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The Mountains and Rivers Order (MRO) is a Western Zen Buddhist lineage established by the late John Daido Loori Roshi and dedicated to sharing the dharma as it has been passed down, generation to generation, since the time of Shakyamuni Buddha. Zen Mountain Monastery, the main house of the Mountains and Rivers Order, is one of the West’s most respected Zen Buddhist monasteries and training centers. Nestled in New York’s beautiful Catskill Mountains, the Monastery draws its strength from the ...
 
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Geoffrey Shugen Arnold, Roshi Zen Mountain Monastery, 4/11/2021 The Blue Cliff Record, Case 95 – Ch’ang Ch’ing’s “Three Poisons” Picking up where he left off from a previous Fusatsu talk on Right Speech (“Learning How to Speak” – 4/8/21), Shugen Roshi investigates storied examples of practitioners using language to express the ordinary and the extr…
 
Jody Hojin Kimmel, Sensei Zen Mountain Monastery, 4/4/2021 As we celebrate the Buddha’s Birthday today, Hojin Sensei offers a teaching from Zen Master Bankei: “What I teach everyone, in these talks of mine, is the unborn buddha mind of unlimited wisdom. Nothing else. Everyone is endowed with this buddha mind, only they don’t know it.” Sensei looks …
 
Ann Gleig and Joy Brennan 3/19/21 The strands of thought linking Buddhist liberation from suffering and the aims of social justice are aligned with the Buddha’s realization that “I and all beings at once enter enlightenment,” affirming the interdependent nature of reality. Yet despite our best intentions, why do deeply embedded habit formations—and…
 
Geoffrey Shugen Arnold, Roshi Zen Mountain Monastery, 3/28/2021 Dharma Encounter Master Dogen, in his fascicle “The Ten Directions,” comments on the Buddha’s words on form and emptiness: “In the ten directions means I just know the essence. So does Shakyamuni Buddha. It is I form, know form, this form, all form, ten directions form, Saha Land form,…
 
Geoffrey Shugen Arnold, Roshi Zen Mountain Monastery, 3/27/2021 The True Dharma Eye, Case 11 – Zhaozhou’s “Losing the Mind in Confusion” In the same way that we use physical maps, mental maps help us to navigate our everyday experiences. Risking being stuck and bonded to cherished opinions, trying to force reality to fit the maps, we can remember t…
 
Danica Shoan Ankele, Senior Monastic Zen Mountain Monastery, 3/26/2021 Through the teachings of Buddhist ancestors from different schools of Buddhism, monastic Shoan invokes Bodhidharma, Prajnatara and Dogen Zenji, and explores how we understand that realization is an experience—a direct pointing to the human mind—aligned with the sutras and teachi…
 
Ron Hogen Green, Sensei Broadcasted via zoom, 3/25/2021 The Blue Cliff Record, case 59: Zhaozhou’s “Why not Quote it Fully?” Hogen Sensei takes up this koan from the Blue Cliff Record along with related lines from the Faith Mind Poem, and offers another version: “The real way is not difficult, it only abhors choice and attachment”, and asks: Where …
 
Geoffrey Shugen Arnold, Roshi Zen Mountain Monastery, 3/24/2021 From Master Dogen’s Shobogenzo Fascicle 60 – Ten Directions. “Shakyamuni Buddha said to the assembly, ‘In the Buddha Land of the ten directions, there is only the dharma of the One Vehicle.’ The ten directions spoken of here have taken up the Buddha Land and made it what it is. Thus, w…
 
Geoffrey Shugen Arnold, Roshi Zen Mountain Monastery, 3/21/2021 Shugen Roshi begins by leading us through a Loving Kindness Metta invocation for the victims of last week’s tragedy in Atlanta and those affected beyond. He asks, how can we hold the suffering of the world, acknowledging that it is integral to life? Even in our heartbreak, we are not i…
 
Geoffrey Shugen Arnold, Roshi Zen Mountain Monastery, 3/11/2021 For this first Ango Fusatsu, this special invocation was included during the service which preceded this talk, drawn from Dogen’s writings about the Ango Practice Period: As we reflect quietly, fragrant winds drift across the fields, and the Spring deity opens her arms in all direction…
 
Geoffrey Shugen Arnold, Roshi Zen Mountain Monastery, 2/28/2021 Transmission of the Light, Case 35: Quingyuan (Note: due to technical problems this audio lost 18 seconds of Roshi’s talk and has about eight minutes of lower quality audio)โดย Audio
 
