Preparing the Ground

From the four corners of the property echoed the sounds of the instruments – large densho, small densho, keisu, han – as the teachers processed to each location offering incense in our groundbreaking ceremony, held Sunday, July 29, at the site of our new temple, 1856 S. Columbine.

The sky was hazy at first, provided some much-appreciated shade for the fifty or so participants, which included long-time members, newer members, and many family, friends and curious neighbors. The occasion was marked by a quiet joy, from tasks coming to completion and the pleasure of envisioning the temple-to-be, its outline marked with chalk on the grass and bare earth.

On tables beneath a canopy we offered materials created for the event, including enlarged renderings of the building, an updated fundraising brochure, and new ZCD T-shirts with the message, “I’d rather be… here!”

Peggy Metta Sheehan led the ceremony, adapted from the groundbreaking ceremony for Dharma Rain Zen Center in Portland, Oregon:

Today we enter into this this piece of land both physically and spiritually. We declare our wish and intention to establish on this ground a temple: a seat for the Buddha, a treasury of Dharma, and a home for the Sangha. We ask that the spirits of the land and all the creatures that live here receive and welcome us, and we pledge to do our best to live in harmony with them.

We ask all the buddhas and ancestors to recognize and trust our true purpose and support this undertaking. May we be free from difficulties, keep our minds pure and our hearts aligned with our intentions. Please forgive us for disturbing this land as we begin construction and help us see the project through to a healthy and harmonious conclusion. May we be good neighbors and try to be of service to the people who live near us. May the practitioners who enter this land and this temple will be earnest in their pursuit of the truth, mindful in their work, and compassionate to all living beings.

Following the ceremony we enjoyed a potluck lunch and quiet conversation, making some new acquaintances and renewing many old ones, a continuation of the decades of community that have led us to this celebratory occasion.



Groundbreaking Ceremony July 29

The day has finally come: We’re building a temple!

After years of planning and activity, and with the very generous support of a large group of donors, we are now ready to begin construction on a new home for the Zen Center of Denver. As we start this new phase, we invite you to a groundbreaking ceremony at 1856 S. Columbine Street from 11:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m. on Sunday, July 29, by way of celebrating this important milestone for our community.

Great Progress in Temple Building Project

As we begin 2018, we are happy to say that we have made tremendous progress toward the construction of our new temple.

First, we want to express our deep gratitude to all of you who have contributed in funds, time, labor and ideas to maintain our practice together and work toward our new temple home. And in this regard we have wonderful news to share: We are very close to fully funding the largest phase of our project!

Here are some details: A total of 96 people have contributed, with 49 from the community and 46 from our sangha. All in all, in 2017 we raised $746,359, which includes $194,425 on Colorado Gives Day, an additional matching donation of $180,000, and our portion of the Colorado Gives incentive ($16,418!). We were in the top 30 organizations raising funds through Colorado Gives. This is absolutely amazing for a small independent religious organization. And it means that our temple dream will be a reality!

Of course, we still have some ways to go. Currently we are finalizing site plans and construction documents for submittal to the city, and when those plans are complete, we will also have a more concrete and detailed budget. However, as it stands, with a total estimated project cost of $2,137,000, we project a fundraising gap of $217,000. We will continue to seek ways to fill that gap, and of course if you or anyone you know are able to contribute, it will bring us that much closer to full funding, and allow more flexibility in terms of materials and finishes.

Meanwhile, we are folding in our initial landscaping plan for the site and will be submitting our plans to the city in the next few weeks; it may take up to three months to resolve permit issues, and we hope to break ground April 2018. Note that the initial landscaping does not include the contemplative garden in the zendo courtyard; for this we will likely be working with more specialized landscapers at a later time, with an additional round of fundraising required.


We also continue to refine our vision of the temple building, and are excited to share some new renderings of the building interior especially.

We have some new renderings of the building exterior as well, showing finishes made with Shou-sugi-ban, a kind of Japanese charred wood.

Lastly, we thank those sangha members who recently helped with removing two more trees on the property in preparation for the start of construction. Already we’ve come a long way from where we started; now we just need to keep moving forward. Gassho!

tree removal