by Sankai Lemmens, MRO
photo by Peter Cunningham courtesy of Stephanie Young Merzel
On Sunday, May 17th, Shugen Sensei officiated a memorial service during the Sunday Morning Program to mark the 20th year of the passing of Hakuyu Taizan Maezumi Roshi—Daido Roshi’s teacher and the first abbot of Zen Mountain Monastery—in May, the “Month of Azaleas.” The service began with a food offering, then Sensei offered a poem (below), and the sangha chanted the Emmei Jukku Kannon Gyo. There were azaleas on the altar. Read more
White Plum teacher Merle Kodo Boyd Sensei visited the Temple for a full day retreat that she described as a “collaboration” between her and the sangha. Kodo Sensei is a successor of Wendy Egyoku Nakao, the abbot of the Zen Center of Los Angeles and a successor of Maezumi Roshi. She is part of our White Plum family, a “dharma cousin” of Shugen Sensei, and the first African American woman to have received Dharma Transmission within any of the Zen lineages. She leads the Lincroft Zen Sangha in New Jersey, which she founded, and she is part of the Zen Peacemaker Circle. Read more
On Sunday, April 26th concluding the April Apple Blossom Sesshin, Shugen Sensei conferred the title of Dharma Holder to Zuisei Goddard. This indicates that she is nearing the completion of her formal training and has received the “Seal of Forbearance” from Sensei, expressing his intention to transmit the Dharma to her at the appropriate time.
The brief ceremony took place at the conclusion of morning service. Shugen Sensei offered a brief explanation of this transition and presented Zuisei with a dark blue rakusu. Zuisei then circumambulated the zendo in a walking bow to receive the sangha’s support. Read more
On Sunday, April 19th, Shugen Sensei officiated a Precepts Ceremony—Jukai—for five MRO students. The zendo was filled to capacity with Sangha, family, friends, plus a contingent from Mount Tremper.
From left to right, in the featured image: Carey Joyu (“peaceful courage”) DePalma, Clyde Fusei (“sacred wind”) Forth, Gwen Kimu (“awakening from the dream”) Coe, Sara Itoku (“sincere heart/mind”) Ahbel-Rappe, Shugen Sensei, and Vinny Unsan (“cloud mountain”) Bogan
Congratulations! Read more
Just after 1:00 PM on Sunday, April 12th, the Sangha participated in the traditional hike up Mt. Tremper. About thirty people took part in the event, which followed the Ango Intensive Retreat on “Taking Refuge in the Three Treasures,” led by Shugen Sensei. Read more
On the evening of Wednesday, April 8th, about 40 residents and local MRO students gathered in the performance hall for the first Sangha Treasure Meeting, a new forum for the sangha to reflect on and share their experience of practice and training within the MRO community. The idea for holding such a meeting arose in the aftermath of Ryushin Sensei’s departure; up until now, there really hasn’t been a place for sangha members to raise their concerns, particularly when those concerns have to do with a teacher. Although the idea for the meetings was born from a troubling situation, their purpose is not necessarily to explore problems but simply to give the sangha a chance to communicate with each other, providing a window onto how others are experiencing things. However, if problems arise that need to be addressed, then these meetings are also a space where people can give voice to them. Read more
post by Alison Mills
photographs by Nicholas Lue, MRO
On Sunday, March 29th, Shugen Sensei opened the first Dharma Encounter of the ango by asking the sangha, “What is Buddha?” and “What does it mean to take refuge in the Buddha?” Read more
On Sunday, March 8th, Shugen Sensei officially stepped into the role of Abbot of Zen Mountain Monastery in a brief but emotional ceremony as the sangha prepared to enter into the Spring Ango Intensive training period.
Coming on the heels of the weekend’s Ango Opening Sesshin, the Sunday morning program began as usual with a liturgy service, after which the timekeeper announced, “Prepare for Abbot’s Installation Ceremony.” Read more
From December 19th to December 21st, a number of ZMM residents had the rare opportunity to step off campus and attend a retreat offered by Jetsunma Tenzin Palmo at Karma Triyana Dharmachakra (KTD), the Tibetan Buddhist Monastery just down the road in Woodstock. Tenzin Palmo, reknowned for being one of the first Westerners ordained as a Tibetan Buddhist nun and for the twelve years she spent in solitary retreat in a Himalayan cave, offered teachings on the Six Realms of Existence, among other things. The retreat, entitled “Understanding Emptiness: The Twelve Links of Dependent Arising—Wheel of Life,” was an exploration of samsara and karma. Over the weekend, it was powerful to experience the liturgy, form, and aesthetics (Gold statues! Saffron robes! Intricate thangkas!) of another tradition. At the same time, Tenzin Palmo emphasized teachings which various schools of Buddhism share. Read more