Green Gulch Zen Center: Cultural Heritage Significance
The Green Gulch Zen Center encompasses a vast array of tangible and intangible sources of heritage. For example, the Zen Center practices organic farming of vegetables and fruits, which is a tangible source in the physicality of the farming equipment and raised beds. It also displays an example of intangible in the community building and environmental appreciation produced from the gardening process. Also, the educational learning of gardening and agriculture falls into intangible. The meditation practice also functions as intangible and tangible. The meditation rooms with blankets to kneel on and traditional clothing are tangible. The spirituality and teacher-student relationships are intangible. In addition, the tea served in the teahouse as well as the traditional teapots, cups are tangible. The ritualistic aspects of the tea ceremony are intangible. The books sold in the bookstore are tangible, while the group discussions after lectures are intangible because they create development of community knowledge. The cookbooks and written recipes are tangible. Yet, the activity of cooking and experiencing food together is intangible and creates food education and experience.
Green Gulch follows the management blueprint designed by the original founders of San Francisco Zen Center. Both practicing monks and visiting resident students communally live in the space. Two cultures merge in the site: Western culture based on local agriculture and Japanese culture focusing on spirituality and aesthetics. The intangible heritage has become very important to preserve as originally developed by Suzuki Roshi, founder of San Francisco Zen Center.
Green Gulch produces spirituality by the use of its landscape and tradition. Green Gulch is not only a spiritual site for Buddhists but also open in many ways to public usage. Aesthetic values such as the atmosphere of solitude created by the Zen Center fosters spiritual values or just gives individuals a quiet place to think. Some visitors come solely seeking a place where they can seek generic spirituality. Green Gulch provides residents and visitors a place to meditate, alone or part of the community. Green Gulch also provides a rural and costal environment for individuals that enjoy the outdoors. Hikers and cyclists frequently take advantage of the land set aside by the Zen Center and the Nature Conservancy.