Open Access

Shuso’s Letter Spring Ango 2019

· Open Access, Sangha News ·

Dear Sangha,

Not being a native speaker of English, living my 75th year of life, hard of hearing—surely I was way back in the line of candidates for Chief Disciple. Thus, it was a big surprise when Shugen Roshi asked me to be Chief Disciple for Spring Ango. Immediately a line from the Shuso Hossen
Ceremony became real and very present for me: “I feel like a mosquito trying to bite an iron bull.” Fears of incompetence arose in my consciousness.

Roshi told me that it was a training position and that he was going to give me his support. And that really relaxed me and made me look forward for the challenge. Also, relying on my years of training, I saw the fear as not mine, not me, and let it go. Very soon I recognized this as an opportunity to move forward in my training to achieve peace, freedom and tranquility in my life. I have also been reflecting on my vows, my felt identity with the Three Treasures, and my conviction that the Sangha, as it has always done, will join me in my efforts and practice. I am very much aware that to fulfill this endeavor, I need and depend on the sangha’s ever-present support.

The theme for the coming Spring 2019 Ango is “Manifesting Buddha.” Ango starts and ends with the changing of the seasons, and each one is always manifesting buddha. Let all of us take advantage of this three months of practice to intensify our efforts and determination to embody the Buddha Way in our present life. It can’t be any better!




Ely Seiryu Rayek began practicing in 1986, in Mexico City. In 1989 he joined a sangha that Maezumi Roshi used to visit twice a year, once during the spring and once during the fall. After Maezumi Roshi’s passing, he studied under William Nyogen Yeo Sensei, training both in Mexico City and in Los Angeles. In 2007 he visited Zen Mountain Monastery for the first time. He became a student of Shugen Roshi’s in 2012 and took Jukai in 2017. Seiryu lives in Mexico City where he works as a psychologist.

Ango Practice

The Mountains and Rivers Order training schedule cycles through periods of intensification and relaxation, mirroring seasonal changes and giving us varied opportunities to study and practice. The spring and fall quarters are ango—“peaceful dwelling”—nintety-day intensives that continue an ancient tradition dating back to the time of the Buddha, when the sangha gathered in forest groves during monsoon season to support each other in their practice and receive teachings from the Buddha and his senior disciples.

Each ango has a theme drawn from the Buddhist teachings. This spring we’ll be taking up the theme “Manifesting Buddha” and Eihei Dogen’s fascicle Shoaku Makusa, or “Refrain from Unwholesome Action,” as a way to focus our training and challenge our study. Together, we’ll develop our appreciation of the theme and Dogen’s fascicle through an art practice assignment, teishos, dharma encounter, liturgy, and the Ango Intensive

The training and practice of the chief disciple is another important facet of ango training. When a junior student is ready to make the transition to being a senior student, the teacher will ask him or her to serve as chief disciple for the training period, leading the ango and offering their sincere and wholehearted practice as a model for the sangha. The ango culminates with a special right of passage for the whole community: Shuso Hossen.

For more information about this Spring Ango and the various activities both at the Monastery and the Temple, please check out our website at

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Art-Making Joy

· Open Access, Sangha News

Michelle Seigei Spark, senior lay student in the Mountains and Rivers Order, spoke recently with Mountain Record about creative process, resilience and joy.

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On Pilgrimage to India

· Open Access, Photos, Sangha News ·

October 23, 2018—As of this writing, Shugen Roshi and Hojin Sensei, along with 14 fellow sangha members, are nearing the end of their three week pilgrimage in the footsteps of the Buddha. They’re looking forward to sharing their photos and reflections with the rest of us when they return, but we’re getting a head start using some of the images and messages that have been sent back over the past dozen or so days.

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Photo by Blue Eyes 94

Practice and Resilience

· Dharma Discourses, Open Access · ,

by Geoffrey Shugen Arnold, Roshi



Ho-shang Mi of Ching-chao sent a monastic to ask Yangshan: “Right in this very moment are you dependent on enlightenment?”

Yangshan said “There is no absence of enlightenment. Why fall into the secondary?”

Ho-shang Mi was a peer of Master Yangshan, a very important Chinese master in our lineage. Here he asks, right in this moment are you dependent upon enlightenment?

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A New Incarnation

· Editorial, Open Access · ,

Editorial by Danica Shoan Ankele

Dear Reader,

Here at the Monastery, we’ve been having deep discussions about the Mountain Record over the past several years. After long conversations and careful reflection among the Mountain Record staff, the Monastery’s abbot, monastics and Board of Directors, we’ve decided it’s time to make a significant change. We’re excited about the vision we have in mind, but we also feel the poignancy of shifting the Mountain Record’s familiar and well-loved format.

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There’s No App For That

· Articles & Essays, Open Access · ,

Technology and Morality in the Age of Climate Change, Overpopulation, and Biodiversity Loss

by Richard Heinberg

Technology has grown with us, side by side, since the dawn of human society. Each time that we’ve turned to technology to solve a problem or make us more comfortable, we’ve been granted a solution. But it turns out that all of the gifts technology has bestowed on us have come with costs. And now we are facing some of our biggest challenges: climate change, overpopulation, and biodiversity loss. Naturally, we’ve turned to our longtime friend and ally—technology—to get us out of this mess. But are we asking too much this time?

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photo by Daniel Hoherd (Flickr)

Always an Immigrant

· Open Access, Poems · ,

by Margaret Gibson

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Sangha Reflections on Resilience

· Open Access, Sangha Reflections · ,

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The Soto Zen Buddhist Association at ZMM

· Open Access, Sangha News ·

Last month, Zen Mountain Monastery hosted the Soto Zen Buddhist Association’s biennial conference for three full days of practice, discussion and exploration. Over 70 ordained priests and transmitted teachers joined the conference, representing dozens of training centers and sitting groups throughout North America. The gathering was last held at ZMM in 2006.

(A ZMM Podcast interview with SZBA President Tenku Ruff, Osho, can be found HERE.)

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Reopening the Teahouse

· Open Access, Sangha News

On June 17, following extensive renovations, the Monastery’s traditional tea house, Wako-an, was reopened for the summer season.

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