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,