You are here

Springing to Life Practice Period: The Teachings of the Garden & Grounds

How do you turn the self into mountains, rivers and the great earth? - Changsha

Spring at Great Vow Zen Monastery is beautiful. The fruit tree blossoms open towards the heavens, the forest is a buzz with new insects, birds and tree frogs all waking up from their winter slumber - as the sword ferns unfurl and daffodils, poppies, irises and tulips paint the world.

With the natural world springing to life with such exubrance and force, residency at the monastery inclines towards the out of doors. As we dedicate more of our daily practice to the care and maintenance of our garden and grounds.

The monastery is situated in a temperate rain forest, with 24 acres of forest, and a two acre vegetable garden. We maintain our forests with walking/running trails for residents and retreatants, as well as care for a number of small ornamental gardens throughout the monastery buildings. Our vegetable garden provides us with food all year round, and it is in the Spring when we begin the bulk of the planting for the Summer and Autumn crops (which is always our biggest harvest). We grow greens, potatoes, winter and summer squash, beans, peppers, tomatoes, herbs and lots of flowers - the vegetables will be part of our diet throughout the year.

Being with and caring for our natural world opens the heart and mind to its own natural clarity and compassion. This practice period is an experiential study as well as a healing immersion in the teachings of the natural world.