Treetop Zen Center

Information about this center is no longer updated. This data was last updated on 1 June 2010.

Phone: 207-465-7563


The Treetop Zen Center was established in 2003 in Holden, ME. Soto-Zen Buddhist Priest and Sensei Stefano Mui Barragato and Sensei Margaret Ne-Eka Reif Barragato moved to Maine from New York and set aside a room in their house for the zendo. To build a community, they advertised the zendo by posting flyers around town and placing an ad in the religious page of the Bangor Daily News. Slowly, a few students began to come and study at the Treetop Zen Center with the teachers. The community is currently made up of people with a wide variety of backgrounds: a professor of Mathematics, several psychotherapists, an engineer, a writer and poet, a Bangor Theological Seminary student, and an Orthodox Jew. With such a multitude of backgrounds, the community has learned to accommodate the varying wishes of members. One such instance is out of respect for the Orthodox Jew in their midst, the community has decided to have no Buddha image on the altar. The zendo in Holden can hold a maximum of 12 people. It is a simple room, with black mats and pillows on a carpeted floor, and an altar. In May 2004, Sensei Stefano and Sensei Margaret will be moving to Orono, ME where they will continue the zendo. Since Orono is home to the University of Maine, they will likely attract even more people to the community. At the new location, they we will be renovating their garage to serve as the zendo. The new zendo in Orono will hold approximately twenty people. While the new space has yet to be created, it will also take on an atmosphere of simplicity.

Activities and Schedule

The community sits on Wednesday evenings beginning at 7:00 p.m. and on Saturdays at 10:00 a.m. They begin with zazen, follow with daisan, and then they chant the Dammapada. The chanting is followed by a discussion or microdharmatalk. The community’s first all-day sit (from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.) took place on April 4, 2004. As they continue to develop as a community, they are looking to plan a special event each month, including all-day sits, half-day sits (6:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m.); week-end sits (Friday evening through Sunday at 4:00 p.m.); and a week-long sit during the week of Rohatsu (Buddha's enlightenment) December 5th through 12th. Next year they hope to have two week-long sits. Also, they will be offering a few workshops. Sensei Stefano will offer the first workshop over the course of a week-end sit, concentrating on the Paramitas. The second workshop he offers will be during an all-day sit and will focus on the early teachings of Shakyamuni. Sensei Margaret, who is a Catholic as well as a Zen-Budddhist teacher, will be developing seminars on the interface between Christianity and Buddhism.


Soto-Zen Buddhist Priest and Sensei Stefano received dharma transmission from Roshi Bernie Glassman seven years ago. Sensei Margaret Ne-Eka Barragato is a Lay-Buddhist Zen Teacher, and she received dharma transmission from Stefano two years ago. They both have completed koan study and offer koan study practice to students.