Green Gulch Zen Center: Short and Long Term Goals
International Travel Programs
Medium Term: 10 years
As a future project Green Gulch can implement a global expatriate program where the men, women, families, children, and wide spectrum of visitors can travel to for either short or long term programs to the countries of India, China, and Japan. These three regions specifically were original sites for Zen and Buddhist practitioners. Individuals will have the choice and opportunity to visit with a local Buddhist monk or practitioner of some sort. Visitors of Green Gulch who decide to participate in the program will receive first hand accounts of indigenous cultures and the people who maintain and preserve a collective way of life, Zen Buddhism. These Zen travelers will have the opportunity to be paired with individuals in these three sites. In order to create an enriching experience families and/or individuals, prior to departing, will be required to fill out a detailed pre-survey questionnaire in order to better pair them to similar individuals in the host country. Lastly those who participate in this global program will be recommended to live in a monastery and have a designated “host” family look after them.
This project will take a lot of work and planning to get it off of the ground. In the first five years, relationships need to be established with host countries since this project relies on ongoing international relationships. The next five years will consist of maintaining the previously established relationships and actually having participants travel and stay in the host countries. If the program proves to be successful in the long term (25 years), it can be extended globally and not only focusing on the countries where Buddhism originated.
On-site Museum Installation
This would involve establishing a museum collection on site, for visitors to view. Collections could be rotated by seasons: in summer, perhaps there would be a collection of photographs taken when the Zen Center was opened – along with stories from those who were involved in transforming the Wheelwright Farm into the Green Gulch Zen Center. Potential projects might be a community-made documentary with photographs and videos, as well as recorded audio from those involved. Another possible installation would be the pre-1940 history of the area: the Miwok people’s history in the area, as well as the history of land use as a Spanish ranch. Finally, an installation about the history of Zen Buddhism would attract a number of different audiences.
Instead of repurposing one of the existing buildings at Green Gulch, we prepose the construction of a new building. In line with the value of sustainability, Green Gulch may make use of new sustainable building materials and techniques. This project would also allow for residents and visitors of Green Gulch to get involved. With the planning and supervision of a few skilled project managers, anyone who wants to be involved in the construction of the new building may do so, much like in instance of Habitat for Humanity. The first five years of this project would include researching new sustainable building techniques and materials to ascertain which would work best for the site, as well as the planning and fundraising that is necessary to make this idea a reality. The second five years would include the actual organizing of the exhibits themselves, such as obtaining materials and creating a cohesive narrative that aids in their display. The newly constructed building may also accommodate the future nature center (see below).
Establishing a nature center on site – perhaps further past the farms, to encourage visitors to hike and explore the property and to provide a destination between the Zen Center and Muir Beach. The Nature Center would serve as a liaison between the Zen Center and the National Park Service, in coordinating projects to conserve the wildlife that calls Green Gulch home. This would be a great place for children and families – as the nature center would provide “nature guides” which illustrate and describe the various indigenous plants and animals in the surrounding area. Donations to the nature center would not only help fund projects such as creek bed restoration (a project designed to improve the survival chances of coho salmon in the area), but also bring financial support to the Zen Center, which currently funds conservation projects.
The nature center, much like the museum, will need a space to live. This project is on the ten year plan for that reason With the proper planning a building can be commissioned to accommodate both the nature center and museum. After the building has been constructed the nature center itself may be organized.
Long Term: 25 years
We plan to create a digital archive of historical documents, photographs, video and lecture materials for Green Gulch Zen Center. Available online, this archive would serve to reach a number of different audiences; students and scholars might be interested in accessing the digital texts and lectures; out-of-town visitors might want to get a sense of the place before traveling to visit it; prospective guests would have access to resources such as the “Day in the Life of a Monk” program – which would be detailed in the archive. Additionally, children and families interested in participating in the proposed school curriculum would be able to find information and testimonials from past participants. This archive would be readily available to visitors online.