Who’s Your Mama

· Editorial, Essays · ,

by Suzanne Taikyo Gilman, Mountain Record Editor

I arrived at the monastery for the first time curious about Zen but prepared to stay on the sidelines. Organized religions of any kind were to me male-defined, patriarchal institutions I was better off avoiding, and yet here I was. When I turned toward the monastic in the zendo for beginning instruction there was a woman—in black robes and distinctive bald head—and she spoke with a clear, soaring enthusiasm for the dharma. A sudden recognition, and a new picture came into view—this is my seat.

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Photo by anandajoti

From Right View, Red Rust, White Bones

· Beyond Fear of Differences, Essays · ,

A Re-examination of Buddhist Teachings on Female Inferiority

by Allison Goodwin

In the Tripitaka and later sutras, the Buddha repeatedly establishes standards for evaluating spiritual teachings and practices—including his own—before one accepts them. He makes clear that his teachings are often misremembered, misrepresented, or misunderstood: This is one of his main reasons for outlining terms for investigating spiritual doctrine. He also warns that false and inaccurate teachings are among the conditions that will lead to the decline and disappearance of the Dharma.

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Photo by Daniel Mennerich

Facets of the Jewel

· Beyond Fear of Differences, Essays · ,

A Conversation with Women Teachers in the Mountains & Rivers Order

Jody Hojin Kimmel and Vanessa Zuisei Goddard, with Danica Shoan Ankele

Shoan: I wanted to speak to you as women teachers within what has historically been a very patriarchal tradition. As you know, some spiritual paths speak about spiritual development in terms of balancing “the masculine” and “the feminine” within us. I’d like to begin with a question I heard recently that has been nagging at me: “Where is the feminine in Zen?”

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Welcoming All of Our Ancestors

· Beyond Fear of Differences, Essays, Sangha News · ,

by Shannon Shinko Hayes, MRO

The Mountains and Rivers Order sangha has recently been formally introduced to our women ancestors. For several years our Sunday morning program has included a service at the Mahapajapati altar during which we chant a short list of names. We now begin a new tradition, chanting a long list of the names of women ancestors, at the Monastery and Temple every other Sunday, alternating with chanting the list of our lineage—all male ancestors—that has been part of the Sunday service for the past 35 years.

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Biographies of Zen Women

Brief Biographies of Women Zen Ancestors

· Essays · ,

Many of these short bios are drawn from the work of Sallie Jiko Tisdale and were included as a postscript in her essay “The Mothers: Discovering a Lineage of Women.”

Prajna Paramita

The Mother of the Buddhas; the Womb of the Buddhas. Wisdom is often presented as a female principle; this goddess represents both the great Wisdom Goddess as a deity and the Prajnaparamita Sutra itself.

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Photo by Shinji Hoffman

Orchard Revival

· Earth Initiative, Essays · ,

by Linda Shinji Hoffman

An apple tree was concerned
about a late frost and losing its gifts
that would help feed a poor family.

Can’t the clouds be generous with what falls from them?
Can’t the sun ration itself with precision?

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A Daring Compassion

· Earth Initiative, Editorial, Essays · ,

by Suzanne Taikyo Gilman, Mountain Record Editor

The news on environmental activism rarely makes headlines, despite some prominent demonstrations and the groundswell of change they can lead to. Occasionally there are clashes or even violence against those who continue working, courageously, to protect and defend. Communities are torn apart, resources are depleted, our human greed and destruction takes its toll. I feel anger, a familiar despair. When facing these feelings of discouragement, or simply not knowing what to do, how is it that being on the path and having a spiritual practice can sustain us?

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Photo by Wolfgang Wiggers

Udumbara Flower / Udonge

· Essays, Teachings · ,

by Jan Chozen Bays, Roshi

Why would Dogen Zenji devote an entire fascicle of the Shobogenzo to praising a flower, a flower that some people say is mythical and does not exist? Others say it does exist, but it only blooms every 3,000 years, to herald the arrival of another Buddha, an enlightened being.

In modern times there are stories and photographs from Asia, of thousands of tiny white blossoms called udumbara flowers, mysteriously appearing on bricks, on buildings, on monuments, on grasses, and under a nun’s laundry tub. Biologists say, no, these are not miraculous apparitions, they are simply the ordinary eggs of lacewing insects. Botanists counter that the udumbara is a ficus, a fig tree, different from ficus religiosa, the tree under which the Buddha was awakened.

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· Creative Expression, Essays · ,




WIN15_Poems cover page

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Buddha’s Birthday, a Poem

· Creative Expression, Essays · ,

WIN15_Buddha Birthday poem

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