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Martin J. Mosko

Died: February 13, 2023

Martin J. Mosko was born in Denver, Colorado in 1944, beloved son of Aaron and Jean Mosko. Aaron was a native of Denver, and Jean (nee Siegel) was from New Mexico. Martin was raised in Denver and lived there until his matriculation at Yale in 1962 after graduating from East High School.

Martin moved in many directions as he ventured into a life of spirituality and creative design. His steps through his rewarding and exemplary life influenced family, friends, students, employees, to live more fully and joyfully, as he did.

During his time at Yale he took time off to understand a broader view of life while serving in the Peace Corps living and working in India. There he met learned Hindu teachers who introduced him to meditation. Though the Peace Corps trained his class in animal husbandry, they encouraged members to find projects that their host communities wanted done. In the village where Martin served, that project turned out to be creating a public park. The idea that creating common ground in the garden could bring people together was formative for Martin. Upon completion of his undergraduate degree in 1968, he began a Master’s Degree in the study of languages allowing him to read poetry in Sanskrit. After marrying his first wife, Sabine, he began serious study of both Zen and Tibetan Buddhism. He also founded Marpa Landscaping and embarked on a life of garden creation.

He and Sabine had three children: Sophie Joy, Raymond Basho, and Daphne Jean. They have all thrived and after many years living in various places internationally, they have re-settled in the Denver area, with children of their own.

Martin’s spirituality was the source of inspiration for much of his later work and artistic creations. He was an ordained Zen priest and one of only 40 in North America to hold the title of “International Teacher” as recognized by the Soto Zen school. He and his second wife Alxe have co-written several books on creating sacred and contemplative spaces. His many gardens can be found throughout Colorado and other parts of the United States and the world. Many of these beautiful gardens are featured in newspapers, magazines, and in books written by others.

To quote the obituary written by his wife Alxe, “He was without pretense but loved the rituals and beauty of the Zen tradition. Like a wildfire, he could scorch, and it was generally better to stay out of his way when he was determined to do something. But he also created great warmth and vivid illumination. He lived fully and intentionally. His life was a torch held up in the darkness, and that light lives on in  those who knew and loved him.” There is no question that the world we live in is more beautiful because of what Martin Mosko gave us all. One can find out more about his work and life at his website, www.martinmosko.com.

— Benjamin Liptzin