The Jizo Project

Creating a More Accessible & Accommodating Refuge for Practice

Fulfilling Our Vows

From the beginning, the mission of Zen Mountain Monastery and the Mountains and Rivers Order (MRO) has been the transmission of Buddha Dharma from generation to generation. As our sangha ages, and to better serve our entire community, we want to ensure that we are able to support the needs of those who practice here or wish to practice here. The Jizo Project is an initiative to make the Monastery’s buildings and grounds more accessible and accommodating for everyone.  

The Jizo Project will provide funding for:

— Construction of a completely new Jizo House
— Creation of end-of-life quarters for monastics
— A lift in the main building
— Other accessibility improvements

What Your Gift Will Do

Help People Come and Practice

We plan to demolish and remove the existing Jizo House, a building that is at the end of its life, and build a larger, modern building in its place. The new Jizo House will expand significantly the accommodations that we can provide for residents and retreat participants whose accessibility and other needs can’t be fully met in the Monastery’s main house. It will also serve as an infirmary space for monastics and residents during times of illness. The new 4800 square foot building will include 8 bedrooms with sinks, three full bathrooms, a multipurpose room, and a finished basement which will house our dye studio and statuary. (View the building plans here.)

In concert with this, we will install a much-needed lift in the main Monastery building, from the ground floor to the second floor where our zendo is located. The lift will be wheelchair accessible and allow anyone visiting the Monastery to take part in all of our zendo and dining hall activities. In addition, the current guest room and guest bathroom on the second floor will be rebuilt to accommodate someone in a wheelchair as well as guest teachers. We are working with an ADA accessibility consultant on the lift project and see this as an excellent opportunity to make other accessibility improvements:  outfitting all stairs with handrails, adding grab bars to the bathrooms, and creating a paved path from the rear kitchen delivery entrance for wheelchair access.

Support the Monastic Tradition

The new Jizo House will include an end-of-life quarters designed to provide comfort and support to our monastics during this important period of their life and practice. In the MRO, monastics and lay practitioners train side-by-side. Our lay practitioners depend upon our monastics to keep our practice centers running smoothly, and monastics rely upon lay practitioners to make their life of monasticism possible. The monastics live in simple cabins on the hill that are not adequate when they reach the end of their life or during periods of serious illness. The end-of-life room at the new Jizo House is one small way that the sangha can express its gratitude for the lives our monastics have given.

Jizo Project - rendering

Care for Our Sacred Mountain

We trace our heritage back to the early days of Chan Buddhism in China, where work, dharma practice, and intimacy with nature intertwined to enliven the religious life. Continuing our legacy of environmental stewardship at the Monastery, the new Jizo House will be designed and constructed to maintain harmony with our precious surroundings and to minimize negative impacts on our environment. Plans include electricity supplied by the Monastery’s expanding array of solar panels and through the supplemental purchase of renewable energy, heating supplied free of fossil fuels, superior insulation, use of highly efficient air heat pumps where feasible, and separate heating zones.

Create a More Welcoming Environment for All

  • The new Jizo House and the accessibility improvements in the main Monastery building will create greater residency and practice opportunities for elder sangha members and people with disabilities.  
  • We will have more space to accommodate those who identify outside the gender binary.
  • The creation of more private and semi-private living spaces will mean fewer people in the dorm rooms, and fewer people having to sleep in upper bunks. The building of three more full bathrooms and bedrooms with sinks will make retreat attendance more convenient for all.

Help Create a More Accessible Refuge for Practice

Fundraising Goal

Thank you for helping us reach our fundraising goal!
Any additional donations would be greatly appreciated and would go toward important “Stage 2” accessibility initiatives.

We plan to begin construction in late 2019 and complete work on the Jizo Project in 2020, our 40th Anniversary.

All fundraising expenses are covered by the regular operating budget of the Mountains and Rivers Order.

All contributions are tax deductible.

Other Methods of Donation

Please make checks payable to Zen Mountain Monastery. Be sure to state that your donation is in support of the Jizo Project. We also take credit card information over the phone and are able to receive donations in the form of equity shares. Our contact information is:
Zen Mountain Monastery
871 Plank Rd, PO Box 197
Mount Tremper, NY 12457
Telephone: 845.688.2228

You may email us at:

Latest News

full Jizo Haus 0819

Update: Building a New Jizo House  6/3/20
Read more >

Update: Fundraising Goal Achieved!  10/29/19
Read more >

Diamond Net and the Jizo Project  8/24/19
Learn how these two sangha initiatives inspire one another.  Read more >

Sangha Reflections on the Jizo Project  11/5/19
Read more >

Jizo Bodhisattva

Present with suffering and vulnerable beings