Monday, May 9, 2011

Buddha's Birthday: Green Gulch Farm Edition

I posted previously about Buddha’s Birthday celebration at San Francisco Zen Center’s City Center. It was my first time seeing the pageantry and hearing the story of Buddha’s birth, my first time chanting the heart sutra, all together a good introduction for the celebration at Green Gulch Farm.

Green Gulch Farm is a very different place than the City Center, it's just over the hill from Mill Valley on CA 1, tucked into a valley above Muir Beach. It's wonderfully accessible from San Francisco and really feels like you are in a different world. Just walking onto the property always makes me feel more relaxed and in the moment.

Every sunday they have a public program, including Zazen, a Dharma Talk and tea, similar to the Saturday program at the City Center. On the first Sunday of the month there is a children's program, which i have been taking Lilly, my 6 year old daughter to for the past four months. The last few months they have been making duck masks and practicing for the duck dance in the Buddha's Birthday celebration which was this past Sunday, May 1st.

Quite by accident I got involved in the Pageant this year and signed up as the duck manager—you have to be careful who you offer to help carry art supplies back to their car, they might be looking for 'volunteers'—and got to experience the celebration from the other side, as compared to my experience as a spectator at City Center a few weeks before.

Rehearsal on Saturday was a lot of work, but it was also a great opportunity to meet some long time members of the community and enjoy Green Gulch on a beautiful sunny day. Being duck wrangler was a lot of fun, the kids where a real treat to hang out with and seeing a dozen of them looking up at you from behind little duck masks before you go on stage, well, it's hard to beat that.

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