Aging Mindfully at Enso Village

Date Posted: 05.20.2020

Tricycle: The Buddhist Review

About 15 years ago, the San Francisco Zen Center (SFZC) made a commitment to provide lifetime room and board to longtime teachers once they turned 70. That aspirational vision drove the creation of Enso Village, the first Zen-inspired senior living community in the western United States.

Enso Village’s spiritual director Susan O’Connell recently spoke with Tricycle magazine about this motivation and the development vision. Studies indicate that the practice of mindfulness can positively impact both cognitive abilities and emotional well-being in aging adults. With the increasing number of Americans over 65 and expanding interest in mindfulness nationwide, it’s hoped that Enso Village may offer a new model to meet the needs of seniors.

When complete in 2023, the 16-acre community in Healdsburg, California will include 221 independent living apartments (20 of which will be reserved for Zen Center teachers) as well as 30 assisted-care units and 24 memory-care units. The $170 million development will offer meditation and dharma talks alongside vegetarian meals inspired by the award-winning Greens Restaurant started by SFZC in 1979.

Additional community amenities include a zendo (meditation hall), community room/theater, a 130-seat farm-to-table restaurant with teaching kitchen, classroom, wellness center and a tea room. Outdoor program areas include community organic farming and gardens, a meditation garden, outdoor dining courtyard, bocce courtyard, walking trails, orchards, rain gardens and water features.

Mithun is leading the design of Enso Village (architecture and landscape architecture) in association with HKIT, executive architect, and Gates and Associates, executive landscape architect. Forrest Perkins is interior designer.

Read the full article, “Aging Mindfully,” in the summer issue of Tricycle: The Buddhist Review.