Tassajara Zen Mountain Center, the most remote and oldest Zen monastery in the United States, will open its guest season, from May 1 through September 14, 2014. Zen and meditation seekers, yoga lovers, artisan foodies, and everyday people looking to unplug and rejuvenate are invited to experience the serene environment at Tassajara, which is located 25 miles southeast of Big Sur, Calif.
Tassajara offers a special opportunity for the general public to recharge, relax, and reconnect with themselves. Visitors soak in the hot springs, meander along the trails, savor Tassajara’s celebrated vegetarian cuisine, stay in beautiful accommodations, participate in zazen (meditation), and enjoy the eclectic retreats offered by some of today’s most celebrated teachers. Tassajara invites visitors to explore the variety of ways that Zen and other complementary practices can inform and enrich one’s life. For seven months of the year, Tassajara is closed to the general public for private Zen practice.
Shunryu Suzuki Roshi (Founder of San Francisco Zen Center, Author of the seminal Buddhist book, Zen Mind, Beginner’s Mind) founded SFZC in 1962, and established Tassajara as the first Zen training monastery outside of Japan in 1967. Roshi searched for a mountain temple similar to the monasteries in Japan and China, and was able to purchase Tassajara through the support of the Zen community, friends, and patrons. Today, Tassajara is internationally recognized as the most remote Zen center in the United States and beckons as a top destination for Buddhist practitioners and vacationers alike. Tassajara has come to host celebrity guests, from Apple founder Steve Jobs and California Governor Jerry Brown to Joan Baez, and vacationers alike for more than 47 years. Tassajara is known for its widely popular hot springs, acclaimed vegetarian cuisine and celebrated artisan bread baking book, The Tassajara Bread Book, by Ed Brown.
Nestled in a mountain valley, inland from the Big Sur coast in a remote part of the Ventana Wilderness, Tassajara has been long known as a place for self-discovery, healing and an escape from the stresses of everyday life. Only accessible by 4-wheel drive vehicles via a 14-mile dirt road, Tassajara is an eco-efficient paradise garnering 100% of its energy from solar panels and the local hot springs. The hot springs have proven to be a main attraction of the Monterey/Salinas area following the native Esselen people’s discovery of the springs in the 1870’s; generations of settlers and visitors have come ever since seeking renewal and tranquility.
For the forthcoming 2014 guest season, Tassajara utilizes its new eco-retreat center that was designed with the highest standards in green development, by architect Helen Degenhardt (JSW/D Architects; the retreat center was completed in 2012); all retreats will be held in the retreat center. The Tassajara Program Schedule 2014 offers disciplinary retreats in the following six specialty areas, all led by some of today’s leading teachers: Body and Mind, Mindful Living, Creative Expression, Engaging Earth, Spiritual Practice, and Zen Study & Practice.
Standout retreat leaders for the 2014 guest season will include Jimmie Dale Gilmore (Singer-Songwriter, Actor), Zoketsu Norman Fischer (Poet, Author, Zen Buddhist Priest), Jane Hirshfield (Internationally Renowned Poet), Dale Kent (Author, Tassajara: Dinner and Desserts), Naomi Shihab Nye (Published Poet), Andrew Mellen (Author, More Love, Less Stuff), Marc Lesser (Google Meditation Workshops, CEO of Search Inside Yourself Leadership Institute), Sessei Meg Levie (Google Meditation Workshops, Zen Buddhist Priest and Life Coach), Zenshin Florence Caplow & Reigetsu Susan Moon (Authors, The Hidden Lamp: Stories from 25 Centuries of Awakened Women), Janet Stone (Celebrity Vinyasa Yoga Instructor), Donald Moyer (Founding Director, The Yoga Room, Berkeley, CA), and many others.
A wide variety of retreats are scheduled for the upcoming 2014 Guest Season can be viewed on the San Francisco Zen Center website. More information can also be seen on Tassajara Zen Mountain Center’s Facebook page.
Photos Courtesy of Tassajara Zen Mountain Center
Carrie Coolidge is a Pursuitist contributor based in Manhattan. From 2009 to 2011, Carrie served as Co-Editor of Luxist, the luxury lifestyle website at AOL where she ran the Luxist Awards, a program that honored the very best in fine living. From 1996 to 2009, Carrie was a Staff Writer at Forbes magazine, where she covered real estate, personal finance and the insurance industry, among other areas. Carrie is also the author of six books, including "The Business of America is Business". Follow her on Twitter: @carriecoolidge