BootsnAll Travel Network

Articles Tagged ‘Green Gulch’

More articles about ‘Green Gulch’
« Home

Two options down, one to go.

Thursday, August 9th, 2007

When I finished the dishwashing for today, at about 3 p.m., I staggered to my room and had a good cry. All I could do was huddle down in my sleeping bag (it’s freezing cold again) and sob. This was my summer vacation? No. It was my research project: I wanted to see what these Zen centers were like. Now I know. I wonder if Zen is like water–if it takes the shape of its container–and if these Zen centers in the USA have absorbed the puritan work ethic and the headlong drive toward productivity that is the USA. At its worst. [read on]

Green Gulch Day 3: Dishes, garden, sitting

Monday, August 6th, 2007

The first gong rings at 4:25 a.m., and we are to be in the large, silent, unheated Zendo by 4:52 a.m. We sit for forty minutes, walk for ten minutes, sit for forty minutes again. During the first forty-minute sit, there are frequent bells and gongs, no doubt to help us stay awake, and then after the second forty-minute sit, we have a “service” of chanting, gongs, drums, bowing, incense, bells. I am surrounded by people who may be very interesting, but I don’t get to know them. We work in silence, and the only time we can engage in social talk is at meals. People tend to sit with their own groups at meal times. There are about 50 residents. I would guess two-thirds are men, most of them under 35 or around 60. The women seem older on average: mostly 40 or over, with a sprinkle of strong young things. Of the 50 or so residents, nearly half are in robes, suggesting they’ve made strong commitments. According to the literature, this place was established in 1972, but I know I heard of it in 1969. I think at that time a group of Buddhists from San Francisco were going “back to the land” and starting a farm. Maybe it only became an actual institution in 1972. [read on]

Freezing my ass at Green Gulch

Sunday, August 5th, 2007

Good God, it’s cold. The weather report says it is 61 degrees F (16 C), but the wind is blowing, and there is heavy mist in the blowing wind. The wet wind seeps into my old bones and makes me creak. The electricity was out for hours today, and the only way I could get warm enough to stop shivering was to plunge my hands in scalding dishwater up to the elbows. Fortunately, there was a need for dishwashing, so I spent several hours that way today. But for all I could see, I might as well have been in Cleveland in the winter. I’ve been indoors all day. I tried to get out and take a walk, but I turned back after about fifty feet of walking against the wind and what the people here call “mist”–slanting sheets of ice cold water in the air. I always thought that was rain, but whatever. This community is much more “religious” than any I’ve ever been in. That has its pros and cons. [read on]