"If you do not turn inward, you will never know reality."
- Ajahn Chah

Our New Community Meditation Center

rock upper retreat hall chair

We've Opened New Doors to the Dharma!

Read a Pacific Sun interview with Co-guiding Teacher, Sally Armstrong, about the evolution of Spirit Rock and the opening of the new Community Meditation Center in June 2016 >

Our new Community Meditation Center (CMC) is now open! We're experiencing anticipation and delight as we start experimenting together in these new spaces for practice. We are deeply grateful for the generosity that has made the creation of our new lower campus possible. Thousands of donors from all over the world have offered support to help make this a reality. We look forward to practicing with you and celebrating the opening of this beautiful new CMC that rests on your generosity and deep care.

The new CMC sits at the nexus between the upper and lower campuses on an open grassland hillside with spectacular views of the surrounding woodlands. The new 11,851 square foot building provides a spacious environment for meditation practice and community engagement. Designed by the San Francisco architectural firm of Hart Howerton, the CMC replaces the “temporary” Community Meditation Hall built 25 years ago out of seven trailers. 

The centerpiece of the new building is the Great Hall with a soaring 41-foot-high ceiling and seating for 400 people. This beautiful sanctuary will be the main meeting place for the community and will host our traditional daylong programs and popular Monday Night Meditation. Two additional classrooms for smaller group activities will open up new possibilities for advanced study, dedicated family programming, teacher training, introductory and specialized classes for new and experienced students, multi-day non-residential retreats, and intensive multi-year trainings. Other features of the new building include a communal gathering space with tea service, an outdoor terrace with bench seating for meal breaks, an expansive, light-filled bookstore, three private interview rooms, an elevator, and plenty of bathrooms! 

The architect gave special attention to locating the building on the site so that it would blend in with the natural terrain and have wonderful views from inside the building. The goal was to connect the indoors and outdoors by locating the main indoor spaces with a complementary outdoor space. Every space is designed to extend outward to meet the land. The building form, color and materials were chosen to complement the existing retreat facilities at Spirit Rock and to reinforce a single cohesive campus of buildings thoughtfully integrated into the landscape. All efforts were taken to create a distinct but humble architecture that is respectful and subordinate to the majestic natural setting.

The opening of the new CMC marks the realization of the founding teachers’ vision to create an enduring retreat, practice, study and community center that is accessible to all and that supports the community in developing skill in the art of practicing mindfulness in daily life. Founding teacher, Jack Kornfield, says, “The life-transforming Buddhist teachings of mindfulness and compassion that are spreading so widely in our culture now have a beautiful new home. It will be a center of understanding and care for many generations ahead.”

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