Currently Browsing: Things worth traveling for

Living at Green Gulch Zen Center for a month

I can’t believe how fortunate I am to have been practicing Zen at Green Gulch Zen Center since 1984. This year I left the cold January of New York to spend three weeks at Green Gulch outside of San Francisco for the January 2015 Intensive led by Tenshin Reb Anderson. We spent most of our time in silence with much zazen – meditation sitting.

I lived in the authentic style Japanese tea house with tatami mats, shoji screens, and fusuma. On occasion I walked to Muir Beach, just a 45 minute hike away. Here are some visual  impressions of my immediate environment.

I felt at home – like these last two phrases from Dogen’s Zazen Shin :

“Clear water all the way to the bottom,
A fish swims like fish.

Vast sky transparent throughout,
A bird flys like birds.”

A spritz party

The Tivoli Garden Tour came to visit my garden and tea house. Instead of making everyone tea I hosted a Veneziano Spritz “ceremony”.

Ice bucket, silver tray with wine glasses, Perrier, Aperol and Prosecco. Someone added ice to the glasses, I poured the Prosecco with a good splash of Aperol (made from Orange and Rhubarb) and then a dash of Perrier. Kampai everyone!

DSC00549-smTo describe how I feel about my tea house and garden I read this poem by Wang Wei (699-759)

From my middle years I have been drawn to the Buddha;

Late in life, I built a cottage at the foot of South Mountain.

When the feeling comes, I walk there alone;

Wonderousness vainly known to me alone.

Walking I reach where the waters well forth;

Sitting, I watch the moment clouds arise.

I chance to meet an old woodcutter,

And our words and laughter know no hour of return.


Things worth seeing




I find it strange that Sei Shonagon doesn’t  have a list for favorite foods in her Pillow Book. Certainly food is a compelling topic. But for her, ink or paper or the color of one’s dress is more noteworthy.  She does list “Things worth seeing”.

Certainly the food in Japan would fit. The sweets, bento boxes and kaiseki meals are all visually amazing besides being incredibly delicious. I haven’t stopped longing for Kyoto Udon.

I will add Japanese food to my own list of  “Things worth traveling for” or “Things about Japan that one longs for”.

Here are slides of  some of the great food I had in Japan when I was last there. I notice that I use the word “best” over and over again when describing the photos. Every meal was the best. Every place we went was the best. Over and over again.