The purpose of the Zen Center of Denver is:
A. To foster the teachings of Zen Buddhism.
B. To train qualified people in its disciplines, practices and devotions.
C. To provide suitable surroundings, instruction, and support for men and women undergoing Zen Buddhist training as determined by the Spiritual Director(s).
D. To insure the continuing development of Zen Buddhism by the appointment of instructors and teachers as sanctioned by the Spiritual Director(s).
E. To facilitate the extension of the Buddhist practice and realization of kindness,
compassion, goodwill and equanimity into the larger community through engaged Buddhist practice and by bringing a spiritual and moral perspective to the heart of social, economic, political, and environmental debate.
The Zen Center of Denver is a lay Buddhist community offering Zen Buddhist practice and training in Denver since its founding in 1974. Its mission is to provide Zen practice and training to all those who wish to uncover their innate wisdom and compassion and live with greater awareness in everyday life. Of course, one need not be Buddhist to benefit from the stability and equanimity learned through meditation, so especially vital in these turbulent times.
Originally named the Denver Zen Center, the community first functioned as an affiliate of the Rochester Zen Center (of New York) in a small house in Congress Park. Amidst a tide of steadily growing membership and activities, the Denver Zen Center became the autonomous Zen Center of Denver in 1989, upon Danan Henry receiving Dharma transmission from Philip Kapleau Roshi and assignment as spiritual director.
In January 1998, the ZCD purchased the historic former Fourth Church of Christ Scientist at 3101 W. 31st Avenue in the Highlands neighborhood of Denver. For many years the building served us well, offering a great deal of a space in a prominent location. However, the enormous maintenance and renovation costs proved to be impractical over the long term, and in many other respects the building was less than ideal for Zen practice. After much deliberation, the decision was made to sell, and this was accomplished in summer 2015.
In the meantime, Danan Henry Roshi retired, and the ZCD came under its current leadership when Karin Ryuku Kempe, Ken Tetsuzan Morgareidge and Peggy Metta Sheehan - as the Dharma heirs of Danan Roshi - received full transmission and jointly assumed spiritual directorship in September 2010.
Since selling the 31st Avenue temple, we have been using rented spaces for our daily practice activities. In the fall of 2016, after a year of searching, the ZCD purchased a 12,000-square-foot property close to the University of Denver at 1856 S. Columbine Street, where we will build a new Zen temple, a place of beauty, peace and refuge. We are asking for your support for this exciting and important endeavor.
"How we use our minds, our awareness, through the day is one of the most fundamental decisions we have about how to live.... The willingness to let go of our deeply engrained habits of thought and come into the reality of this moment is what radically shifts how we see everything - our relationships, our work, our health, our ethical choices."
- Karin Ryuku Kempe
"Zen meditation affects not only those who practice it, but all with whom they come in contact. Like a stone dropped into still water, the peace and serenity that we cultivate spreads throughout society and ultimately the universe."
- Ken Tetsuzan Morgareidge
"After nine years on permanent disability ... I was able to return to full-time work in a new career where I could put my compassion and listening skills, learned through my Zen practice, into helping others with a psychiatric disability return to work."
- Melanie Ritter
"The support that comes from sitting with others is palpable. The air in the zendo has a feeling of determination and good will that brushes against me and sustains my practice.... To enter in is to enter a sacred space and safe place. Even more importantly, Zen has allowed me to find refuge outside, in this unpredictable world."
- Paige Noon
"In this space I've found teachers, and companions, and friendship, and camaraderie. In this space I have found purpose - a purpose much bigger than me. In this space, I have found my home."
- Judy Mazarin