Looking Back at Spring Ango 2024

· Articles & Essays, Zen Training

The end of May brought the conclusion of Spring Ango, the three-month span of intensified training and commitments to personal practice taken up by lay practitioners and residents—nearly 300 people practicing together—in the Mountains & Rivers Order sangha.

The three months seemed to speed by with a stream of reminders that impermanence and change is the way of all sentient life. Beloved monastic Yukon passed from this life just before ango started (see related story here), and his funeral became the occasion of over 250 gathering at the Monastery (and more online) to honor and celebrate his extraordinary life, full of love and dharma. And in May came the loss of two other long-term lay sangha members in May, Bob Seiryu Lanaghan and Joanne Jishin Dearcopp (see more below).

And along the way, a myriad sangha treasure activities, and and the energies of residents and retreat participants, adding their strength and joy to all the doings at the Monastery and the Temple. Notable events included a Jukai—Buddhist Precepts Ceremony, a taking of the bodhisattva vows by three MRO students, officiated by their teacher Hojin Sensei.

After fulfilling all the preliminary requirements, these three spent the week in teachings with Sensei and sewing their raksus at the Temple in preparation. Family and friends joined the wider sangha to participate in this entry of these three into the Bodhisattva Path as Buddhists, a day to celebrate! You can listen to the ceremony here.

From left to right, Lou Baisei (“Cultivating the Morning Star”) Procaccino, Hojin Sensei, Holly Bukei (“Dancing Lightly”) Mensching, and Ajay Shinyu (“Trusting the Mystical”) Chandra.

In May the sangha lost long-time practitioner Robert Seiyu Lanaghan (June 12, 1964—May 8. 2024). Seiyu is pictured here and at his wedding to his partner of over 35 years, artist Matt Yanchuk, at the Brooklyn Temple. There will be a funeral later at the Monastery and a celebration of his life at the Temple in June. You can read more about Seiyu’s generous life as a teacher, musician and artist here.

Matt Yanchuk and Bob Seiyu Lanaghan, 2014

In May the sangha also lost another long-term practitioner, Joanne Jishin Dearcopp (October 2, 1940—May 10, 2024). Jishin had been practicing at the Monastery since the 1980s first as a student of John Daido Loori, Roshi, and later of Shugen Roshi. She received Jukai from Shugen Roshi in 2021 and the dharma name Jishin, “compassionate faith.” She will also be buried at the Monastery in a ceremony for family and friends. You can read more about Jishin’s life in media and publishing here.

Shugen Roshi and Jishin, 2021
Joanne Jishin Dearcopp

With the ending of May sesshin at the Monastery, and the sangha group photo on the back steps, spring ango was completed! Some early summer images from the Monastery garden:

NextSenior Monastic Yukon Grody <> 5/15/49 - 2/28/24