Recently several of us spent some time together at Green Gulch Farm near Sausalito
in California. On this page I will display photos of that trip so that others
might get a sense of what we got ourselves into. All of these initial photos
were taken by Dawn. I know there were more pictures taken and I hope to add
to the array later. The intent of this trip was to briefly immerse
ourselves in a meditation centred community, and thereby deepen our
personal meditation practice. On this trip we all followed the
regular monastic schedule of meditation and work in the mornings and
were free to do other things in the afternoons.
On this morning all of us had
been assigned to work in the garden area, providing an opportunity to
photograph all of us together. This part of the garden is an area
framed by a square yew-hedge with arboured entrances at the cardinal
points. We are standing in front of the north entrance.
Later in the season the entrance will support rose plants that climb
from both sides.
This is the guest house where
Joan and the rest of us stayed. This building was designed and
built by zen students from Green Gulch. It is largely hand
crafted and is held together with joinery rather than nails or other
conventional fasteners. It has held up remarkably well for about 25
Here is the entrance to the
meditation hall (zendo). It shows the densho bell along with more
mundane items such as lists and seating charts. This beautiful
Japanese temple bell forms part of the soundscape which marks the early
morning at Green Gulch.
This is part of the zendo
building called Cloud Hall. This is where very late comers to
meditation would sit and also where people waited who had scheduled an
interview with one of the teachers in the community. The doors
lead to rooms which now house zen students but which originally formed
the stalls for the prize bulls which were this building's original
The kitchen was one of the prime work locations. On the left Dawn
is standing with a Green Gulch resident and on the right she is
preparing to chop. Paulette, I think, was washing pots when the
centre shot was taken. Srima and Elaine also worked a lot in
the kitchen but so far I have no good shots.
Here we have a little bit of detail from in and around the zendo.
The seated figure is Manjusri, the Zen exemplar of discriminating
wisdom. The smaller figure which can be seen at the bottom of the
image is a seated Buddha. The lovely bowl is Chinese porcelain
with all the Zen patriarchs portrayed around. This bowl is full
of sifted wood ash (from the many wood burning stoves) which will hold
sticks of temple incense. To the right is the O-Bonsho, the large
temple bell which has it's own housing close to the zendo. This
temple bell produces a very deep, resonant sound which paces the early
Joan here is examining an
unusually shaped beehive. The honey which this hive produces comes
from the flowers in the garden and is especially sweet, dark and
flavourful. In the afternoons there
was plenty to do. Hiking was popular. Elaine and Dawn are
resting on a bench not too far from Muir Beach. Wayne and Srima and
Joan are waiting for a bus after an afternoon of consumer therapy in
Mill Valley. Below, Joan is looking down the valley toward Muir
Beach from Hope Cottage, to which she and Dawn had climbed. Hope
Cottage is the highest point. We were wonderfully
On our final day we are catching a few last rays waiting for the taxi
to come and begin the journey back to Victoria.