The Albuquerque Zen Center offers daily practice and study opportunities to anyone interested in exploring Rinzai Zen Buddhism. It is an urban practice center, with a diverse lay sangha (community) drawn from many walks of life.
AZC was founded as a not-for-profit 501 (c)(3) corporation in 1989, when Kogan Seiju Bob Mammoser, Osho, was invited to move to Albuquerque by a group of people who had been sitting together informally for a number of years. The Zen center originally occupied a small rental building on Madeira Street in southeast Albuquerque, where Kyozan Joshu Sasaki, Roshi, officially christened it Kozen-ji (Raising Up Zen Temple) on Nov. 11, 1989.
As the sangha grew, the need for new, permanent quarters became apparent. A major fundraising effort allowed for building on an donated empty lot on Garfield Street a few blocks south of the University of New Mexico campus. Meanwhile, local architects Claude and Donna Armstrong donated their time to design the new center and contractor Juan Levy made its construction a true labor of love.
AZC opened in its new quarters in May 1997 with a four-day sesshin (retreat) led by Joshu Roshi. Gracefully combining Southwestern architectural elements with Japanese aesthetics, the complex includes an adobe zendo (meditation hall) with translucent walls meant to evoke shoji screens, a main building with monk’s quarters, meeting room and library and a building housing bathrooms and the shoji room.
The grounds have been carefully landscaped through the years with a combination of drought-tolerant Southwestern plants and a dry, boulder-strewn Zen garden, creating quiet spaces for students to take a break from the busyness of their daily lives.
AZC offers a rounded program of daily zazen, samu (work practice) and study, with a schedule tailored to the rhythms of lay life. Students are encouraged to deepen their practice by participating whenever possible. The Zen center also brings members together informally in social settings, like potluck dinners, picnics and camping trips.