Collaboration with Colorado College

Crestone Mountain Zen Center’s intention is to expand and develop the collaboration with Colorado College. The College is located in Colorado Springs but has a small campus with auditorium, classrooms, library, and dorms in Crestone. Classes come to the Crestone Campus regularly to take topics and inquiries into a different context.

Occasionally, students have helped with work on the CMZC grounds during their freshmen orientation trips. Now, our objective is to go beyond mere volunteer work and engage the students’ academic expertise for real-life projects. Recently, CMZC has submitted suggestions to the College’s Collaborative for Community Engagement for future projects.

Ideas include:

  • Forest mitigation and sustainable firewood production on CMZC’s land.
  • Design and construction of a climate battery greenhouse.
  • Calculation of indirect carbon emission footprint to prepare for carbon offset payments.

We will keep you posted what develops.

In the meantime, classes continue visiting to explore Buddhist perspectives on their academic topics and creative projects. And Colorado College students keep choosing to try out CMZC’s residential practice and work trade programs. For the duration of the Summer Group Guest Season, two CC graduates have joined our community.

On July 12, Crestone Mountain Zen Center welcomed visiting professor Asoka Bandarage and her Colorado College Class on “Buddhism, Society and Ecology.” Zenki Roshi met with the students who each brought their personal “alive” question at the intersection of their academic inquiry, their meditation practice, and their personal lives. (See photo above.)

In March, a “Music and Sound” class visited. Zenki Roshi discussed with the students Buddhist views on and practices with the senses.

Later this year, CMZC will work with two anthropology classes taught by Professor Sarah Hautzinger: “Religion and Ritual” (September) and “Sustainability in the Anthropocene” (October). One of the students in the first class will join the residential community and partner with CMZC resident and Colorado College alumna Deborah Detchon for one day to get a first-hand experience of our daily Zen practice. For the sustainability class, Zenki Roshi will spend one full day with the students and engage questions on “waste” from a Buddhist perspective. If permission is granted, we are considering a meditation practice at the Saguache County Landfill. CMZC has a long-term objective of working toward a Zero Waste Lifestyle.