Dear Tassajara Guest,
Finally the rain has started to fall here in Tassajara. The ground is covered in golden leaves. This time of year may seem far removed from the warmth and dryness of the summer, but we know that soon you will be walking through this valley again. We hope by then to welcome you through the new temple gate, keeping a centuries-old tradition of acknowledging the journeys of all who enter a Zen practice space.
We are grateful that Paul Discoe, a student of Suzuki Roshi and the original builder of the gate, kitchen, zendo, and kaisando, is designing and building the new gate for Tassajara.
We have also been meeting with local groups here in Monterey County about protecting Tassajara from another forest fire. We appreciate the many people who have supported our efforts and wish us well. As our discussion has evolved, we all agree it is essential for us to have internal systems and protocols in place before another fire comes our way.
The temporary sprinkler systems put up in both the 1977 Marble Cone Fire and the 2008 Basin Fire almost certainly saved Tassajara from destruction. That sprinkler system we called Dharma Rain. Now we are in the process of designing, fundraising for and beginning to build a permanent Dharma Rain. We hope that it too will be complete, or almost so, by the time you return next summer.
The opportunity to share Tassajara with you continues to open our hearts. Guest season takes the calm that develops during six months of monastic practice and turns it into compassion, bringing us much more in touch with the many ways we are connected with each other.
We look forward to seeing you. Leslie James
Abiding Teacher, Tassajara Zen Mountain Center