The Shumei International Institute in Crestone Colorado
On a thirty-five acre site, high in the Sangre de Christo Mountains of the San Luis Valley in Colorado, Shinji Shumeikai has created a new spiritual center. Shumei was drawn to this location by its natural beauty and spiritual energy. Other spiritual and religious groups from throughout the world also have felt this special place’s allure and built ashrams, monasteries, and retreat centers in Crestone.
It is our desire to become an active participant in this vital community.
The Crestone Center
This center is the home of the Shumei International Institute (SII), a newly established non-profit corporation created to promote spiritual growth through interfaith activities, the practice of Natural Agriculture, and the sponsorship of cultural events.
Similar to Shumei’s Kishima Island in Japan, the Crestone Center will serve as a retreat for Shumei’s members. The site also will be an international venue for cultural, environmental, spiritual, and interfaith activities. In addition, symposia focusing on Shumei’s special concern with art, spirituality, and the environment will be hosted at this facility.
Mystic Crestone: 9 minutes
“Inspired by the philosophy of Mokichi Okada, Shumei Internatinal Institute help people of the world realize that they are world citizens able to act for the common good.” – Mission Statement
The Shumei International Institute
In keeping with Shinji Shumeikai’s* philosophy, the Shumei International Institute, Inc. is a non-profit organization, created to provide an environment for spiritual growth through interfaith activities, the practice of Natural Agriculture, and art and cultural events.
The Shumei Crestone Center, in Saguache County, Colorado is the Institute’s headquarters.
Crestone is located in the vast 5,000 square mile San Luis Valley of Colorado and sits on one of the largest freshwater aquifers on earth. At over 7,500 feet above sea level and ringed on three sides by snow-peaked mountains, some looming over 14,000 feet above, the Valley is the highest Alpine region in the world. The air is pure. The terrain is a fusion of Alpine and high desert, and the surrounding mountains insulate its unique climate. The soil is a mixture of sand, clay, cobble and rock. There are pristine streams, with greenbelts of aspen, cottonwoods, and ponderosas. Aspen is thick on the mountains, while pine and junipers sparsely stud the foothills and valley floor below.
At such a height above sea level, the weather can be harsh and dramatic, with extreme temperatures, intense sunlight, heavy snows, heavy wind, dust storms, hard rains, lightening strikes, and wildfires. Yet, the Valley averages about 330 days of sunshine a year. In much of the Crestone area, annual rainfall averages 7 inches. In the foothills, precipitation is nearly double that of the valleys and temperatures are warmer. Subzero Fahrenheit temperatures can occur at night during the winter months. The coldest month is January, averaging highs of 34.7 degrees Fahrenheit with lows of 8.2 degrees. The hottest month is July with average highs of 83 degrees and lows of 50.8.
Although many homes and building sites have been constructed in the Valley during the last few years, the area is still a wilderness, the breeding, birthing, and feeding grounds of elk, deer, mountain lion, bobcat, black bear, coyote, and a variety of smaller animals and fish. The Valley is a global flyway for waterfowl, songbirds, as well as eagles, hawks, and owls. Through spring and midsummer, biting insects are abundant. Because of the bear and mountain lions, which are no longer hunted, a certain standard of precaution is advised for those who live and visit the area. Feeding wildlife is prohibited. Conservation of the natural habitats of native species is very important, as some of the Valley’s wildlife is rare and endangered.
Throughout its history, people have been spellbound by the beauty of the San Luis Valley’s mountains and their high, wild places. Today, in the Crestone area, there are a number of ashrams and spiritual communities and the Valley is thought by many to be one of the most powerful centers of spiritual energy on earth. Yet, being in this environment presents those who settle here with the serious challenge of protecting wildlife and its home grounds from the harmful effects that we humans too often bring to wilderness areas. Generally, those who live in the Crestone area are keen to preserve the natural habitat that surrounds hem and actively promote the conservation of natural resources and the advancement of environmentally sound design. Conservation and reverence for nature being an integral part of Shumei’s philosophy, Shumei strongly desires to play an active part in the preservation of the area in which it is creating the Shumei Crestone Center.