Geoffrey Shugen Arnold, Roshi Zen Mountain Monastery, 01/30/2021 Master Hongzhi Zhengjue said, “Study the Buddha and research his lineage’s subtlety. You must clarify your heart, dive into the spirit, and silently wander in contemplation, apprehending the dharma’s source.” With this teisho, Shugen Roshi begins a series of talks on the concept and a…
 
Katie Yosha Scott-Childress, Senior Lay Student Zen Mountain Monastery, 1/29/2021 Senior lay student Yosha explores the depth of body practice, one of the Eight Gates of Zen, during our New Year’s Sesshin. Yosha shows that body practice doesn’t have to just be a checkmark on our “to-do” list, nor is it limited to 60 minutes of mindful exercise a da…
 
Patrick Yunen Kelly, Senior Lay Student Zen Mountain Monastery (Via Zoom), 01/27/2021 Senior lay student Yunen brings forth the beloved Lotus Sutra and the Precepts to dive into the powerful practice of non-disparaging. Pointing to his own direct experience, Yunen highlights how talking poorly of others will often be turnaround on ourselves, by our…
 
The following dharma talk was given by guest teacher Pema Khandro, following a retreat presented over Zoom in January 2021. Pema Khandro is a scholar and teacher of Tibetan Buddhism. She is the founder of the non-profit organization Ngakpa International and oversees its projects, the Dakini Mountain Retreat Center, the Buddhist Studies Institute an…
 
Zen Mountain Monastery, 1/17/2021 This week, the Monastery and MRO sangha honored the life and legacy of Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. with a special Sunday service including generous offerings from teachers and students. The service concludes with a powerful reading and remembering of African-Americans killed in 2020. Shugen Roshi’s pre-recorded tal…
 
Geoffrey Shugen Arnold, Roshi Zen Mountain Monastery, 1/17/2021 This week, the Monastery and MRO sangha honored the life and legacy of Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. with a special Sunday service. We’ll be making Sunday’s Awakening Justice program available online next week. For now, you can view Shugen Roshi’s pre-recorded address for the occasion, o…
 
On Thursday evening, we tuned in to Brave Together. This conversation panel was moderated by MRO sangha member Tanya Bonner and featured author Pamela Ayo Yetunde, co-editor of Black and Buddhist, and MRO sangha members Degna Chikei Levister and Yama Faye. The four panelists took up questions related to how they encountered Buddhism and connected w…
 
Patrick Yunen Kelly, Senior Lay Student Zen Center of New York City, 01/14/2021 The Noble Path series offers personal accounts of MRO sangha members coming to practice and dives into their experiences walking the spiritual path. A diverse set of students and circumstances shows us the many unique ways we encounter and resonate with the Dharma. Yet,…
 
Geoffrey Shugen Arnold, Roshi Zen Mountain Monastery, 01/03/2021 Mumonkan (Gateless Gate) – Case 31: Joshu Saw Through the Old Woman In this first teisho of the new year, Shugen Roshi reflects on his own path to the Dharma and some of the hidden teachings along the way.โดย Audio
 
Geoffrey Shugen Arnold, Roshi Zen Mountain Monastery, 12/31/2020 Zen Mountain Monastery guides us into the New Year 2021 with a Fusatsu, or renewal of vows ceremony, on New Year’s Eve. During which Shugen Roshi offers an empowering talk on the virtues of intention and vows. Pointing to the reality of intention: “the Buddha was enlightened to the pr…
 
Geoffrey Shugen Arnold, Roshi Zen Mountain Monastery, 12/30/2020 Book of Serenity, Case 3: “The Invitation of the Ancestor to Eastern India” “A raja invited the twenty-seventh Buddhist ancestor Prajnatara to a feast. The raja asked Prajnatara, “Why don’t you read scriptures?” The ancestor said, “This poor wayfarer doesn’t dwell in the realms of the…
 
Danica Shoan Ankele, Senior Monastic Zen Mountain Monastery, 12/29/2020 What is the method that allows us to be “brutally” honest with ourselves in zazen practice? How honest are we willing to be? Are we willing to encounter the confusion of not getting what we seek on our own terms? Asking the question: What is it that separates our deluded life f…
 
Ron Hogen Green, Sensei Broadcasted from Hogen Sensei’s home in Pennsylvania, 12/28/2020 Invoking the beloved Mountains and River Sutra Hogen Sensei quotes “These mountains and rivers of the present are the actualization of the word of the ancient Buddhas. Each, abiding in its own dharma state, completely fulfills its virtues. Because they are the …
 
