Zen Mountain Monastery (ZMM), the main house of the Mountains and Rivers Order (MRO), is one of the West’s most respected Zen Buddhist monasteries and training centers.
Nestled in New York’s beautiful Catskill Mountains, the Monastery draws its strength from the ancient tradition of Buddhist monasticism. Since 1980, ZMM has offered spiritual practitioners traditional and innovative ways to engage the dharma through a wide range of retreats and residential programs that unfold within the context of authentic, full-time Zen monastic training.
According to the ancient Chinese art of geomancy, the site of the Monastery—at the confluence of two rivers (the Beaverkill and Esopus), with a mountain to the north (Tremper Mountain)—is an auspicious place for religious practice. Designated by the Monastery’s first Board of Directors as a nature sanctuary, to remain “forever wild,” the property comprises woods and meadows, riverside marshes, cliffs, streams, and ponds–all home to an extraordinary variety of plant and animal life.
The Monastery’s Main House
Built from 1929 to 1936 by a Catholic priest and Norwegian craftspeople, the Monastery’s main house is crafted of bluestone quarried from nearby cliffs and pillars of white oak cut from the hillsides. It houses the Monastery’s meditation hall, dining hall, kitchen, lounge, private rooms for residents, and dormitories for visiting practitioners. In 1995, the building was named a national and state historic landmark.