Tassajara is one of three practice communities that comprise the San Francisco Zen Center, which also includes City Center in San Francisco and Green Gulch Farm in Marin. Tassajara is nestled in a mountain valley, inland from the Big Sur coast in a remote part of the Ventana Wilderness and is dedicated to Zen Center’s mission, which is “to embody, express, and make accessible the wisdom and compassion of the Buddha.”
In 1967, Tassajara was established as the first Zen training monastery outside of Japan, and offers monastic training periods during the fall and winter months. Each year from May to September, Tassajara, or Zenshinji (Zen Heart-Mind Temple), as it is known formally, opens its gates to students and guests alike for the summer guest season.
WelcomeDear Tassajara Guests,
From the bridge at Tassajara, this moment is punctuated by blossoming trees and phenomenal beauty as the 99th Tassajara Practice Period unfolds. This year is the 50th anniversary of Tassajara and includes the 99th and 100th practice periods. So in this special moment, it feels right to acknowledge that thousands of Zen students have passed through these summers and "found out how to know their own way" (Suzuki Roshi).
In anticipation of the 50th anniversary, I'm reflecting on how the decision to have a summer guest season was inspired by Anna Beck. Anna and her husband sold us this property and in discussions with Suzuki Roshi, Anna impressed upon him the importance of keeping this refuge available to summer guests. The summer guest season has turned out to be both a wonderful opportunity for the students to practice and for guests to be inspired by the quiet beauty of Tassajara.
In the summer of 2016, Tassajara was threatened for the 75 days of the Soberanes Wildfire. The guest season was closed while 30 well-trained Fire Monks worked alongside CalFire and the National Forest Service to protect Tassajara. In the end, the Sobranes Fire was stopped just two miles from Tassajara. The valley remains beautiful, and the whole Big Sur Coast has entered a period of profound renewal.
It is my real pleasure to welcome everyone to share our practice in this inspiring valley. We are so grateful for the vital support the summer guest season provides the San Francisco Zen Center community.
Rinso Ed Sattizahn
Abiding Abbot, SFZC City Center
Tassajara is located approximately two hours by car southeast of Carmel, California, in the Ventana Wilderness Area. The only vehicle access to Tassajara is via a 14-mile dirt road.