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.
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.
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.)
In telling the story of the celebration of the New Zealand Sangha’s 30th Anniversary, one place to start is with sesshin. Packed to the gunnels, fifty of us took part in this week-long silent retreat at Lake Rotoiti, the outdoor education centre which has been one of our South Island retreat homes since Daido Roshi’s early visits to New Zealand.
As Autumn is swiftly approaching and we experience the impermanence of those lovely summer days, we can be reminded of and reflect on the limited time we have in our own life to manifest what we came here to do.
The National Buddhist Prison Sangha (NBPS) was started over twenty-five years ago by John Daido Loori, Roshi after he received a letter from an inmate at Greenhaven Correctional Facility. The correspondence program developed by the Zen Mountain Monastery community now provides guidance in Zen Buddhist spiritual practice for people in prisons all over the country. This guidance is provided by Practice Advisors who are experienced students supported by the NBPS Directors.
This summer, July 5 – 8, some of the country’s most celebrated contemplative poetic voices will be headlining the first ever Buddhist Poetry Festival at Zen Mountain Monastery. The festival spans an overflowing weekend of workshops and readings, writing and reflection, designed for anyone who resonates with Dharma and poetry, regardless of their own previous level of engagement. In addition to featured events, participants will have opportunities to join monastics and residents in periods of meditation, as well as liturgy, and communal meals. Yet the festival will also open up the usual Monastery schedule to be more, well, festive. In short, there will be something for everyone.
Today, the Monastery Store takes a big step in increasing its offerings of sangha-made items. For several years we’ve featured bird house gourds, incense holders, beeswax candles and of course honey from our own hives. All of these products and more have celebrated age-old traditions of handcraft using resources cultivated and harvested from our own grounds. As you’ll see and read below, a number of these endeavors have been fermenting and evolving behind the scenes and we’re very excited to now share them with the wider world. (For now, most of these items will only be available at our in-person store, but we’ll expand to offering them online as quantities become available.)