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Spirit Rock Meditation Center


Abstract

Offering residential and nonresidential meditation retreats, Spirit Rock Meditation Center sits on a four hundred-acre plot of land in the San Geronimo Valley, north of San Francisco. A great deal of the land surrounding the Center is privately owned, sparsely populated, and largely undeveloped. Based on its vision of serving as a “living mandala,” Spirit Rock Meditation Center has continued to expand the ideals of “right relationship” and “service” to include all Earth-beings. Building on ancient Buddhist traditions from Southeast Asia, teachings and practices at Spirit Rock incorporate ecological appreciation and land stewardship in various ways. Gratitude for the land is expressed through attentiveness to practice and a meditation of loving kindness. Ecological awareness is cultivated through outdoor walking meditations and pilgrimages, while dharma teachings include the plants, animals, and topographical features of the wider land community. The ideals of simplicity and low-impact living are borne out in the Center’s commitment to vegetarianism, hermitage principles, and ecologically sensitive land development, use, and management.

Religion

Buddhism

Geographic Location

United States of America
(Marin County, California)
Duration of Project Mid-1980s–Present
History As a result of growing interest in Vipassana meditation in the United States (US) in the 1970s and the establishment of Insight Meditation centers in Boulder, Colorado and Barre, Massachusetts, a group of Californian practitioners founded the West coast based Spirit Rock Meditation Center in the San Geronimo Valley in 1986. The land was largely undeveloped when purchased, and building the Center has been a gradual process, requiring fundraising, careful planning, negotiations with local groups and regulatory agencies, and ongoing labor efforts. In 1990, trailers were brought in to serve as temporary meditation and office space areas, and in 1995 a dining hall was constructed. The following year Spirit Rock received official approval of a design plan for various residence structures, a meditation hall, parking facilities, a Council House, and a hermitage. Expansion efforts currently under consideration require careful planning and focus on impact monitoring reports and additional habitat assessment projects.
Mission Statement

Spirit Rock Meditation Center is a spiritual education and training institution whose purpose is to:

· Bring people to a depth of realization of the Buddha’s path of liberation through direct experience.

· Provide the community of practitioners with inspiration and teachings to integrate and manifest wisdom and compassion in all aspects of their lives, for the benefit of all beings.

We achieve this purpose primarily by providing silent meditation retreats, and also through classes, trainings, and Dharma study opportunities for new and experienced students from diverse backgrounds. Our programs are grounded in the essence of the Buddha’s teachings in the Pali discourses.

Partner Organizations San Geronimo Valley Planning Group
Long-Term Goals To carry out design and development plans in an ecologically responsible fashion in order to establish Spirit Rock as a residential retreat center that fosters interconnectedness through retreats, right relationship, hermitage, daily life practice, service, and study.
Bibliography Kaza, Stephanie. “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, 219–48. Cambridge, Mass.: Center for the Study of World Religions, 1997. Distributed by Harvard University Press.
Additional Research Resources Spirit Rock Meditation Center Newsletter
Contact Information Spirit Rock Meditation Center
P. O. Box 169
Woodacre, CA 94973
Ph:       415.488.0164
Fax:     415.488.0170