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August 19, 2016


A Letter from SFZC President Susan O’Connell

As a result of the fire, Tassajara guest season will not reopen this summer. “Fire has been and will continue to be a part of the life of Tassajara,” writes Susan O’Connell. “She is a great teacher of the practice of impermanence.”

Avalokiteshvara in the Tassajara zendo. Photo: Greg Fain

Dear Sangha:

We very much appreciate your patience and kind wishes over the last weeks as Tassajara worked hard to prepare the valley for the potential threat of fire.

We heard yesterday that the fire is on the move again, and may reach Tassajara within the next week. For that reason, and because of the ongoing smoky conditions, we have decided not to reopen the Tassajara guest season. We are disappointed that our guests, who had made reservations to come to Tassajara, have had to cancel their plans. However, we made this decision for the safety and well-being of both our students and our guests. These smoky conditions are unlikely to change in the coming weeks.

While we do have business interruption insurance, we are projecting a potential loss of revenue. If you’d like to make a donation to Tassajara, please visit here. (In the comments section, please note that your donation is for Tassajara.)

Our Guest Reservations Office are calling those of you who have a reservation starting with bookings after 8/22. You will receive a complete refund of any deposits you paid in advance. However, check refunds will take us up to 30 days to process. If you would consider donating part or all of your deposit, we would greatly appreciate it.

Everyone at Tassajara continues to be calm and focused in the face of the fire. The community sits zazen together every day as usual. Tassajara has been commended by professional firefighting experts on our thorough preparations to meet the fire, as well as our firefighting equipment, and the professional training of our fire crew. The Fire Operations Chief has also let us know they intend to come to support our crew should the fire come to Tassajara.

We feel great appreciation for the donor support that allowed us to install our sprinkler system, nicknamed Dharma Rain, on all the main buildings at Tassajara.

Fire has been and will continue to be a part of the life of Tassajara. She is a great teacher of the practice of impermanence.

We all practice in one way or another with the changing circumstances of our lives. We offer our compassion to those who have lost homes or who have been affected by the many fires in the state of California. We also want to express our deep gratitude to our thousands of firefighters who work so hard to protect us.

With deep bows from all of us,

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8 Comments Post a comment
  1. Judith Gilbert
    Aug 19 2016

    Is any help needed before the fire hits, to spell residents or to pack up guest season?

    Sangha members who’ve been through previous fires know how much cleaning is needed later.

    At any rate, if you want to hold a long work period, or need people this week, please send out how to participate.

    • Sangha News editor
      Aug 20 2016

      Thank you for the offer of help, Judy, and the reminder that so many people hold Tassajara in their hearts. We’ll be letting people know soon how to best support us in the clean-up and recovery efforts.

  2. Louise Curbishley
    Aug 22 2016

    I keep checking your website to see how things are, you are coping so very well. I realise that the advancing fire is a stark reminder of impermanence but I hope and pray that you all stay safe and well. With much love Lou

  3. dave
    Aug 22 2016

    Deep gratitude for those who have kept this monster fire at bay
    by the page, it’s within 2 miles of the Center. I will keep thoughts for you at this troubling time, knowing that you have prepared to the best of your experiences being in the mountains.

    • Sangha News editor
      Aug 22 2016

      Hi Dave,
      Thank you for your good wishes. It seems to still be seven miles away from Tassajara at this point.

  4. Aug 25 2016

    Hope everyone stays safe and well through this teaching moment.
    Longtime visitor
    Kady Hoffman

  5. Lawrence Kasparowitz
    Aug 25 2016

    Please keep us informed about work period. I had intended to go to help close the center and would like to help in any way possible.


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  1. Threatened by fire, Tassajara Zen Mountain Center cancels guest season, seeks funds to cover "devastating" losses - Lion's Roar

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