Tuesday, June 12, 2012

News Articles

We’ve made the news! The following links will take you to recent stories.

6/4/12. Press Democrat letter to the Editor: A rural factory (please write to your paper of choice, keep this issue alive)

6/7/12. Berkeleyside Newspaper: Retreat center’s expansion plans provoke concern  ( A well researched article on the Sonoma County issues and larger Nyingma Buddhist Community)

6/7/12. KQED News Story

6/7/12. Press Democrat: Retreat center’s expansion plans provoke concern

6/7/12. Press Democrat: Buddhist printing press wins OK to expand operations

6/8/12. Press Democrat: Seaview Ridge residents appeal Buddhist retreat's expansion OK


  1. I would like to comment on the tremendous amount of protest I have seen from the neighbors of Ratna Ling. I lived in Cazadero till I was 4, attended Horicon elementary school till 5th grade, and have family and close friends on Timber Cove Rd. and Bohan Dillon Rd.

    I was also a volunteer at Ratna Ling for 8 months. As both a community member and a supporter of Ratna Ling, I sincerely beg of you to really understand what it is you are protesting. Please talk to volunteers at Ratna Ling, make an appointment to visit the center, and please open your mind. Ratna Ling, and the Dharma press does NOT operate as a major corporation. Ratna Ling is an organization run by volunteers, even our fundraisers are volunteers who work hard to support the printing of the books, because this is a project they believe in with their hearts and minds.

    The books that are printed are ancient Buddhist texts. These teachings are extremely precious to the monks and lay people that receive them as gifts, free of charge each year at the world peace ceremony. These printing of these books takes, time, effort, and resources, but it is not done for profit. The books are printed to preserve Tibetan Buddhist Culture, to preserve a culture of awareness, positivity, openness, and wisdom. Please understand that Ratna Ling does not wish to threaten the local community in any way. With understanding, I hope you are able to see the positive impact that the Dharma press at Ratna Ling has on the world.

  2. Amanda's comment entirely misses the point of our protest. Coastal Hills Rural Preservation is not protesting the mission of printing Tibetan books. We are protesting a large printing operation in a remote, rural area.

    Amanda's argument repeats Ratna Ling and Dharma Press' attempts to justify a change in land use based on religious criteria. Sonoma County Land Use Regulations are based on quantifiable impacts such as the number of residents, type and square footage of structures, availability of water and septic, traffic, etc. not the land owner's or worker's beliefs, mission, organizational structure, for profit or non-profit status.

    The Resource and Rural Development (RRD) Zone, in which Ratna Ling Retreat Center has located its printing operation, is designated in the Sonoma County General Plan for land based uses - the protection, production and processing of local (specific to the area) resources, i.e. timber production, ranching, agriculture, recreation and low density housing. Dharma Press meets none of these land based use criteria. They truck in all raw materials and truck out all finished products, (90% of the books for shipment to India through the Port of Oakland).

    Dharma Press does not need to be at Ratna Ling Retreat Center in rural Sonoma County. For 30 years Dharma Press operated successfully in Berkeley, appropriately in an industrial building, in an industrial area of the city. The owner, Tibetan Nyingma Meditation Center, continues to own and operate out of several buildings in Berkeley. The decision to move Dharma Press was based on the Head Lama's desire to have the printing operation near his home at Odiyan Monastery on the remote, northern Sonoma Coast.

    Since obtaining a Use Permit in 2004, Dharma Press has expanded from one press run by 27 workers in a 18,750 square foot building (including book storage) to the present six presses run by up to 94 workers in a press building expanded to 20,000 square feet with 40,000 square feet of additional book storage, a printing operation in 2012 totaling 60,000 square feet.

    As a non-profit religious organization Ratna Ling and Dharma Press pays no taxes to off-set the impact of their industrial printing operation on Sonoma Coast, infrastructure, i.e. limited county maintained roads, fire, sheriff, school and emergency medical services. Sonoma County taxpayers bear these costs.

    Coastal Hills Rural Preservation is asking the Sonoma County Board of Supervisors to enforce their land use regulations and require Dharma Press to relocate to an appropriate industrial area.

    Coastal Hills Rural Preservation continues to support Ratna Ling Retreat Center as an appropriate recreational use of land in a Resource and Rural Development Zone.