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. “Finding Stillness in the Midst of the Hurly Burly” and “Faith As Practice and Vow” are talks Catherine gave while in residence. During an earlier stay, she was recorded for this Audiograph segment on the sounds of Green Gulch.
Having returned to the northeast, Catherine now begins an autumn stay in Montague, Massachusetts, and will be visiting Zen Center North Shore in Beverly before settling again in Pittsburgh.
Catherine has visited other sanghas in the northeast in recent years, practicing with Chuck Hotchkiss at oldpondmind zendo in North Truro, Massachusetts, giving two series of talks at the Insight Meditation Circle in Harwich, and visiting Empty Hand Zen Center in New Rochelle, New York, for two weeks of teaching and leading practice. In 2013 she served as Ino at the Brooklyn Zen Center for six months, and offered there two eight-week classes, in the Four Noble Truths and the Four Foundations of Mindfulnesss. During her time at BZC she also led two Writing As a Wisdom Project retreats.
In 2010, 2012, and 2015, Catherine made 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. She recently returned from her third visit, where her talks focused on the koan story Ling’s Question. Here is one of those talks, given 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.
Catherine Gammon is a Soto Zen priest in the lineage of Shunryu Suzuki Roshi, ordained in 2005 by Tenshin Reb Anderson. Catherine 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.