The Boulder Mountain Zendo
261 West Main Street
Torrey, UT 84775
Several years ago, we bought a small home in Torrey, Utah, close to Capitol Reef National Park, in the heart of Utah's red rock country. Behind the house, across a broad, cattail-lined irrigation ditch, are several acres of desert studded with sagebrush, Russian olives, and chimisa which look up to Boulder Mountain, a looming 11,000 foot wooded plateau. We thought this space a perfect place to hold desert retreats. In 2007, we started the Boulder Mountain Zen Center. Here we hold retreats in a simple setting. The zendo is a large enclosed tent, and meals are cooked outdoors in a camp kitchen. Many of our participants choose to stay in tents on the property, although there are several motels within easy walking distance in Torrey.
As we are lineage holders in the Soto Zen tradition of Maezumi Roshi and Genpo Roshi, our retreats follow a traditional Zen sesshin schedule. However, dress is informal, consistent with the setting. There is some variation in our programs. While all retreats involve zazen and interviews with the teachers, some are more traditional, with more sitting, silence, and koan study. Others may have periods in which the group participates in the Big Mind process, developed by our teacher, Genpo Roshi, or teachings drawing on Ken Wilber's Integral Theory. In addition, we often take participants into Capitol Reef National Park to hike and sit among the red rocks, or to hold group sessions in a grassy area next to the Fremont River.
Last winter, we began to hold a regular daily sitting schedule and Monday night dharma talks in a little house we rented to use as a Zendo during the inclement months. We also held small retreats over a long weekend at the end of each month. The local interest in Zen practice made this offering necessary and students came from all over this country and Canada for the retreats. We also began to offer koan study via Skype and to engage our international sangha in dharma study via eight-week telecourses.
In our teaching and practice, it is our intention to maintain the Zen container of serious meditation practice, while bringing into it diverse elements that we think may enhance the retreat experience and make it more alive for a Western audience. Like all teachers, we can only manifest the Dharma through our unique natures. One of us is more focused on traditional sitting and koan practice; the other on the dialogic Big Mind process and Integral Theory. The result is a set of offerings that will appeal to a broad audience of people seeking to follow Buddha's path in realizing their true natures.