An essay series describing my life at a remote mountain Zen temple in Northern California and the set of circumstances that brought me there.



Last June, I found myself cold-calling a man named John, the guest manager at the Zen temple. John's the cynical comedian type and he spent the majority of our conversation warning me not to come. "A Zen temple's not for everybody, you know?" I insisted that I would be just fine. I was not sure if I believed myself. 

The temple's perched on top of the Santa Cruz Mountains and surrounded by 1800 acres of open space reserve land, 45 minutes above the hustle of Silicon Valley. (The founder of the temple, Kobun, was the former Zen master of Steve Jobs.)

Four Zen masters and eight laypeople live at the temple. To say it's an eclectic mix would be an understatement. One used to be homeless, one is the handler of Koko the typing gorilla, another works at Google X. All of them practice Zen everyday on top of that mountain.

I stayed at the temple for three and a half months. This is my story of what happened.



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