Santa Fe County declares February 21 Serene Mountain Day at Upaya Zen Center

- through Henry Oudin

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Roshi Joan Halifax, center, with others from the Upaya Zen Center. From

The Santa Fe County Board of Commissioners in New Mexico voted unanimously to declare February 21, 2024, “Upaya Center Serene Mountain Day” in recognition of the Upaya Zen Center's contributions to racial, economic and environmental and compassionate care for vulnerable populations. and land preservation efforts on Cerro Gordo Mountain and the Santa Fe River wildlife corridor. The proclamation recognizes the center's accomplishments since its founding by renowned Zen Buddhist teacher, end-of-life care pioneer and social activist Roshi Joan Halifax.

Present at the county chambers for the Feb. 14 vote were Upaya Zen Center abbot Roshi Joan Halifax, director Sensei Noah Kodo Roen, priests Dr. Wendy Lau and attorney James Bristol, as well as members of the county council. administration Christopher Howson and David Cantor, among others.

The “Serene Mountain Day” celebration will take place Wednesday from 17 p.m. to 18:30 p.m. Mountain Standard Time. At that time, a ribbon-cutting ceremony for the new Upaya Zen Center building will feature Halifax and Roen, along with Upaya Zen Center President Sensei Matthew Kozan Palevsky, County Commissioner Anna Hansen, Mayor of Santa Fe Alan Webber, the Santa Clara artist and farmer Roxanne Swentzell, the writer. Natalie Goldberg, Canyon Neighborhood President Jim Gollin, renowned landscape designer Donna Bone, Upaya Zen Center board member Hoshi Troy Fernandez, and other local and national luminaries, including writer Terry Tempest Williams, Zenju Osho, Dharmacarya Valerie Brown, Dharmacarya Cynthia Jurs, Sensis Cynthia Kear of the San Francisco Zen Center, artist and activist Sensei Kazuaki Tanahashi, Sensei Ulricke Greenway, Sensei Monshin Overley, Sensei Seigan Overley.


During the event, there will be a special thank you to the late Nancy Driscoll, wife of Tom Driscoll of Driscoll Berries, whose care of the Upaya Zen Center moved the current construction project forward. The current building was designed by architect Mark Little, who has had a long and close relationship with the Upaya Zen Center. The center's beauty has been praised by many people who have visited and stayed there, and several of its buildings have won awards for their unique architecture, which combines the region's southwest style with Japanese aesthetics.


Also planned is the unveiling of a large painting for Serene Mountain Hall by renowned Japanese calligrapher and social activist Kazuaki Tanahashi Sensei, 90.

Halifax continues the lineage of Thich Nhat Hanh and Roshi Bernie Glassman. She founded the Upaya Zen Center and Monastery, creating a home for dedicated Zen practitioners to cultivate their abilities for social and ecological activism. According to the Upaya Zen Center website:

We are a global community for those working to create racial, economic and environmental justice, compassionate care for the most vulnerable, and a place for contemplative practice and engaged, daily learning through its retreats, trainings and programs, podcasts free on Dharma and community. services.

(Upaya Zen Center)

Roshi Joan Halifax. From

Since its inception, Upaya Zen Center has grown to cover a large area located at the base of Cerro Gordo Mountain, east of Santa Fe, New Mexico. It acquired much of the mountainside in an effort to preserve wildlife and prevent further development as the city expands into the area. Below the center, more land has been set aside to create a wildlife corridor along the Santa Fe River. Adjacent to the center's property is the 2,3-acre Adam Gabriel Armijo Park, formerly known as Park Cerro Gordo, providing additional protection from surrounding growth.

Several houses around the center's main buildings were renovated to serve as residences for practitioners and developed a zendo. Five years ago, the center began work on an ambitious construction project that included more residence halls, a Serene Mountain Hall, a library, a kitchen and more.

The ceremony will be broadcast live on the Upaya Zen Center YouTube channel.

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Henry Oudin

Henry Oudin is a Buddhist scholar, spiritual adventurer and journalist. He is a passionate seeker of the depths of Buddhist wisdom, and travels regularly to learn more about Buddhism and spiritual cultures. By sharing his knowledge and life experiences on Buddhist News, Henry hopes to inspire others to embrace more spiritual and mindful ways of living.

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