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Green Gulch Zen Center

Abstract

Located on the coast north of San Francisco and surrounded by protected lands belonging to the Golden Gate National Recreation Area, Mount Tamalpais State Park, and Marin County Water District, Green Gulch Zen Center is a residential Buddhist retreat center that combines spiritual practice with land stewardship. In addition to environmental awareness and education, Green Gulch is cultivating an ecological ethic of institutional responsibility. This ethic encompasses various kinds of practices (e.g., tree planting, composting, organic farming, organic gardening, water conservation, and waste recycling) and ritual celebrations (e.g., ceremonies of gratitude for the earth and its many gifts). In addition, traditional elements of Zen Buddhism, such as work-practice and an aesthetic of simplicity, help to foster ecologically sensitive attitudes and behaviors in a rural setting conducive to spiritual practice.

Religion

Buddhism

Geographic Location

United States of America
( Marin County, California)
Duration of Project 1972–Present
History

On the suggestion of Suzuki Roshi, Green Gulch Farm was purchased from a local rancher by the San Francisco Zen Center in 1972 for use as a rural retreat center or farm practice site. Students of the newly purchased farm, renamed the Green Dragon Temple, sought to restore and protect land that had suffered from various forms degradation. In an effort to restore the land, Zen Center residents designated twenty one acres to organic farming and gardening, reintroduced various native plant species, created a buffer zone of trees to protect the fields from the ocean winds, and transformed the barn and other farm buildings into a meditation hall and a retreat center. Suggestions for further restoration initiatives were made in a preliminary Green Gulch landscape ecology report in 1991. The Center has sponsored many events since 1975, including the annual Arbor Day tree planting. In the past decade, special classes, walks, lectures, and practice periods have been added to address a range of issues pertaining to natural history, land use, and the link between ecology and meditation practice.

Mission Statement None Listed
Partner Organizations San Francisco Zen Center
California Organic Farming Association
Golden Gate National Recreation Area

Various community farms and garden including:
The Hunter’s Point Jail Project
Schoolyard Garden in Berkeley, California
Long-Term Goals None Listed
Bibliography Stephanie Kaza, “American Buddhist Responses to the Land: Ecological Practice at Two West Coast Retreat Centers” in Buddhism and Ecology: The Interconnection of Dharma and Deeds, eds. Mary Evelyn Tucker and Duncan Ryuken Williams (Cambridge, Mass.: Center for the Study of World Religions; Harvard University Press, 1997) 219–48.
Additional Research Resources Consult bibliography in "American Buddhist Responses to the Land" article listed above.
Contact Information Green Gulch Farm Zen Center
1601 Shoreline Highway
Sausalito, CA 94965
Ph:       415.383.3134
Fax:      415.383.3128