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Zen Mountain Center


Located in the San Jacinto Mountains in Southern California, Zen Mountain Center sits at the head of Apple Canyon, on 160 acres of diverse and relatively wild land. Religious and ecological practice reinforce each other at Zen Mountain Center as the traditional Zen Buddhist emphasis on limiting harm fosters environmental land-use practices, and the relatively undisturbed natural setting of Apple Canyon is conducive to meditation practice. Reflecting a traditional Buddhist appreciation for both temple and mountain as sacred space, Zen Mountain Center generates a reverence for natural surroundings in its practitioners and this translates into concrete environmental practices. One of the main goals of the Center is to limit anthropogenic disturbances in the life-webs of its land base through environmental impact assessments, restricted development and fire prevention measures, and ecological land management practices. As part of its “greening” process, the Center has undertaken various environmental initiatives, including a revised mission statement, a six-year land stewardship plan, and an environmental education program. The Center’s newly devised educational program aims to bring together religion—particularly Buddhism—and ecology through retreats, workshops, special events, publications, and outreach.



Geographic Location

United States of America
(Southern California)
Duration of Project 1979–Present
History Land for Zen Mountain Center was purchased in 1979 and intensive practice began in 1982 with the Center’s first extended meditation retreat. Although development has been minimal (approximately ninety-eight percent of the Center’s property is undeveloped), a number of buildings have been constructed over the years, including a meditation hall, residence structures, a workshop area, and a bathhouse. In 1994, a biological impact report and species inventory was conducted and a corresponding six-year land stewardship plan was submitted the following year. In 1996, Zen Mountain Center’s mission statement was revised in order to reflect the Center’s commitment to ecological principles and environmental education.
Mission Statement None Listed
Partner Organizations None Listed
Long-Term Goals To integrate ecological principles into the mission, development, and practice at Zen Mountain Center through a variety of land stewardship and environmental education programs, wilderness retreats, environmental awareness workshops, and sustainability practices.
Bibliography Jeff Yamauchi, “The Greening of Zen Mountain Center: A Case Study” in Buddhism and Ecology: The Interconnection of Dharma and Deeds, ed. Mary Evelyn Tucker and Duncan Ryuken Williams (Cambridge, Mass.: Center for the Study of World Religions; Harvard University Press, 1997) 249–65.
Additional Research Resources Consult bibliography in "The Greening of Zen Mountain Center" article listed above.
Contact Information Zen Mountain Center
P.O. Box 43
Mountain Center, CA 92561
Ph:       909.659.5272
Fax:      909.659.3275