is a new concept that’s still being defined, according to Loy, who is the author of “A Buddhist Response to the Climate Emergency” and nine other books, many of which examine the relationship between Buddhism and modernity. Ecodharma involves three core elements: meditation in nature; reflection upon the ecological implications of traditional Buddhist teachings; and strategizing responses to the ecological crisis of climate change, he said.
Surrounded by public lands, the 180-acre center near Ward lends itself to hiking, backpacking and solo wilderness retreats. But backpacking isn’t for everyone, and the founders said they’ll open the doors to a wide range of people — and a range of beliefs and ideas. It’s available as a low-cost rental to any spiritual group that aligns with the center’s values.
“We don’t have any restrictions on the kind of spiritual practice a group can do up there,” Robbins said. The practices could be Christian or Sufi, kirtan or yoga, contemplative art, and so on — it’s up to the people who want to put on a program up there.
The historic property includes a lodge from the original Rangeview Ranch, built in 1938 by biologist, educator and lobbyist Hazel Schmoll, who died in 1990. She was the first woman to graduate with a doctorate in Rocky Mountain Ecodharma Retreat Center. 8941 Overland Road, Ward. rmerc.org or firstname.lastname@example.org. from the University of Chicago. Schmoll created a noted herbarium, conducted the first comprehensive botanical study of southwestern Colorado and led nature tours into Rocky Moun“Ecodharma” tain National Park, which borders the ranch.
The property was purchased by the ecodharma group on June 15 for $375,000 from the national Christian Science Church, which used it as a retreat center and guest house. Schmoll had stipulated in her will that the center could only be sold to a nonprofit, Robbins said. The purchase was funded by individual donations and a low-cost loan from a private dobotany nor.
“To me, these retreats where you get to be out in nature, it brings it home to your heart,” said Irene Shonle of Rollinsville. Shonle went on a multiday contemplative backpacking trip in the nearby Collegiate Peaks with Robbins a few years ago. “It brings it back to the roots of meditation, because most of the original meditation masters, including the Buddha himself, meditated outdoors.”