Sangha News

Receiving That Which Can Not Be Given – Reflections on Zuisei Sensei’s Dharma Transmission

· Sangha News, Zen Training · , , , , , ,

By Robyn Ikyo Love

On April 8, 2018, Shugen Roshi completed the process of dharma transmission for Vanessa Zuisei Goddard. Zuisei first came into residency in 1995, fresh out of university. She spent 14 years as a monastic and returned to lay life in 2014, continuing to work full time for the Monastery in various capacities. She became a dharma holder in 2015, enabling her to begin leading retreats and training as a teacher both at the Monastery, at the Zen Center of NYC, and with our affiliate groups.

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Building Our Beloved Community

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

Posted by Danica Shoan Ankele

Among the present blessings of my monastic life, I count the chance to be part of a newly formed collaboration between members of the Temple’s People of Color Tea Group and the Monastery’s Beyond Fear of Differences Planning Group. Together, nineteen of us (about half of us identify as people of color and half as white) are working on creating a more inclusive and diverse community within the MRO. We’ve been referring to our joint group simply as POC/BFOD.

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Shuso’s Letter Spring Ango 2018

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Dear Sangha,

On Mt. Tremper we are alive in cold February. The wind stings, the ice cracks underfoot, and at night we are dazzled by bright, bright stars. What a privilege it is to live on this mountain and feel the earth turn from season to season and to share our practice with the sun and snow. Now the sun swings around and begins to consider Spring 2018, and we begin to consider Ango. Again, like softening earth, we’ll deepen our practice and find what grows within us.

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MRO Sangha Members join Buddhist Progressive Gathering in NYC

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MRO Sangha Members join Buddhist Progressive Gathering in NYC

How does a group from various Buddhist traditions respond to the pressing moral issues of our day? How do we bring Buddhism’s practices and teachings to the larger world without proselytizing, and without losing the unique perspective that Buddhism offers? And how can Buddhists, who traditionally eschew political involvement and partisanship, step forward for the good of all sentient beings, at what appears to be a pivotal moment in human history?

The organizers of Buddhist Action Day on February 3 tacitly acknowledged those dilemmas, while asserting that the overriding question facing Buddhism today is not whether to engage, but how.

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Dharma Action Day

· Beyond Fear of Differences, Earth Initiative, Sangha News · , , , , ,

On Sunday, January 28, 2018 over 75 sangha members gathered to share and investigate ways to actively and intentionally channel our collective concern for our world into beneficial action. 

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Monastic Ordination and Enlightenment Vigil

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On Sunday, December 10, Shugen Roshi officiated Tokudo, the full Monastic Ordination, for Shea Zuiko Ikusei Settimi. During the morning ceremony at the Monastery she received the kesa, zagu, monastic bowl and lineage chart as well as the monastic name Zuiko, which means “auspicious peace.”

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Fall Ango 2017 comes to a close

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On November 19, 2017, we ended the three-month ango training period with Shuso Hossen, where the Chief Disciple Patrick Yunen Kelly offered his first public talk and engaged the sangha in Dharma Encounter. Yunen, now a senior student in the MRO, will continue to help keep the dharma flame burning at Fire Lotus Temple near his home in Brooklyn, as well as at the Monastery. 

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Sharing space with the Buddha

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On September 3, in addition to opening the Fall 2017 Ango training period, the Monastery also held a different sort of opening ceremony. Shugen Sensei and Hojin Sensei performed an eye opening for two new images, created specifically for the the main altar in our zendo.

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Photo by Will Carpenter

Fall 2017 Ango

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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”), ninety-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 Fall 2017 Ango, the sangha will be taking on the teachings of Prajna Paramita, the Perfection of Wisdom, one of the foundational teachings of Mahayana Buddhism. We will engage this with selected texts together during the ango’s Buddhist study sessions, art practice and retreats.

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 Fall Ango and the various activities both at the Monastery and the Temple, please check out our website.


Shuso’s Letter

Photo by Constanza Ontaneda

Photo by Constanza Ontaneda

Dear Sangha,

As the year ripens and summer wanes, we come together once again for the fall training period. Shugen Sensei has asked me to be the chief disciple this ango. I’m delighted and deeply grateful for the chance to serve in this fashion. My aspiration for the next few months is to trust unreservedly in the love of the sangha, and not to withhold my love for this life, with its highs and lows, its thorns, its precipices, its peaks, and its abysses. Although I don’t always know how to do that, still, this is my vow. Please guide me in my practice.


Throughout the ango, we’ll be studying Prajna Paramita, the Perfection of Wisdom, traditionally personified as the Mother of All Buddhas. We’ll focus in particular on the Perfection of Wisdom in Eight Thousand Lines. As we take up this ancient teaching, let’s embody Prajna through the practices of generosity, discipline, patience, enthusiastic effort, and meditation. In this manner, together with all beings, we give birth to the wisdom that neither arises nor ceases.

When Daido Roshi used to visit Fire Lotus Temple, he would often say, It’s because the fire burns that the lotus can bloom. May the fire burn hot—and the lotus bloom—for each of us this fall.

Nine bows,
 


Patrick Yunen Kelly, MRO took up formal Zen training in 1994 and began practicing with the MRO in 2000, after moving to New York City from California. He became an MRO student in 2001 and received Jukai from Daido Roshi in 2004. He also completed several years of residential training at Zen Mountain Monastery as well as at the Zen Center of New York City. Yunen now lives in Brooklyn with his partner, Constanza Ontaneda, MRO and their two cats, Liza and Tropy. He is currently pursuing a Ph.D. in biochemistry and molecular biology and likes to spend his free time refining his art practice. You can see his work at paintingyunen.com.

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New Zealand Sesshin, July 2017

· Reflections, Retreats, Sangha News, Zen Training ·

NOTE: This July, Shugen Arnold Sensei made his annual trip to New Zealand to lead retreats and public programs with our substantial sangha there. He first visited NZ almost 30 years ago with Daido Loori Roshi and he and other teachers in the Order have been visiting ever since. In this blog post, sangha member Navina Clemerson shares her reflections on the sesshin that took place . To read an account of the public talk given by Shugen Sensei in Nelson, click here to read another post by Myokei Adams and Gensei Moore. 

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