of programs, including days of mindfulness, retreats, and mindful walking, alongside teachings on engaged mindfulness, group sharing, and connection​​.

Adjacent to the Zen community lies the GreatWoods Temple Gardens, a private Japanese Stroll Garden and Permaculture forest. This garden encompasses trails, bridges, a lake, and streams, fostering a restful and immersive natural experience. GreatWoods Temple Gardens is an extension of the Zen community’s ethos, welcoming all who are dedicated to peace, tolerance, and respect for all beings. It offers opportunities for meditation, yoga, forest bathing, and permaculture learning, aiming to be a space where visitors can relax, engage in walking meditation, and connect with the natural world​​.

Together, Greatwoods Zen Community and GreatWoods Temple Gardens represent a unique blend of mindfulness practice, community living, and environmental stewardship, providing a sanctuary for those seeking peace, healing, and a deeper connection with nature.

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