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 in 2016 at Green Gulch. During an earlier stay, she was recorded for this Audiograph segment on the sounds of the temple.
Having returned to the northeast, after short stays in Massachusetts and Virginia, Catherine has settled again in Pittsburgh, where she leads a small sitting group in the Greenfield neighborhood. (For further information please email liberationheart @ gmail.)
In recent years, Catherine has spent time with various sanghas in the northeast, practicing with Chuck Hotchkiss at oldpondmind zendo in North Truro, Massachusetts, giving two series at the Insight Meditation Circle in Harwich, visiting Empty Hand Zen Center in New Rochelle, New York, for two weeks of teaching and leading practice, and Zen Center North Shore, in Beverly, Massachusetts, where she has offered dharma talks and led Writing As A Wisdom project retreats. In 2013 for six months, Catherine served as Ino at the Brooklyn Zen Center, also offering two eight-week classes there, one on the Four Noble Truths and one on the Four Foundations of Mindfulnesss. During her time at BZC she also led 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. During her third visit, her 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.