The Hudson Valley, Now and Zen

Buddhist monk reading book in the ancient church

While the Hudson Valley culture is based on many Dutch historical roots, the Valley abounds in Tibetan and Himalayan retreats and cultural centers. According to Tsechen Kunchab Ling, one the regions cultural centers, there is a population of over 20,000 Tibetan and Himalayan people living in the New York and New Jersey area.

An article from Hudson Valley Magazine, “Dharma Valley: Buddhism As Popular As Ever in the Hudson Valley” mentions “There are so many Buddhist monasteries, retreats, and centers here that sometimes the Hudson Valley is nicknamed the Dharma Valley,” says Kristin Scheible, assistant professor of religion at Bard College.

While total immersion in a culture can be a therapeutic retreat for many, travelers and visitors to the valley commonly want to explore the diverse offerings the valley offers, take photos of all they are seeing to revisit the experience, and show friends and family afterwards, or simply go for a taste of the experience and to learn more about it, but not take a deep dive.

While many of the retreat centers and monasteries do offer lodging for workshops and full-length retreats, living as a monk may not appeal to everyone where the comfortable beds and full delicious breakfasts our member B&Bs offer are hard to pass up as an alternative while you vacation.

There are so many monasteries and retreats in the valley, we could go on for pages about each one, for more information about each check out their websites and social media channels, many list ongoing events they offer on their websites or on Facebook.

Tibetan Monks ChantingBlue Cliff Monastery, Pine Bush, NY
Blue Cliff Monastery is a practice center and monastic training center founded by Vietnamese Buddhist monk, author, and peace activist Thich Nhat Hanh in 2007. Located on 80 acres in the Catskills, it is an extension of a mediation center called Plum Village in France. Visiting the Monastery is free but they do encourage donations. For information on ongoing events, visit their calendar at

Chuang Yen Monastery, Carmel, NY
This monastery is owned by the Buddhist Association of the United States. You can find the largest indoor statue of Buddha in the Western Hemisphere here. Open to the public every day, they offer tours and classes from April to January. Chuang Yen also opens for specific days in February to honor the Chinese New Year. The monastery offers Buddhist teachings and practices in English as well as in Chinese. It also offers a Gift Shop near the back of the Great Buddha Hall with a variety of Buddhist souvenirs.

Dai Bosatsu Zendo, Kongo-ji, Livingston Manor, NY
Located on 1,400 acres in the Catskill Mountains Preserve right on the banks of one of the highest lakes in the Catskills. This Monastery is run by the Zen Studies Society which was established in 1956 and is one of the oldest Zen Buddhist organizations in the United States. Training and workshops include koan work, spiritual guidance and Dharma teaching and is centered around the discipline of structured daily zazen and work. Guests are welcome at their Introduction to Zen weekends, family weekends and work weekends.

Kagyu Thubten Choling Monastery, Wappingers Falls, New York
Kagyu Thubten Chöling Monastery and Retreat Center was founded in 1978 by Lama Norlha Rinpoche He is an internationally respected meditation master in the tradition of the Kagyu Lineage. The monastery offers weekend seminars taught by Lama Norlha Rinpoche and special courses led by visiting Lamas. Many of the traditional Tibetan Buddhist practices and customs have been preserved at the Monastery, the design of the main shrine room was painted by Tibetan artist Thinley Chöjor, with help from the members of the center. They have daily group practices that are chanted in Tibetan and accompanied by the customary rituals and music. For information on ongoing events, visit their calendar at

Karma Triyana Dharmachakra, Woodstock, NY
Located high on the mountain above Woodstock NY, the main building houses the Monastery’s meditation hall and dining halls and other areas for residents and visitors. The Monastery is located on 250 acres of protected forestlands and the main building is a national and state historic landmark. The center offers a Sunday program open to the public and offered every week of the year. It also offers a Wednesday evening meditation as well. Beginning instruction and zazen is offered weekly except during sesshin weeks. For more information about programs visit

Korean Buddhist Wonkaksa, Salisbury Mills, NY
This is the oldest Korean Buddhist temple in the Northeastern United States, founded in 1974. It offers programs every Sunday at 11:00 a.m., where there is a Dharma Meeting featuring traditional Korean chanting followed by lunch.

Kunzang Palchen Ling KPL, Red Hook, NY
Kunzang Palchen Ling was established in 2003, a Tibetan Buddhist center drawing from the tradition of the treasure lineage of Terchen Barway Dorje, the founder of Raktrul Monastery in eastern Tibet. The center offers teachings from all traditions of Tibetan Buddhism and serves as a venue for the preservation, practice, and study of the treasure lineage teachings of Terchen Barway Dorje. Their mission is to offer to Western students the teachings of the various traditions of Tibetan Buddhism.

Mahayana Temple, Leeds, NY
The temple is open 7 days a week, including holy days. Originally located on a 114 acres site in South Cairo/Leeds the property has now expanded to 166 acres with four halls and the Seven Storied Jade Pagoda for visitors to visit. There must be group of at least 5 people to reserve a temple tour. Reservation must be made 7 days before visiting.

Menla Center for Health and Happiness, Phoenicia, NY
The upstate retreat center of New York City’s Tibet House is overseen by Tibetan scholar Robert Thurman, the father of actress Uma Thurman. This center does not offer many beginner programs, but it does have an exclusive 4,000-square-foot spa and healing center for offerings. This center lies on 325 acres of a private nature reserve which offers guided hikes.

Tsechen Kunchab Ling – Temple of All-Encompassing Great Compassion, Walden, NY
The Tibetan and Himalayan Cultural Center at Tsechen Kunchab Ling is dedicated to the preservation of the special cultural and religious heritage of Tibet and neighboring Himalayan regions. The temple offers a range of classes in Buddhist philosophy and meditation, and is also active in Dharma translation and the religious arts. They offer Green Tara Prayers Daily. In Tibetan Buddhism, om tare tuttare ture soha is an ancient mantra that is related to Tara, the “Mother of all Buddhas,” and especially to her manifestation as Green Tara. Tara, who Tibetans also call Dolma, is commonly thought to be a Bodhisattva or Buddha of compassion and action, a protector who comes to our aid to relieve us of physical, emotional and spiritual suffering. Green Tara, is associated with enlightened activity and abundance. For upcoming events visit

Won Dharma Center, Claverack, NY
Located on 426 acres of rolling hills and fields offering views of the Catskill mountains. Offering daily meditation services, movement classes and special workshops like cooking Kimchi. Meals at Won Dharma focus on using local natural ingredients, many from their own organic gardens. Won Dharma Center offers mindfulness walking on trails on the center grounds. Walking trails are open to the public from April to November.

Zen Mountain Monastery, Mount Tremper, NY
Tours and visits are available by appointment. Please call to inquire about hours and schedule. Zen Mountain Monastery is a monastic training center offering traditional Zen Buddhist monastic training and special events. The community has female and male monks and lay trainees and offers programs for both beginning and advanced practitioners.

Besides the numerous retreat and cultural centers, the region also offers some unique stores and shops specializing in Tibetan Arts and Crafts, with some of the most beautiful crafts available; from jewelry, to clothes, to furnishings to exquisite handmade art.

Dharma Communications and The Monastery Store, Mt Tremper, NY

Himalayan Arts Gift Shop, New Paltz, NY

KTD Tibetan Buddhist Bookstore, Woodstock, NY

Tibetan Arts and Crafts, Woodstock, NY

Tibetan Center, Kingston, NY

Vision of Tibet, Rosendale, NY

Tibetan Art and Bowls

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