May 20, 2024
Gate Opening Ceremony

Photo by Brent Haas


Gate Opening Ceremony at Tassajara

On April 30, 2024, Tassajara marked the beginning of the summer guest season with a traditional Gate Opening Ceremony. A heartfelt service was officiated by the temple’s Director, Rev. Heather Iarusso, while Rev. Catherine Spaeth, the Head of Guest Services, and Rev. Lorenzo Garbo, SFZC’s Director of Hospitality, ceremoniously unlocked the wooden gate and opened its doors. Guiding Teacher Leslie James was present, along with many students who will practice and support Tassajara this summer.

The gate will remain open throughout the summer as a symbol of the open hearts that will welcome Dharma teachers, guests, and members of many sanghas in the Suzuki Roshi lineage.

During the opening ceremony, Tassajara Director Heather Iarusso read the following statement:

Open or closed, the gate does not consider itself a gate. Nor does it distinguish between being opened or being closed. It doesn’t get caught by such distinctions.
Neither should we.

Tassajara Director Heather Iarusso delivering a statement at the ceremony.

For the sky is always open; the earth is never closed.
Fire has no boundaries; water always flows. 

With the start of the guest season, we have the great, good fortune of welcoming our Dharma sisters and brothers into this valley where sycamores, squirrels, and sparrows bring forth the teaching of the Dharma for all beings.

Where True Eternity flows through all the bodhisattvas who have entered and exited this gate, and through those standing here now.

When challenging times arise this summer—and trust me they will—let’s remember that we are here practicing The Way through studying the self. This Way is not separate from the rush of the creek, the shimmer of the stars, or the beat of our hearts. Whether the gate is opened or closed, it’s impossible to shut out Buddha Nature.