25th Anniversary

June 1988

The Vermont Zen Center is established in what would have been the upstairs master bedroom of the Graef house. The Center consists of a zendo which can seat 12 or so people. The dokusan waiting line is the hallway outside the zendo. The dokusan “room” is an area in the living room between the couch and wood stove.

Our first ceremony is Bodhidharma Day in October. Our first two Introduction to Zen workshops are held, one in October and one in December. The photo is after our first chanting service—two members and two daughters.

First Sesshin


First Sesshin of the Vermont Zen Center was held in May: five days at the summer camp of the Wright family on Lake Dunmore. 15 people attended, 12 full time. From left: Bob Rice, Jim Kahle, Dave Tisdell, Eric Neil, Randy Baker (monitor), Felicia Messuri, Kathy Clarke, David Meltzer, Carroll Lepper, Earl Lepper, Silvia San Miguel.

Gradually, a Sangha begins to form in Vermont.

Temple Night


The Zen Center continues to grow. Several members travel to Costa Rica to attend sesshins, strengthening the ties between the two Sanghas. There is increased attendance at ceremonies and sittings.

Our first Vesak elephant is born.

We begin to think about the possibility of purchasing a house for the Zen Center.

Roshi Philip Kapleau 1975


480 Thomas Road. As  more people come to the Center, it becomes clear that we need a larger space, especially for sesshins. We receive a super-generous anonymous donation which enables us to make a down payment on a house.

After searching for a year, a house is found down the road from our zendo—a spec house built on the slab of the former town garage. There was one tree on the almost 5-acre property. Other than that, no landscaping at all.

Roshi Philip Kapleau 1975


Renovations and Dedication. We move in and begin renovations, giving us a new zendo which seats 21 (it felt enormous!), three bedrooms, 4 bathrooms, and a kitchen.

May 3: Dedication of the new Vermont Zen Center (photo show Roshi Philip Kapleau at the Dedication Ceremony talking to Bill Silverman with Casey Frank in the background). This year saw our first sesshins in the new Zen Center, including the first work sesshin to begin landscaping.

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