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. As membership and activities increased, 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. When Danan Henry Roshi retired, the ZCD came under its current leadership when Karin Ryuku Kempe, Ken Tetsuzan Morgareidge and Peggy Metta Sheehan received full transmission and jointly assumed spiritual directorship in September 2010.
When the original Denver Zen Center building was sold over 20 years ago, the Zen Center has conducted training and practice moved to a former Christian Science church building; that building was sold in 2015. 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. This year, we anticipate the opening of the first Zen of Denver Temple built for purpose: a place of beauty, peace and refuge.
Traditionally, Zen gardens have been an integral element of a meditative practice space. For many of us, the natural world is a source of profound connection and inspiration. Outside, beneath the open sky or a canopy of green leaves, we feel likewise open and alive. With the Zen Center of Denver Zen garden, we can offer this sense of simultaneous ease and vitality to all who visit. As an essential complement to the building, we can also offer Denver something unique - a true Zen temple in the heart of the city, a uniquely beautiful landmark and lasting cultural institution devoted to the cultivation of peace and understanding in our daily lives. Zen Master Dogen said, "One should give even a single coin or a single blade of grass - it causes roots of goodness in this age and other ages to sprout."
"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
"Practicing at the Zen Center of Denver has created space in my heart for compassion, acceptance and peace. All are welcome at the Zen Center- a diverse, kind and welcoming community. My life is no longer about my small self but about opening to and offering kindness in the world."
"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