Zen Mountain Monastery

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.

The Sangha House

Envisioned by Daido Roshi as early as 1985 and finally completed in 2012, the Sangha House comprises the Monastery’s administrative offices, a stately performance hall for events and retreats, a multipurpose room for programs, the Monastery Store, the library, an art studio, a body practice space, a reading room, and shower and laundry facilities for residents.

Sangha House


Tremper Mountain

Seen here overlooking the garden, meadow, and some of our solar panel arrays, Mt. Tremper is very much our inspiration and a fully participating (and productive) member of our community.

The Jizo House

In July 2021 we completed the construction of an additional guest house that replaces the white cottage across from the Monastery garden. The new facility comfortably accommodates more retreat participants, especially those with mobility issues. The Jizo House also features an infirmary and end-of-life quarters for our monastics and staff. You can find many more photos in a blog post tracking the building phase here on the Mountain record website. And you can also visit the Jizo Project webpage to learn more about how this ties in with other plans to make Zen Mountain Monastery more accommodating and welcoming for everyone. Special thanks to everyone who helped make this dream come true and to the wonderful contractor crew who worked steadily through the pandemic, maintaining safe precautions throughout the process.

Administrative Offices

Designed by architect and then resident Michelle Yoshin Lacaditto (1964 – 2020), our administrative offices were built in 2000 on the north side of the Monastery’s footprint. Essentially, anything we do with a phone and computer happens here: retreat planning, National Buddhist Prison Sangha, Monastery Store operations, graphic design and web implementation—we’re all under one roof.

Dharma Communications


Tea House

Near the North Gate is a traditional-style Japanese teahouse. Several monastics and long time students practice tea ceremony here and love sharing the experience in special workshops and, really, whenever the opportunity allows.



Located in a pine grove on a hillside above the main building, the cemetery houses the stupa of the first and second Abbots of the Monastery–Taizan Maezumi, Roshi, and John Daido Loori, Roshi, respectively. It is also the burial site for monastics and lay students who wish to have their ashes interred there. Memorial services and the annual Hungry Ghost ceremony are conducted in the cemetery.



At the Monastery, hermitages are available for residents and MRO students by permission of the abbot. The Mountain Hermitage is located a quarter mile uphill of the cabins. The Dogen Hermitage sits beyond Basho Pond. The Tea House Hermitage is near the Tea House, close to the Monastery driveway.

Dogen hermitage

Mountain Hermitage

Vegetable Garden

From spring through early winter, the garden provides a plethora of fresh greens, plus garlic, carrots, cherry tomatoes, summer and winter squash, flowers for the Monastery’s altars, and much more.
Vegetable Garden


 Zen Gardens

The Monastery’s Zen Gardens are inspired by the classical Japanese style and use large rocks, stones, moss, ferns and other elements to create spaces that harmonize with the natural landscape. There are small Zen gardens located in the cemetery, the tea house, the north and the south sides of the main building, and at each main entrance to the Monastery grounds.

Basho Pond

The perfect spot for reflection and contemplation.


A-Frames on Hanshan Meadow and Cabin Circle

Located in the hills above the main building, these residences are for long-term practitioners living at the Monastery.

A Frames

Zen Environmental Studies Institute – Catskills Site

The Catskill ZESI site provides the workshop for retreats in birding, wilderness skills, tracking, monitoring of water quality, and for arts such as photography, painting and writing.