A New Residential Lay Practice Community in Santa Barbara

By Betty van Nood A winding road, lined with orange, purple and yellow flowers, leads you to a quiet place graced with cypress, eucalyptus, oak and pine trees, along with numerous flowers and cactus. The song of birds and the sound of water cascading in the Maria Ignacio creek welcome you. You have arrived at Clear View, on Painted Cave Road, fifteen minutes from Santa Barbara, California

On May 25, 2001 the property was purchased to be the residence for the Clear View residential lay community, based on the five mindfulness trainings and the teaching of Thich Nhat Hanh. The community is inspired by and grateful for the vision of Thay, informed by the example and practice of the monastic community, and supported by the energy of the Still Water Sangha of Santa Barbara. After more than two years of visioning, searching and meeting, Larry Ward, Peggy Rowe, Chris Dawkins and her two daughters (S iena and Chiara), Betty van Nood and Adrian Stier bought eleven acres with a house and a guest house. Barbara Casey and Robert Sorrell joined the community in Jul y.

As a branch of the Santa Barbara Mindfulness Community, we are in the process of continuing to clarify and formulate the principles and guidelines that will support our practice of mindful and joyful living together. Each family unit has some private space. Communall y, we will share the kitchen, dining area, living room, zendo and the beautiful land that borders the Los Padres National Forest.

We hope to create a place of refuge, not only for ourselves, but also for the sangha at large, as we practice together. We are now transforming some of the existing structures and will pursue building new structures, including: a community zendo, space for guests and living quarters for others who want to join the community. We hope to be ab le to host mindfulness days soon and to start the creation of a community garden to be enjoyed by all.

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We are in the beginning stages of our community life. Soon we will have a Website on which we will share information about our activities and opportunities for participation as guests, residents, investors, friends and supporters. In the mean time, as we unpack boxes and organize the kitchen, the blooming mimosa tree and the morning bird songs remind us that the larger Sangha supports us all.

Belly van Nood, True Force of Peace, lives at the Clear View residential lay community in Santa Barbara.

Photo courtesy of Santa Barbara Sangha

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