The Sanctuary is Built!

As the Buddha, the World Honored One, was walking with the congregation, he pointed to the ground with his finger and said, “This is a good spot to build a sanctuary.” Indra, emperor of the gods, took a blade of grass, stuck it in the ground, and said, “The sanctuary is built.” The World Honored One smiled. (Book of Serenity Case 4)

 Planting a Blade of Grass (small)

Oh that it could be so easy to build a home for practice! But there are principles from the time of the Buddha that still hold true today: when there is a committed group of practitioners, a devotion to making a place of practice, and a good place at hand, a sanctuary can be built.

We are happy to announce that with the support of many hands, we have successfully purchased the building! We are deeply grateful to everyone who contributed!

Stone Creek is now in its twentieth year, and in that time it has grown from a small, dedicated group in a backyard zendo to a thriving, community-based Zen center. Our most recent phase of growth has involved members at all levels of the community participating in and supporting a creative and successful leadership succession. Our founding teacher has been joined by two younger teachers who are now the head priests. This transition and expansion of leadership has been accompanied by growth in membership, attendance, and programs, while maintaining the strong core of Zen practice and spirit of the founding community.

From the beginning Stone Creek has had a dedicated space for practice, which has been enormously helpful for stabilizing and deepening practice. After outgrowing its original home, the sangha has rented commercial properties for the past eight years. The next step, as significant as a dedicated space, is one that belongs to the community, a permanent home for Stone Creek. A unique opportunity has presented itself: the possibility of purchasing the building we are now renting. We have already invested so much in this place: in time, energy, labor, materials, and most importantly in our practice there together. Having a permanent home for Stone Creek would allow us to:

– to have long term stability, both in place and financially

– to interface more and invest more deeply in the local neighborhood, the West County community, and throughout Sonoma county

– to develop the grounds and gardens to be a reflection of our practice, and as a resource for anyone seeking a place of quiet and peace

– to support and expand the programming we offer: meditation, talks, retreats, intensive training, yoga, programs for families and for people of service, community outreach

– to develop programs in new areas: for people in recovery, retreats for veterans, meditation instruction in Spanish, and trainings on grief and dying, among others

– to have the capacity to expand our building to accommodate more people using the center

– to define ourselves as a sangha more clearly, with a home base from which to reach out

Owning a permanent home will allow us to push out our horizons as a group and expand our imagination in what we are and what we have to offer, and to invest even more fully in making Stone Creek a place that reflects our practice intention to offer a place of refuge for all beings.

In our twentieth year, we are ready to build on the nurturing roots we have laid, deepen them and continue our legacy of growth into the future. We hope you can be a part of helping us bring this vision into reality.

On June 11, 2017 we had a Blessing and Dedication Ceremony to celebrate the purchase of the building and the 20th anniversary of Stone Creek Zen Center. We made offerings, circumambulated around and through the building, sprinkling water and scattering flowers, recited the Heart Sutra and made dharma statements.

The dedication of the ceremony:

We have gathered to honor the 20th anniversary of Stone Creek Zen Center, to bless this land, and to dedicate this place to awakening.
We have offered incense and flowers and chanted the Great Perfect Wisdom Heart Sutra.
May the gate of zazen always be open here. May practice and realization set-down deep roots.
We dedicate our practice to the well-being of our planet Earth and all her creatures.
We aim to turn the dharma wheel unceasingly and to free the world from every tragedy of strife and hatred.
We wholeheartedly aspire to peace among people, harmony among all nations, and the flourishing of true dharma.
May the merit of this extend universally, So that all living beings together realize the buddha way.

Soto Zen in Sonoma County