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Buddhadharma : Winter 2009
buddhadharma: the practitioner’s quarterly winter 2 0 09 54 infrastructure. We’re being asked to put in a wastewater treat- ment plant that would serve a small town, and, like Zen Cen- ter, we’re using these necessary upgrades as an opportunity to look at a long-term site plan. We’re trying to figure out where we think we’re going to be in twenty years, and how we are going to be able to do that in an environmentally sensitive way. Our remoteness, which is a great benefit from the point of view of doing retreat, creates challenges for every system you can think of, from phone and electricity to water, waste, and transportation. We’ve had to put off a capital campaign, but we’re going ahead with the planning stages. It’s a very interesting time, because we need to look at the immediate present because of the difficult economy, but we also can’t stop looking at the future. It’s a challenge balancing the resources we put to pres- ent concerns with those we apply to long-range planning. evan Kavanagh: Over all, we’re planning to expand our retreat center and add teacher and staff housing. We also want to add a long-term practice facility like the Forest Refuge at IMS, and enhance our community center facilities for our day and weekend programs. In our lower campus, where we hold our popular Monday night class and daylong programs, we have six trailers stapled together to make one big meditation hall, and also a couple of trailers for offices. We’re talking about getting rid of all the trailers and building real buildings. We also want to ensure that we’re in right rela- tionship with the environment. So even though we have approvals to build on a stream bed, we’re not going to do that. We’re going to return the site to its original condition. year, because earned income from our accumulated donations will be down. So we’ve taken some steps in advance. We froze all of our staff salaries and cut out any discretionary spending. We only buy what is essential. We are going to have to both spend less and raise more on an ongoing basis in 2010 to keep our heads above water. Buddhadharma: Where do your long-term plans for building, development, and programming stand at this point? SuSan O’COnnell: Plans are good, but it really lifts people’s spirits when they see movement on things like better hous- ing and improved retreat space. It’s also inspiring to people that we continue to walk the talk in terms of the environ- ment. We want to be environmental exemplars even more than we already are by virtue of our organic farming and other practices. We did a master planning process for Green Gulch, which resulted in a seventy-five-year goal. We cannot expand the number of people who can stay overnight by much—it’s a very sensitive watershed—but we can make it more accom- modating. Also, most of the buildings at Green Gulch are in the creek bed, so we’re going to move and alter them to let the creek go where it wants to go instead of fighting it. We’re going to build a dining room facility out on the main lawn and release the creek, and eventu- ally, if we get the permissions, we’re going to allow the creek to go under the zendo. It will transform Green Gulch. We’re doing similar master plans for Tassajara and the City Center. JOn BarBieri: In the last ten years, we added two lodges for accommodation and two decent- sized program spaces. Now, as a result of all of this growth, we need to completely redo our The meditation hall at Spirit Rock’s Retreat Center in Woodacre, California (bottom)elizabethvigeon;(top)jillshepherd(bottom)elizabethvigeon;(top)vincehorn