Linda was Linda Lupo when she came to Zen Center. For many years she was married to Bill Lane. And for the last 25 years she's been Linda Wong. She creates lovely works of art. Look below for an example.
From a couple of emails that Linda sent in 2021
I came to Zen Center in the summer 1971. Knocked on the door of Zen Center with just my backpack and a sleeping bag. I was told a sesshin was going on and couldn't stay in the building. So they put me in a car with Silas and Kathy Hoadley and their daughter Amber and shipped me off to Tassajara. I had never really even sat zazen that much before. Then I came back to Sf and moved into the building. In December of that year, I sat my first City Center sesshin. That was the sesshin that Suzuki Roshi died. What a sesshin. I didn't know what was going on really. What an incredible first introduction to Zen and Zen Center.
So how did I find Zen Center? I had graduated from college and taken a number of classes about Eastern religions. I started to read about Zen. I was living in New Hampshire and visited a few Zen Centers around the area but didn't feel connected to any of them. Then I was reading a book called "Joy". I don't remember anything about it except that there was a footnote in it about Suzuki Roshi and the SF Zen Center. I wrote a letter to ZC asking for more information. They sent me a brochure that Richard Baker had written titled "An Unconditioned Response to a Conditioned World" with a photo of the building of the Tassajara kitchen on the cover. That was it for me. I bought a plane ticket and was on my way. I found out later that Richard's brochure was meant to be a fund raising brochure but it brought as many students to Zen Center than it did donations.
When I got back from my first summer at Tassajara, I moved into 290 Page Street. Darlene and Tony and Layla Smith were all living there. At the time you had to spend a few months living in the neighborhood before you could move into the building. You needed to prove you were serious about Zen and could maintain a meditation schedule on your own. So I did that and moved into 300 Page Street after a few months. In one of my first dokusans with Richard Baker I told him that I planned to meditate for a few months, get enlightened and be on my way. He didn't laugh. He just told me it might take a little longer than that. Little did I know then that I would spend the next 15 years at Zen Center. Enlightened.....not sure about that.
When I moved into the building I was given a room that overlooked the beautiful Julia Morgan courtyard. I loved everything about the building. I think it was artistic bliss and it filled my soul. I loved zazen, chanting, full moon ceremonies, New Year celebrations on the roof, the Buddha hall, Richard Baker lectures and belonging to a sangha. One of my jobs was collecting all of the altar candles in the evening, melting them down and getting them ready for the altars for the next day. I can remember that smell even today.
Like many of the other women living in the building, I supported myself by cleaning houses. It was menial, mindless work and the schedule allowed us to fully follow the schedule in the building. We would pass on clients to one another. Sheila McCarthy and I would share clients. Many of the people we cleaned for loved the idea of Zen students cleaning their houses. Actually, I don't think I was a very good housecleaner and I think one client fired me when I just couldn't use a toothbrush to clean the tiles in her bathroom
My friends all started talking about when we would be able to go to Tassajara. (Tony, Darlene, Mike Jamvold, Eric Arnow, Alice and Richard Haspray to name a few) You had to have enough money to pay for at least two practice periods and then you could stay on for the summer. So, in addition to cleaning houses I worked extra hours at a small homecare facility sitting with older residents who needed to have someone with them all day long. I finally saved enough money and was ready to go to Tassajara. I would be going to Tassajara in the fall and Reb was to be the Shuso!
Tassajara Photos sent by Linda