J. Estanislao Lopez

There are days I think beauty has been exhausted but then I read about the New York subway cars that, dumped into the ocean, have become synthetic reefs. Coral gilds the stanchions, feathered with dim Atlantic light. Fish glisten, darting from a window into the sea grass that bends around them like green flames— this […]


‘As for what is called magnanimous mind, this mind is like the great mountains or like the great ocean; it is not biased or contentious mind. Carrying half a pound, do not take it lightly; lifting forty pounds should not seem heavy. Although drawn by the voices of spring, do not wander over spring meadows; […]

When Preferences Are Cast Aside

To founder in dislike and like is nothing but the mind’s disease – Hsin Hsin Ming If I had a dollar for every time I heard, while I was at Tassajara, a guest proclaiming that the creek was cold – either as a reason for not going in the water, or as a reaction to […]

Losing Another Friend

While I was at Tassajara, news came through of Jordan’s decline. He had been battling cancer for a while, and had given a number of dharma talks on the subject. Recently, he had been given the all-clear, as he discussed in his most recent talk. And then it came back with a vengeance – he […]

What I think about when I am running

I thought about going for a run when I arrived at Tassajara on Memorial Day, but it was already in the eighties when we got out of the car, and relaxing seemed like a better idea. During my first week I was happy hiking and doing a lot more yoga than usual; having been feeling […]

Becoming Butterflies

When I am co-leading retreats at Tassajara, I feel that most of my job is to be the Tassajara translator – not just of the forms and guidelines, but also about the experience of living here, especially as summer guests are often curious about monastic life in the winter. I am rather embarrassed to realise […]

Back From The Mountains

I came back from Tassajara at the end of last week with the usual assortment of scratches, cuts, insect bites and the remnants of some poison oak rash – and a deep sense of well-being and goodwill towards all beings. The latter didn’t seem to translate too well in the city when I was going […]