Featured Stories

Book review > Butoh: Cradling Empty Space

May 19, 2022
Click here to learn more about Butoh: The Crucible of Body and Mind,taking place July 7 - 10, 2022 at Zen Mountain Monastery.The weekend will also include a live performance by Vangeline in a new solo work. Book review by Hokyu JL Aronson The lights dim in a black box theater while the stage remains illuminated at opposing angles. Right away nothing happens. You become aware of your own expectations, the state of your digestion, the other audience members. Perhaps they know something you don't. And then, slowly, a powdery white figure begins to move. Crouched low, barely covered in...
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Trash is Only A Perspective

April 29, 2022
A Sangha-Wide Recycling Effort By Paul Sacca If you have ever visited the Monastery, you have likely encountered one of the several waste stations throughout the buildings and grounds. Bins nestled together in the bathrooms and dorms, tucked along the north wall of the dining hall, snuggly aside the sinks in the kitchen. You may have witnessed the number of receptacles increase over the years as well. First came green containers for garbage. Next appeared blue bins with the iconic Mobius loop recycling symbol. And for the Monastery garden and orchard, compost buckets for all food and paper waste. Most...
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Jizo in the Monastery Garden

January 25, 2022
by Linda Shinji Hoffman Orchardist and Sculptor, Shinji shared on her blog, Apples, Art, and Spirit, about creating a Jizo Bodhisattva for the Monastery garden. Ancient people made stone piles to mark a site as sacred, while today we use stone cairns to indicate the direction on a wilderness trail. For over a year I had a small pile of stones on one of my work tables. It just sat there and didn’t draw attention from visitors to the studio. It didn’t point me in any direction. Continue reading “Jizo in the Monastery Garden” »
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Taking the Bodhisattva Vows

December 1, 2021
As vaccinations for Covid-19 became more readily available last spring, the Monastery was able to resume offering on-site Jukai, the moral and ethical teachings represented in the Sixteen Precepts of the Buddha Way, welcoming six new Jukai students, six new MRO students, one new postulant monastic, and two fully ordained monastics. Just before Covid hit in 2020, Jukai was also given to three students at the Brooklyn Temple by Hojin Sensei. Continue reading “Taking the Bodhisattva Vows” »
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Shuso Hossen Fall 2021

November 30, 2021
On 11/21/21, the Monastery held a Shuso Hossen ceremony that capped our fall ango training period. During the ango, Degna Chikei Levister held the position of chief disciple acting as a model of practice for the sangha. What does ‘a model of practice’ look like? It looks like a true person bringing their whole self and dedicated commitment to every task set before them. The ceremony and Chikei’s exchanges with the sangha are a testament to that.  Click here to watch the proceedings unfold all over again or here for an audio-only version.
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Zen Tweens In-person Programs

September 15, 2021
The Zen Tweens program has been offering in-person programs monthly on the 2nd Sunday of the month since restarting in June, and will continue with outdoor programs October 10 and November 14, 9am-noon.  We focus on Zazen, concentration practices, and exploring perception through caretaking activities and creative games. We maintain Covid precautions, and hold space for the tweens to share their feelings and opinions on what we study and how it relates to what is going on in their lives. In September we made autumnal offerings to the chipmunks, birds, and other woodland creatures by creating cornmeal suet feeders and hanging them...
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Orchard Grasses

July 18, 2021
by Linda Shinji Hoffman Orchardist and Sculptor, Linda Shinji Hoffman shared on her blog, Apples, Art, and Spirit, about her experience being Shuso during the Spring 2021 Ango. The following is a slightly edited version. As spring slides into summer, I wanted to share about the last three months. I’ve been on an intense retreat—some of it quarantined in my studio, some of it at Zen Mountain Monastery, and some of it following our spring schedule at Old Frog Pond Farm & Studio in Harvard, Massachusetts. Last winter I was asked by my teacher, Shugen Roshi, to serve as Shuso,...
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Zen Kids: Grateful for Grapes and Taking Care of Dragon’s Eggs

April 30, 2021
By Simon Sekku Harrison The Zen youth programs, (Kids, Tweens and Teens) have been online for well over a year. We’ve welcomed new sangha members from all over the country and even as far afield as Colombia, SA. The Zen Kids program (4-10 years) joins together once a week to sit zazen, create art, share gratitude, use our imaginations and read inspiring stories together.  Zazen with the young kids is the same as with us grown-ups, but different. We encourage the kids to sit in the same posture, but to find our mudra we might imagine we are taking care...
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New Vows, New Aspirations

April 19, 2021
For those of us who live at the Monastery, it's been moving to watch remotely as home dwellers have taken refuge in their practice during the pandemic and continued to further explore commitment and self-study. As our lives are streamed every day (at least in the zendo), we residents also benefit from watching lay practitioners further explore their commitment to this path. Continue reading “New Vows, New Aspirations” »
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Memorializing a Year

February 25, 2021
March 11 marks a year since the World Health Organization declared Covid-19 a pandemic. It is with heavy hearts that we acknowledge this milestone, the loss of life and the many challenges that accompany this situation. We acknowledge the uneven and tragic toll the pandemic is having on the Black community as well as Latinx, Asian, Indigenous and refugee communities. To honor the victims of this global tragedy, and to give voice to our sangha's personal losses and challenges, Zen Mountain Monastery held a memorial event on March 14th as part of our Sunday morning program. Continue reading “Memorializing a Year”...
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