About us

Crestone Mountain Zen Center

A location that locates you

Spectacular Sunset at Crestone Mountain Zen Center
View the "Campus Gallery"

Zen Buddhism is a body of knowledge and techniques that traces its origin to the historical Buddha in India who lived some 2,500 years ago.The Buddha’s experience of enlightenment, release from suffering caused by the deeply held belief in a separate self, is the basis of Zen practice and teaching, which maintains that all human beings, in fact all sentient beings, are in their essential nature, free – “enlightened”. Human beings, because of attachment to the idea of self and its attendant greed, hatred, and delusion, suffer unnecessarily. Zen practice is how to realize this freedom and happiness that is our true nature.

In Zen, we assume that transformation and awakening are possible. We assume that it is possible to free ourselves from mental and emotional suffering. And we assume that it is possible to live beneficially. A Zen Practice Center ought to be a space that provides the conditions for this kind of realization. It ought to be a location that locates us: Within ourselves, within this world (our true body and our true home), and within the mystery of aliveness.

Some History

Zentatsu Baker Roshi dharma successor of Shunryu Suzuki Roshi standing next to a buddha statue in the atrium

About Zentatsu Baker Roshi

Zentatsu Richard Baker Roshi is the Dharma Successor of Shunryu Suzuki Roshi, the first Zen Master to establish residential and monastic practice for laypeople and monks in the West. From 1968 to 1971, he studied in Japan at Antaiji, Eiheiji, and Daitokuji Zen monasteries. He became Suzuki Roshi’s Dharma Heir in 1969 and was installed by Suzuki Roshi as the second Abbot of the San Francisco Zen Center in 1971.

Under Baker Roshi’s tenure as the Abbot of San Francisco Zen Center, it expanded quickly and had tremendous impact on the societal and cultural developments of the Bay Area. In 1984, Baker Roshi resigned as the Abbot of SFZC, and went on to found the Dharma Sangha Crestone Mountain Zen Center in 1986, and the Dharma Sangha Zen Buddhist Center Schwarzwald in Germany in 1996.

In his teaching, Baker Roshi emphasises Zen practice as a craft of cultivating attentionality.

San Luis Valley and the Sangre de Cristo Range

The San Luis Valley, a remote, sparsely populated high desert basin bounded by the rugged Sangre de Cristo mountain range on the east and the Continental Divide of the Rocky Mountains to the west, is a powerful landscape resistant to human settlement. Historically the valley was “neutral ground”, shared by Native Americans: Pueblo, Ute, andNavajo. The Pueblo tribes of northern New Mexico consider the San Luis Lakes their “place of emergence”. The Navajo claim Blanca Peak, the highest of the Sangre summits, one of the sacred mountains bounding their territory. The Utes hunted buffalo and other game, and shared the valley with the other tribes for ceremonial purposes. The Navajos called it the “Bloodless Valley”.

Get together and drinking tea of zen monastery practitioners

Where we are today

Buddhism is one of the treasures of humankind. The teaching of enlightenment, liberation and happiness for all beings, is always up to date, as vital now as 25 centuries ago. Through one’s own efforts it is possible to be free of greed, hate, and delusion, and to help others to do the same. To live in accordance with the truth of this existence is to discover the truth of the Buddha’s proclamation: “I, together with all beings everywhere, am awake.”

Getting to know us

In this short video, our residents will show you around Crestone Mountain Zen Center and we will give you a few impressions of the teaching in our lineage.
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