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Buddhadharma : Winter 2009
59 winter 2 00 9 buddhadharma: the practitioner’s quarterly there to support it. The entrepreneurial model remains for us and it lines up well with our idea of work as practice, but times have changed so we’re interested in developing what we’re calling a culture of philanthropy. Donors will tell you if you’re doing what they think helps the world, so it’s actually a good feedback mechanism. It keeps us in touch with what people need. Over all, it will be impor- tant for Zen in America to be seen as being of use in such a way that people will want to donate. BOB agOglia: One of the visions we have is creating a place where we can bring the ordained sangha to both teach and practice. The Forest Refuge has become a place where Asian masters visit for various lengths of time. In terms of the future of dharma in the West, we need to make sure that we can maintain and even strengthen connections with the ordained sangha from the East, and to provide a center where they can pass on the teachings. The other big aspiration, as I mentioned earlier, is that people can afford to come here and sit. The motivation to practice is so precious, so rare, that we want to make sure nothing stands in its way. JOn BarBieri: We feel that the notion of coming to a retreat center to refresh one’s connection to practice is not going to diminish in importance, despite people’s lack of time and money. Offering that reconnection and a sense of community will always be at the heart of what we do. Over all, I would say we are willing to explore and dis- cover what makes sense, what maintains the integrity of the meditative tradition. We’ll learn which ones fit into a strong contemplative environment, which ones we’re not going to be working with, and which ones can be beneficial for all con- cerned. When people come to a program here, whatever their motivation, they can discover the strength of the container we’ve cultivated, and that may be our essential offering to the world. (topleft)marchamel;(centerpage)elizabethvigeon(top)jenniferyee;(bottom)jodeneeikenberry spirit rock Spirit Rock Meditation Center evolved out of a sitting group in the Vipassana tradition that began in 1974 in the Bay Area. Spirit Rock sits on 410 acres acquired in 1987, in the meadows and hills of Marin County, about a 45-minute drive from San Francisco. Spirit Rock consists of a lower campus, with a medita- tion hall that can hold about 400 people for classes and daylong events, and a residential retreat center up the hill that opened in 1998 and accommodates 90 participants. The lower campus serves as a local center for students of the instructors on the Spirit Rock teachers council, which include Jack Kornfield, Sylvia Boorstein, James Baraz, Phillip Moffitt, and other well-known teachers. Last year, more than 30,000 people took part in daylong programs and events, and 4,500 people registered for events at the residential retreat center. Spirit Rock has a current budget of $4 million, a staff of 50, and volunteers numbering as many as 500 in a year.