Message Boards Message Boards

Retreat Centers

Buddhist communes?

Buddhist communes?
4/16/16 8:00 PM
Are there any non-cult communes/institutions, anyone has heard of, where people can live, work and get the opportunity to practice a great deal with relatively like minded people. I'm looking for somewhere pretty much as rigorous as a good monastery but...well, not a monastery. I've had lots of experience in monastic settings but wouldn't feel comfortable becoming a monk. Do such places exist? Realy appreciate any suggestions.
Thanks. Guy

RE: Buddhist communes?
4/16/16 9:35 PM as a reply to Guy.
Hi Guy,

You might try San Francisco Zen Center:

The practice lineage is Soto Zen, with the founder being Shunryu Suzuki.

They have three sites:

City Center: located in San Francisco itself, on Bush Street. The building is a former single Jewish woman's residence from the early part of the 20th century designed by Julia Child Morgan.

Green Gulch Farm: located along Highway One in Marin County north of San Francisco on the other side of the Golden Gate. Green Gulch is an organic farm (actually one of the first in the nation, established in the early '70s) that uses the French biodynamic method.

Tassajara Zen Mountain Center: located in Los Padres National Wilderness Area about 20 miles as the crow flies southeast of Carmel, south of San Francisco about a 3-4 hour drive. Tassajara is open to the public in summer (roughly beginning of May through Labor Day) and functions as a training center during the winter. It has a Japanese style hot spring, pool, and lots of places to go hiking.

All the centers maintain a daily meditation schedule, with periodic 7 day Zen retreats. I'm most familiar with Tassajara because my wife and I go there almost every summer. In the summer, the schedule is more relaxed, and lots of students show up to take care of the guests. While there are residents who wear robes, have shaved heads, and have taken priest (tokudo) vows, there are plenty of folks who have only taken lay vows or none at all, especially at Tassajara in the summer. Residents rotate through the centers, but typically try to stay at one for a couple years.

My wife and I have practiced with folks in the Suzuki Roshi linage, and have visited all three centers and done retreats at Green Gulch. If you like Zen practice (and many folks don't for various reasons), it is a wonderful place to spend some time.

4/18/16 8:20 AM as a reply to svmonk.
Thanks for the information, svmonk. Realy appreciated! I shall look into them.

RE: Buddhist communes?
4/18/16 12:14 PM as a reply to Guy.
Also, along much looser lines, you can be a resident at Jikoji (also Soto Zen founded by Kobun Roshi), in the mountains on the edge of Silicon Valley. It's something like $65 a day to be a resident - you have to pitch in with chores and suchlike. Morning and evening Zazen, weekend programs and the full suite of sesshin retreats, etc.

Amazing beautiful place. Good people.