Catherine trained at San Francisco Zen Center‘s Tassajara Zen Mountain Center and Green Gulch Farm Zen Center/Green Dragon Temple. She was ordained in 2005 by Tenshin Reb Anderson Roshi and served as Shuso at Green Dragon Temple in 2010. Since 2017 Catherine has led a small sitting group in Pittsburgh, Neighborhood Zen.
In Pittsburgh, Catherine is often a guest at Olmo Ling Tibetan Bon Temple, where in summer 2018 with Tempa Dukte Lama she co-led their first shared retreat on Dzogchen and Shikantaza.
Catherine was most recently in residence at Green Gulch Farm Zen Center from late December 2015 until mid August 2016. During her time there she led the year end retreat, gave two classes (Writing As A Wisdom Project, and “But I Have Eyes,” a study of the Heart Sutra), and served as Tenzo. After short stays in Massachusetts and Virginia, she returned to Pittsburgh to settle in early 2017.
“Finding Stillness in the Midst of the Hurly Burly” and “Faith As Practice and Vow” are talks Catherine gave in 2016 at Green Gulch. During an earlier stay, she was recorded for this Audiograph segment on the sounds of the temple.
In 2010, after completing a decade of full-time residence at SFZC, Catherine began spending time with various sanghas in the northeast and in the UK. In Massachusetts, Catherine practiced with Chuck Hotchkiss at oldpondmind zendo in North Truro and gave two series at the Insight Meditation Circle in Harwich. She continues to visit Zen Center North Shore in Beverly, offering dharma talks and leading Writing As A Wisdom project retreats. In New York, Catherine visited Empty Hand Zen Center in New Rochelle in 2015 for two weeks of teaching and leading practice, and for six months in 2013 served as Ino at Brooklyn Zen Center. At BZC she taught two eight-week classes, one on the Four Noble Truths and one on the Four Foundations of Mindfulnesss, and she led Writing As a Wisdom Project retreats, which she continues to offer there.
In 2010, 2012, 2014, and 2015, Catherine enjoyed wonderful long visits to the Dancing Mountains Sangha in the U.K. Here, and here, in two parts, is a talk she gave at the Dancing Mountains Rohatsu Sesshin in 2012. During her fourth visit, Catherine’s talks focused on the koan story Ling’s Question. Here is one of those talks, offered in the context of a Writing as a Wisdom Project retreat.
Writing as a Wisdom Project
A workshop/retreat for writers and Zen students is offered occasionally at various locations and Zen Centers. Further information can be found at Writing As A Wisdom Project.
In 2011 and 2012 Catherine joined with Pittsburgh-area practitioners from various Buddhist traditions to form the Stillworkers, a fellowship dedicated to bringing dharma practice into activity for social and environmental justice. The prison program begun at that time continues and is flourishing, and Catherine again practices with inmates at the Allegheny County Jail.
Catherine Gammon is a Soto Zen priest in the lineage of Shunryu Suzuki Roshi, ordained in 2005 by Tenshin Reb Anderson. She began formal practice with Stillpoint Zen Community in Pittsburgh in 1997 and received precepts as a layperson from Rev. Shohaku Okumura in 1998. She was in residential training at San Francisco Zen Center from 2000 to 2010, and served as Shuso, or head monk, for the Spring 2010 practice period at Green Dragon Temple/Green Gulch Farm. She has returned to Green Gulch for various periods of residence since that time. Before leaving Pittsburgh to begin residential training, Catherine taught creative writing in the Master of Fine Arts program of the University of Pittsburgh. Her novel Sorrow, published in 2013 by Braddock Avenue Books, was a finalist for the Northern California Book Award. Her novel Isabel Out of the Rain was published in 1991 by Mercury House. Her shorter fiction has appeared in many literary journals. In 2012 she published Beauty and the Beast: Stories from the 1970s.