Prabu Gikon Vasan, Senior Lay Practitioner Zen Mountain Monastery, 12/27/2020 Perhaps all of us can relate to the experience of being alone, when we hear a branch snapping, or leaves rustling, and we find ourselves full of fear and dread. Although sometimes it is appropriate to be alert and ready, how often are we just building up nightmares in our…
 
Geoffrey Shugen Arnold, Roshi Zen Mountain Monastery, 11/22/2020 A question and answer session with Shugen Roshi, the residents of Zen Mountain Monastery, and the larger sangha, who participated via zoom. Shugen Roshi concludes his teachings from The Thirty Seven Verses on the Practice of a Bodhisattva, with verse 37: “To clear away the suffering o…
 
Geoffrey Shugen Arnold, Roshi Zen Mountain Monastery, 11/21/2020 Shugen Roshi continues his teachings from The Thirty Seven Verses on the Practice of a Bodhisattva, with verse 36: “In brief, wherever you are and whatever you do, Always examine the state of your mind. Cultivating mindfulness and awareness continuously, To benefit others is the pract…
 
Danica Shoan Ankele, Senior Monastic Zen Mountain Monastery, 11/20/2020 Senior monastic Shoan delivers an impassioned and intimately relatable teaching on our Ango theme of the Bodhisattva path. Speaking from a place of inspiring humility she dives into the predictable stumbling blocks on our path to liberation. At the core, we are often tripped up…
 
Geoffrey Shugen Arnold, Roshi Zen Mountain Monastery, 11/19/2020 Shugen Roshi continues his teachings from The Thirty Seven Verses on the Practice of a Bodhisattva, with verse 35: “When emotions become habitual, they are hard to get rid of with antidotes. Therefore, with mindfulness and vigilance, to seize the weapon of the antidote And crush attac…
 
Ron Hogen Green, Sensei Broadcasted from Hogen Sensei’s home in Pennsylvania, 11/18/2020 Case 47 from Dogen’s 300 koan Shobogenzo, Guishan’s “Do Not Betray Others”: One day after sitting Guishan pointed at the straw sandals and said to Yangshan, “All hours of the day, we receive people’s support. Don’t betray them.” Yangshan said, “Long ago in Suda…
 
Geoffrey Shugen Arnold, Roshi Zen Mountain Monastery, 11/15/2020 Shugen Roshi continues his teachings from The Thirty Seven Verses on the Practice of a Bodhisattva, with verse 33 and 34: “Offerings and respect may bring discord And cause listening, reflection, and meditation to decline. Therefore, to avoid attachment To the homes of friends and ben…
 
Geoffrey Shugen Arnold, Roshi Zen Mountain Monastery, 11/8/2020 Shugen Roshi continues his teachings from The Thirty Seven Verses on the Practice of a Bodhisattva, with verse 31 and 32: “If I do not examine my own defects, Though outwardly a Dharma practitioner, I may act contrary to the Dharma. Therefore, continuously to examine my own faults And …
 
Geoffrey Shugen Arnold, Roshi Zen Mountain Monastery, 11/1/2020 Shugen Roshi continues his teachings from The Thirty Seven Verses on the Practice of a Bodhisattva, with verse 14: “Even if someone says all sorts of derogatory things about me And proclaims them throughout the universe, In return, out of loving-kindness, To extol that person’s qualiti…
 
Tommy Smoot Zen Center of New York City, 10/29/2020 The Noble Path series offers personal accounts of MRO sangha members coming to practice and dives into their experiences walking the spiritual path. A diverse set of students and circumstances shows us the many unique ways we encounter and resonate with the Dharma. Yet, despite these differences, …
 
Geoffrey Shugen Arnold, Roshi Zen Mountain Monastery, 10/25/2020 Shugen Roshi begins this Mondo by offering listeners an overview of Metta loving-kindness practice. By highlight fundamental teachings on the practice, Shugen Roshi illuminates a path that students can take to nurture wisdom and compassion in their lives. This is followed by a rich qu…
 
Geoffrey Shugen Arnold, Roshi Zen Mountain Monastery, 10/24/2020 Shugen Roshi continues his teachings from The Thirty Seven Verses on the Practice of a Bodhisattva, with verse 13: “If, in return for not the slightest wrong of mine, Someone were to cut off even my very head, Through the power of compassion to take all their negative actions Upon mys…
 
Ron Hogen Green, Sensei Broadcasted from Hogen Sensei’s home in Pennsylvania, 10/23/2020 Rarely do we, as a society, intimately contemplate death. Even the minority of those seeking to uncover the nature of death may be doing so superficially. Hogen speaks of a renowned philosopher, who wrote many prized works on death. Yet in his final days, sensi…
 
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