The San Francisco Zen Center will be hosting a discussion between Senior Dharma Teacher Tenshin Reb Anderson and experimental performance artist Laurie Anderson. The talk will focus on art, life, Zen, and Green Gulch Farm’s Hope Cottage. The event will take place on Thursday, March 15, at the Throckmorton Theater.
This event is being in held in celebration of the Zen Center’s 50th year as a seminal, non-profit organization. Started in 1962 by Shunryu Suzuki Roshi, author of Zen Mind, Beginner’s Mind, the Zen Center has grown to become one of the biggest Buddhist communities outside of Asia.
Proceeds from the event will go toward reparations for Green Gulch Farm’s Hope Cottage. Vice President of the San Francisco Zen Center Susan O’Connell says of Hope Cottage, “It’s place of refuge. A lot of writers go there, like Laurie Andersen, to write. And a lot of marriage proposals happen there. It’s very romantic and beautiful and it’s connected to Green Gulch, but you can also be on your own and apart. It’s pretty unique.”
Reb Anderson and Laurie Anderson met at Green Gulch in the ‘80’s, and they look forward to speaking together in front of a public audience to celebrate the Zen Center’s 50th anniversary and to help raise money for Hope Cottage.
The last 50 years have been full of innovation for the Zen Center. For starters, they opened the first upscale vegetarian restaurant, Greens Restaurant. O’Connell points out, “The food comes out of the Zen practice and all the chefs have been Zen trained. We serve food that’s all organic.” The center also began the Zen Hospice Project, and they have an organic farm apprentice program out at Green Gulch, which uniquely combines the practice of meditation with organic farming.
O’Connell sees a bright future for the Zen Center and its members and says, “We are celebrating our 50th year so there’s a lot of upcoming events. We are reaching out to alumni and to new members. We are doing a capital campaign, so we’ve been raising money for awhile, and we’re about ready to go into the public phase of the campaign. We are also working on developing a senior living community that has that same kind of compassionate care that the Zen Hospice does.”