Banyen History, Archives, Stories

(This vault of Banyen/community  history will be fleshed out in the future with images, stories, memories, and more.)

(The writing below was offered around 1992, when Banyen's first website was being born.)

In the Beginning was Form and Void on the face of the Deep, and psychic energies liberated by poetry, psychedelics, lightshows at the Afterthought on Fourth Avenue, beachcombing at Long Beach, learning to meditate, picking fruit, cooking at logging camps, being on the road and on the street... losing family identity and finding cosmic familyhood, awakening to the spirit...
 
4th Avenue, Vancouver, 1972The Golden Lotus Restaurant and Natural Food Store on Fourth Avenue at Bayswater was a hothouse for spiritual seekers, new vegetarians and spaced-out hippies grounding through good work. Banyen was born in a tiny book corner of the Golden Lotus. That lovely place was a connection to India, meditation and spiritual growth from 1967 to 1970. As its sun set, what was to become the Naam restaurant, Lifestream, Woodlands, Nature's Path, and Banyen Books arose.
 
After visiting the newly-opened Shambhala Booksellers in Berkeley in 1969-and spending three solid days there; and after going to India (as a student of the great meditation master Kirpal Singh), and asking everyone I met what were the greatest books they'd ever read, and making notes, combing bookstores, libraries and my friends' brains for a year, I was ready to make the leap, at age 21, into visionary entrepreneurship.
 
So, with some Whole Earth Catalogs, I Chings and other books left over from the Golden Lotus; with $1500 from selling half of its natural foods (which became the Naam); and with a loan of $2000 on the strength of my mother's will, I journeyed to Berkeley to Bookpeople, a cooperative hip wholesaler that had just opened, and I picked out five boxes of books to begin Banyen Books. (Bookpeople was our largest and best supplier for thirty years… until their demise in 2003.)
 
With the publication of Be Here Now (at the venerable price of $3.33!) in the spring of 1971, a renaissance of spiritual reading and practice began. It was like a Touch of Sun, and all of us seeds began to sprout. What was sprouting then is now giving shade, fruit, flowers, and new seeds to new generations.
 
Since 1970 Banyen Books has been in five locations:

Banyen Books, 1970-73
2739 West 4th Avenue (1970 to 1973)

Banyen Books, 1973-80
2715 West 4th Avenue (1973 to 1980)

Banyen Books, 1980-87
2685 West Broadway (1980 to 1987)

Banyen Books, 1987-2003
2671 West Broadway (1987 to 2003)

Banyen Books, 2003-present
3608 West 4th Avenue (2003 to the present)

 
Thus have we heard. Long may the Good Medicine bring us health, friendliness, and may we live in compassionate community with all beings. May our Wounds be healed into Resources for our unique Creativities! May all Beings come to respect the Tender Web of Creation, and live in good relation with our Great Nature.