Featured Stories

Being Held By Refuge

July 27, 2022
By Sandy Joshin Del Valle When the situation seems to be permanent, overwhelming, and full of suffering, you have to practice taking refuge in the Buddha—the Buddha in ourselves. —Thich Nhat Hanh To take refuge has a quality of despair to it. It feels like someone is pursuing me or there is a danger somewhere that is so large, I cannot handle it alone. I need a place of safety and security. A place where I am no longer pursued but can find succor and maybe even ease. Minimally, “refuge” implies a respite from danger, possibly from suffering. Continue reading...
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Solar Power in Han Shan Meadow

July 22, 2022
By Sandy Joshin Del Valle Solar energy isn't anything new anymore, yet the recent additions to the Monastery's solar array at the Han Shan meadow still bring a spark of excitement: we are doing it!  We are continuing to lessen our attachments to non renewable energy sources. This vow is renewed every day whether it be through extensive composting, recycling, repurposing and reusing of just about everything, or growing food and flowers. We also know that whatever we do ripples outward and can have beneficial effects on others. The newest solar array is part of this.  Continue reading “Solar Power...
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Spring Ango 2022

June 9, 2022
At the conclusion of Ango. traditionally the sangha members who are in attendance that day gather on the back stairs for a group photo. This one was no exception. And while there was no Chief Disciple chosen for this training period, Shugen Roshi invited each of the fully transmitted Dharma teachers to lead one of the three sesshins. Ron Hogen Green led us in March, Jody Hojin Kimmel led in April, and Shugen Roshi led the closing sesshin in May. Each week of practice had a unique resonance brought about by each of these teachers, while keeping with the rigorous...
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Book review > Butoh: Cradling Empty Space

May 19, 2022
Reviewed 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 ragged, stained garments. Have they been there the whole time, even when you entered the room? Or did they slip in while you and your friend sat down, checking your phones once more before turning off the alerts?...
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Trash is Only A Perspective

April 29, 2022
A Sangha-Wide Recycling Effort Updates from Jusan Chen: Just wanted to shine a light on our special recycling program at the Monastery through TerraCycle.  We collect used plastic toothbrushes, toothpaste tubes, razors, used pens... and their packaging... (see below). New research shows that in the U.S. recycles only 7% of its recyclable waste. Not to mention that these items, like toothbrushes, are consumed by the billions and many get dumped in the oceans, rivers and elsewhere. The recycling programs that we participating in now at the Monastery through TerraCycle are small but profound efforts we can make for change. I feel...
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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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accessibility Ancestors ango Ango practice art art practice Beginning Mind Beyond Fear of Differences BFoD bodhicitta Daido Roshi Discernment diversity Dogen Earth Body earth initiative Earth Medicine Earth Treasure emptiness enlightenment Facing Truth Geoffrey Shugen Arnold Gratitude Hojin Sensei Jizo monasticism Mother of All Buddhas Mountain Record oppression Patience poems poetry racism Rebirth relative and absolute Resilience sangha shuso Shuso Hossen social justice Stepping Forward View Wildness Words and Phrases Zen training