Welcome back to Green Gulch Farm’s modern agricultural expression.
I can’t help but notice how the orientation of this online presence manifests in perfect accord with the life of the temple where it arises: it floods into life during the growing season & falls still & silent in the winter months as we tend toward the ritual & study of the self as articulated by the gently fierce Zen flavor of our founder, Shunryu Suzuki Roshi.
In a small beautiful book I just received, entitled Remembering The Dragon, there are many recollections of Suzuki Roshi by his American students, as well as short teaching quotes by the master himself.
“In its wide sense, everything is teachings us:
the color of the mountain, the sound of the river,
or the sound of a motorcar. Each one is
a teaching of Buddha.”
I can attest in some small way to the clarity of this truth. No matter what you may conceive of as ‘Buddha’, there is a world of animate & inanimate that is teaching all the time. No exceptions.
It’s good to remember this when you are emptying 10 gallons of hydraulic fluid from a tractor after reading about tar sands oil trains 111 cars long derailing all over the country. It’s good for me to remember that the purity I perceive in the surroundings I’m privileged to dwell in are in direct relationship to the most violent, polluting, confused things I can imagine. Our devout vegetables grow in muddy waters.
That being said, our growing season has officially begun!
9 wonderful apprentices have come from as far away as Peru & Mexico, as well as different states in the union to create an organic farming family for 6 months. They are bright & shining individuals with rich lives behind them & the smiling golden eternity in front of them. It is truly a blessing to tend the land with these sincere people who come to Green Dragon Temple to practice dharma, live simple lives in community & dedicate their waking energies to sowing seeds & harvesting wholesome food. What an immeasurable gift.
We look forward to growing together as humans, as well as bringing forth abundance from the earth in as balanced & ethical a way as possible. In so doing, we will open the gates of the farm to any & all who come: school groups from San Rafael, Richmond, San Francisco, Oakland & Berkeley; college groups, hikers, bikers, horseriders; couples on dates, old folks on pilgrimage, the boy who has been obsessed with our small orange tractor since before he could walk. We’ll also grow vegetable starts & share them widely with good projects: school & neighborhood gardens, non-profits, interfaith groups. We donate food to the homeless community of San Rafael & the Food Bank of Marin which distributes it to those in need of affordable, healthy produce. Weddings & memorials are held in the garden, young people in the coming of age program have sleep-overs & take dawn walks to the beach. There is so much.
In welcoming the new apprentices in an opening ceremony I spoke spontaneously, but the night before I had written this:
Welcome to each of you unique expressions of reality!
Beings with your whole lives manifest
in your hands, shoulders, hips & feet.
You have come to sit & tend the land.
You have come to ask the deep questions
& practice patience with the answers
& non-answers that arise.
The green gate swings open.
Spring visits us, we anticipate
summer & can only imagine
the effulgence of joy
& grief that lies ahead.
May we open to the elements,
to one another,
to the teachings
of Shakyamuni Buddha,
to the insights of physical labor,
to the gratitude of time & space.
May we acquiesce to
unbounded good fortune.