Featured Stories

Covid-19 Enso Healing Altar

May 14, 2020
By Taikyo, Mariana and Laurel The Enso Healing Altar is like many home altars—symbolic and grounding—created as a personal space to share with others. It came into being early in the ZMM pandemic quarantine, first as a conversation between two nurses in residence about grief, gratitude, fears and hopes for a future that could transform suffering into healing. Talking with other residents, they began to gather items—a Medicine Buddha, an altar cloth from a blue hospital scrub, a hand-made bowl—sharing the urgent feelings of concern for those who were on the front lines. Continue reading “Covid-19 Enso Healing Altar” »
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Uppalavanna’s Courage

May 7, 2020
This dharma discourse by Geoffrey Shugen Arnold is excerpted from Mountains & Rivers: Zen Dharma and Practice, 2020 available here. The bhikkhuni Uppalavanna said to Mara the Evil One: Though a hundred thousand rogues just like you might come here, I stir not a hair, I feel no terror; Even alone, Mara, I don’t fear you. I can make myself disappear. Or I can enter inside your belly. I can stand between your eyebrows, yet you won’t catch a glimpse of me. I am the master of my own mind, the bases of power are well developed; I am freed...
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One Continuous Thread: Virtual Sesshin

May 4, 2020
By Taikyo Gilman The wake-up drum and bell sounding through the hallway, people moving quietly before dawn, three rings on the bansho bell beginning morning zazen. Sesshin has its soundscape, and with a little bit of added technology, an unprecedented 133 people shared the experience of the Apple Blossom sesshin sounds. Continue reading “One Continuous Thread: Virtual Sesshin” »
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New Bees In Town

April 15, 2020
By Joel Sansho Benton Last Saturday a group of new residents entered the monastery for the first time—about thirty thousand of them to be more precise. On Saturday I picked up three new packages of bees from Hudson Valley Bee Supply to replace the hives we lost over the winter. Each package holds approximately ten thousand bees, each with its own queen. Continue reading “New Bees In Town” »
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Conversation: A New Journal from the MRO

April 8, 2020
Print is in some ways an outmoded format, lacking the speed of digital or the ease of consuming audio/video content, so it was with some degree of soul-searching that the Monastery staff decided to collect a years' worth of teachings and practice in the new annual journal Mountains & Rivers: Zen Dharma and Practice. Continue reading “Conversation: A New Journal from the MRO” »
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Reflections on Temple Resident Life Under Quarantine

April 1, 2020
Residency at our Brooklyn Temple has always been an interweaving of NYC energy with the Zen Buddhism of a lay practice center. In these early weeks of the pandemic, our current residents Oliver, Jo and Brian, have shifted gears from their personal and Temple related routines. Here they offer an inside view of their lives and Zen training, greatly changed and yet in important ways still very much the same. — MR Continue reading “Reflections on Temple Resident Life Under Quarantine” »
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Digital Refuge in the MRO

March 27, 2020
By Eve Romm Until two weeks ago, joining the residents for zazen meant hurriedly finishing the dinner dishes, throwing on my coat and heading down the road to the Monastery. Opening the front door, I would be greeted by the smell of incense and the wooden dragon's arresting gaze before finding an empty seat in the zendo. These days, sitting with the sangha has a very different routine. As 7:30 pm approaches, I along with practitioners living down the road or as far away as New Zealand will make room on our altars for a laptop and open the Monastery...
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Cabin Quarantine Hermitage

March 25, 2020
By Taikyo Gilman I'm sitting outside the Sangha House on day nine of quarantine away from other residents and monastics (I get wifi here), and its a bright, drizzly spring day. A friend down with Covid-19 after we visited—maintaining appropriate distance—and so protecting the other 35 residential sangha members, including our monastic teachers, is a huge priority. So just in case (I feel fine, so far so good), I am practicing solo. The escalation of new cases in New York this week has us all on edge. Continue reading “Cabin Quarantine Hermitage” »
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Cloister Living in the ‘New Normal’ at ZMM

March 20, 2020
The garden is always a refuge but especially now—the delights of the greenhouse and the fresh earth outside are intoxicating—spring has truly come. In the "new normal" at the Monastery and the Temple, life continues with adjustments great and small. Here are some highlights from our new precautions and practices as the reality of social distancing in a communal monastic cloister comes home to us. Continue reading “Cloister Living in the ‘New Normal’ at ZMM” »
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Excerpt: Creative Process as Art Practice

March 18, 2020
This excerpt is from Mountains and Rivers, the annual book-length journal of the MRO which features original contributions from dharma teachers like Hojin Sensei, an artist, ceramicist and director of training at Zen Mountain Monastery. Learn more here about the journal and enjoy this teaching Hojin offered on creativity, connection and spiritual integrity. Hojin Sensei: You can do an entire art practice with your eyes closed, so it’s not about technique. It’s about connections, about staying connected, turning off those voices that judge. Or, let the judge do your work! What does ‘judging my work’ actually look like? What would...
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