On behalf of everyone in the Zen Center sangha, I would like to express our deep and heartfelt appreciation to the five Zen monks who saved Tassajara, forever to be known as the “Tassajara Five.” Your spontaneous and personal decision to turn back toward the fire in the face of evacuation orders will live on as a decisive moment of courage, clarity and truth for all of us to witness and learn from, and for future generations to be inspired by. A deep bow to each of you.
I would also like to express our sincere gratitude to each and every person in the Zen Center sangha. During this time of crisis, all around us we have seen Zen students from Tassajara, Green Gulch Farm, and City Center, as well as members of the wider sangha, pulling together to support each other with their cool minds, ready bodies and strong practice. I myself have witnessed and heard many stories of people responding with great care and kindness; each person in their own way, standing up courageously to do whatever is necessary in the face of a very challenging situation.
Lastly, I would like to express my thanks to everyone who has so thoughtfully sent in notes and emails wishing for the safety and well-being of the Zen Center community and Tassajara, and in particular, those of you who have responded so generously with donations. I also want to acknowledge and thank the many people who have shared various perspectives and contributed to a lively discussion on the Sitting with Fire blog.
We are sincerely grateful to everyone for their support during this time of uncertainty.
I hope that while you view these amazing pictures and contemplate the current state of Tassajara that you will consider doing whatever you can to support Tassajara and the Zen Center at this time.
(7/17/2008, 7:15 AM PDT)
Here are some photos of some of the people who helped to prepare Tassajara in the days preceding the fire. These include the Fenner Canyon Inmate Strike Teams, Indiana crew and, of course, the residents of Tassajara. Some of Tassajara residents who left in the first wave of resident evacautions are not pictured here. And there are many who directly supported Tassajara, such as fire crews and captains that visited Tassajara, the air support, the fire commanders and all of the people who support and continue to support Tassajara from afar. We are grateful for everyone's efforts. (Click to enlarge any of these images)